Now open—starting a business successfully
Starting a business is an exciting milestone. As the owner, every decision you make will ultimately determine how your vision is realized.
Where do you start when starting a business?
Your expertise may not entirely overlap with the intricacies of bringing your business to market. Here are some things to consider as you're starting a company:
- Types of corporations. There are four main types of corporations: C Corp., S Corp., LLC, and Nonprofit. It's important to understand the difference between them, as each has its own corporate structure, tax obligations, etc.
- Partnerships. Think about whether this venture would benefit from partnering with other individuals who might be able to lighten the workload and/or provide valuable experience.
- Personal commitments. Starting a business takes a lot of time and energy. Set realistic expectations regarding how this might affect the personal relationships for you and your staff.
- Financing options. Determine how much money you'll need to borrow (if any) and the best option for your business.
- Trusted professionals. Will you need attorneys, CPAs, insurance agents, etc.? Consider engaging a mentor and/or professional associations (e.g., Chamber of Commerce or SCORE) as well.
Insights into starting a business
Put your company on the right path
If you're feeling a little lost in terms of first steps, consider the following to-do list:
- Get a reality check. Take the time to understand your strengths and weaknesses, the marketplace, your customers and—all things considered—the likelihood of success.
- Gather financial statements. Assemble the past three years of your finances, including bank statements and tax returns.
- Estimate revenue. Analyze similar businesses to gain a sense of approximate future revenue. This will help inform your business plan, priorities, etc.
- Create a business plan. This should include clearly defined goals, markets, missions, and financial forecasts. Summarize this information in an elevator pitch.
- Prepare for loan applications. If you're applying for an SBA loan2, gather your cash flow projections, profit-and-loss statements and balance sheets.
Insights into running a business
Funding and growth
Properly utilized, capital is the fuel that can propel your company. Learn how to turn your vision into growth with strategic financing.
Efficiency and best practices
Improve your business growth and profit margins by increasing efficiency and protecting against fraud.
Managing cash flow
Learn how to balance incoming and outgoing payments with the demands of your business needs by using smart tactics to improve cash flow.