Starting a new business can be very exciting. But once the initial excitement is over, you’ll begin to realize that starting and running a business can also be tricky and at times, overwhelming. So I’ve created a checklist that can serve as your guide when deciding which tasks you need to do.
But before that, let me ask you, is your startup viable? Is it something that you can really profit from? If you were the customer, would you buy your own products or use your services? If you answered YES to all these questions, then we can proceed with the checklist.
1. Create a business plan.
Some entrepreneurs think that a business plan is not really necessary but having one that features financial projections will force you to consider every detail involved in your startup. Besides, a business plan will come in handy if you seek a business loan from a bank or apply for merchant cash advances from alternative lenders…which brings us to the second point in our list.
2. Determine where you’ll get your capital from.
Any business, no matter how small, needs money to start and operate. Some require very little capital while others will need millions to get up and running. Seek out banks, alternative lenders or angel investors who are willing to grant you a loan. One of the most basic requirements is a business plan.
3. Pick a business name.
You can do a simple Google search to get some ideas for your business name. But make sure that the name you like is not already taken by another company. It should also be easy to remember so that it will stick to the minds of your target audience.
4. Register a domain name and sign up for website hosting.
As much as possible, your business name should be the same as your domain name. But you’ll have to do a search to find out if your chosen domain is still available. Signing up for website hosting will make your website look professional. Many hosting companies offer low cost plans that can be as cheap as $3 per month.
5. Get a business license.
You may be required to get one or more business licenses depending on your niche and location.
6. Build your website.
A professional website is necessary if you want to build credibility and gain the trust of your target customers. You can choose to build your own website, but it may be better to pay for web design services, especially if you don’t have the time or patience to learn how to set up a website.
7. Establish a social media presence.
These days, social media has become as powerful as search engines when it comes to reaching out to your target audience. So don’t take it for granted. Create social media profiles in Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and other reputable social networks so you can register and reserve your brand, and then slowly build your followers.
Obviously, this is not a very comprehensive checklist. But the points I’ve mentioned here should be a good enough starting point for anyone thinking of starting their own business online.