Starting a small business involves many challenges and risks. It entails careful planning, research and commitment to sustain the business for years. Currently, small businesses contribute significantly to a country’s economy. In the U.S., for example, they have a huge employment share (56.8 million people or 48 percent of the private workforce in various industries based on the 2013 data of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Companies with fewer than 100 employees have the largest share of small business employment while employment in the private sector went up in 2015.
Launching a business in the U.S. should not be too difficult as there are lots of resources are available free of charge. The United States Small Business Administration offers assistance and trainings to prepare business owners and eventually help them succeed with their small business.
The primary consideration entrepreneurs should always keep in mind is to create a business plan. This needs to be detailed outlining the objectives, vision, products or services to offer, budget consideration, marketing strategies and forecast of the enterprise. While this may not guarantee success in the initial year, it will serve as a guide on how to proceed with your business moving onward. A Forbes study has noted that an estimated 80 percent of small businesses fail in their first year due to various factors such as not engaging with potential customers or lack of organization.
Financing the business is the next important step to take. You may have prepared a certain amount from your own personal funds but it would also be a good to find other financial resources. Fortunately, there are a number of options available to entrepreneurs these days. These include government-backed loans, venture capital and research grants. You may also consider utilizing the crowdfunding platform to get the word out about your ideas to prospective investors.
The legal aspect of the business also needs to be fully considered. Make sure that you decide which type of business you want to open whether it’s a sole proprietorship, partnership, non-profit and cooperative. The other types but usually meant for large companies are the Limited Liability Company (LLC), corporation and S corporation.
Keep in mind that the type of structure you choose will determine your taxes. The sole proprietorship type is the most common as it allows only one person to start a business. It also allows the owner to use his personal taxes to report his business income or losses. After deciding on the business structure, it is a must to register your business with the United States government. This should enable you to secure a legal business name and license for you to operate your business. If you’re hiring one or more staff, educate yourself about the responsibilities to them such as paying them the right wages and social security contribution as well as obtaining their work permits and other requirements.
Planning your marketing strategies must also be prioritized. This will help raise awareness on the existence of your business and what you’re offering to your target market. Utilize both the traditional and digital media if possible and ensure that you are consistent in this aspect. Online, you can promote your products or services through a website or blog and social media. If you need writing help such as for your website or blog’s content, you can always outsource it to freelancers to ensure that your site gets more traffic. Do keep in mind that your marketing efforts also need to be consistent. Social media updates and blog posts should be posted regularly to attract more followers looking for fresh and valuable content.
Being well-researched and prepared for your business and the many requirements involved are sure ways to success. By starting on the right foot, you can rest assured that your business is operating in accordance with the law.