So far, you have played the name game and thought about the big idea. You should have also done a little research to create a mission statement for your business and made some decisions about its legal structure. This week we are going to continue working on taking your business idea from paper to reality.
5. What do you have? What is the product or service that you plan to offer to the world? What is this great thing that will help you to become successful? Not only must you consider what is but also why would people want to get it from you rather than someone who already offers the same product/service? How much will you charge? On what terms will you provide it and who will be in charge of satisfying your customers? These are serious questions to consider because often small businesses start out by thinking about what they have and what they want to give to their customer but they sometimes leave the customer’s feelings out of the equation. A good product/service may get you one customer but great customer service will keep them coming back. Take a hard look at your business idea and start to consider how it will translate in reality for your customers. Every decision that you make about your business should have “how will this effect my customers” at the forefront of your thought process, not just how much money can I make.
6. Don’t forget about Uncle Sam! When you start to prepare for the reality of business ownership, you have to prepare to pay business taxes. It is imperative that you seek professional guidance to make sure you are fulfilling your financial obligations to the government. Contact your State Department of Revenue for guidance on calculating, collecting and paying sales tax as well as the Internal Revenue Service about payroll taxes and other business taxes.
One very serious tip: Don’t try to make it look like your business is not making money to avoid paying taxes. This will come back and bite you in the rear if you ever decide to apply for any time of financing for your business. If it looks like your business is consistently losing money or not making a profit, why would someone want to invest in your sinking ship. It is best to do the right thing, report your revenues honestly and pay the taxes. You will reap the rewards in the long run.
These are two very important steps toward becoming a successful business owner. You have to understand your product/service and what your customers expect from you and you MUST have a good system in place to manage your business taxes.
As always, feel free to share your experiences with making your business idea a reality and come back next week to keep the process going. You will be an established business before you know it.
You have a great business idea but how do you make it a reality? Follow these ten steps to get started.
- Play the name game. What is it that you plan to do? Who are you going to be doing it for? What are some names that your competitors are using? Is there a web domain version that name available? These are some questions that you should ask as your begin to brainstorm about your business idea. It is important that the name of your business offer some insight into what your business is about. You also want to be careful not to “steal” a name that is currently trademarked or copyrighted by a competitor. Performing a simple Google search should be good research tool. Enter different keywords in your search and see what happens. Once you narrow it down to a couple of options, go to a domain-hosting site like GoDaddy to see if a version of that name is available. In today’s business environment, it is necessary for your business to have some online presences whether it is a blog, informative website or sales site.
- Let’s think about the big idea! I hope that by this point you have an idea of what you want to do and how you want to do it. But, what is interesting about this idea to you? What resources will you need to get this business up and running? How much is it going to cost you? How long will it take to become operational? Who will you need to help you get started and to keep it running? From the outside looking in, it seems like you have come up with a great idea but now you have to start thinking about how that idea is going to translate into the real world. Don’t be afraid to bounce your idea off a few people. Some of my clients have confessed that they were afraid to share their business idea with others before they were afraid that someone would steal it. That is always a possibility whether it is merely a figment of your imagination or if you have invested millions of dollars into it. However, no one will ever be able to do it (your business) the way you will. In order to make a profit, your business cannot operate in a bubble. There will always be competition.
Take the next few days to work on these two steps and come back next Tuesday for more information. Building a successful business doesn’t happen overnight. Thinking through these steps, one at a time, will help you to be more focused and hopefully more successful.
Are you a business owner? Give yourself a shout out by leaving a comment below. Give us your business name and the idea behind it…