Starting a small business in 2020 offers current students, and recent graduates from the class of 2020, a bit of relief from traditional job and internship hunting. It gives students the chance to focus on a hobby or hustle they are passionate about, bring that idea to life to benefit consumers, and become your own boss.
Before you launch your startup and officially open for business, make sure you take the following steps to prepare the company for success.
Get into a Startup Mindset
As an entrepreneur, you have the unique opportunity to become the master of your destiny. However, much of your early days in business will be a grind. Starting a small business requires plenty of energy, effort, and enthusiasm. Having the right mindset will ultimately pave the way for startup success.
While there are certainly risks to being an entrepreneur, focusing on the rewards will help you weather the storm. A startup mindset reminds you of your ‘why’ for being in business. Is it to make a difference in your community? Pursue a dream you’ve had since childhood? Once you understand your ‘why,’ you’ll better position your mindset to focus on starting a business you believe in and conquer any obstacles that come your way.
Determine If You Have a Viable Idea
This is often a tricky question to answer. You may think your business idea is incredible, but what about your target audience and market? It’s critical that you are able to determine the viability of your business idea early on. This means asking, and answering, the following questions.
- What makes your business idea unique?
- How can your offerings and services help make life easier for consumers?
- Is there a demand for your offerings and services in your target audience?
- What makes you qualified to turn these ideas into a successful business?
Establish a Unique Selling Proposition
What is your startup’s differentiator? What can your business offer customers that nobody else is able to do?
This is your unique selling proposition (USP). You may be able to identify a USP by thinking like your customer base, identifying the strengths of your startup, and further determining how your business is able to solve problems and meet consumer needs.
Pick a Business Model
It’s critical that you have an understanding of how your startup is able to make money. The method in which your business makes money is its business model.
Business models may vary depending on the startup and its industry. Four specific factors can help you define your business model. These include pricing, marketing and sales, production and delivery methods, and customer experience and satisfaction. These factors help you to define your startup’s business model and differentiate yourself from the competition.
Writing a Business Plan
In one of my previous Graziadio Business Review articles, I was able to share advice on how to draft a business plan for a startup.
A business plan is still a critical component when starting a small business. It’s up to the entrepreneur to decide if they will draft a business plan in its traditional format or opt for a shorter, lean startup plan. Having a business plan will act as the blueprint for your startup’s success. You may use it to set goals that you hope to achieve and strategize on the steps and timeline necessary to reach each milestone.
Incorporate or Form an LLC
Before launching your startup, it’s key that you are able to get your legal ducks in a row. Incorporating as a business structure, like a corporation or limited liability company (LLC) provides your new business with liability protection. This creates a separation between personal and professional assets. In the event of an unforeseen circumstance that negatively impacts the company, for example, your personal belongings like houses and cars would not be impacted by the incident. Liability protection would ensure they remain untouched and protected.
After incorporating, remember to assign priority to other remaining items on your agenda. File for trademark registration for unique trademarks associated with your startup. Obtain a tax ID, or employer identification number (EIN), to open a business bank account. Assign a registered agent as the state’s point of contact with the business, file for any business licenses you may need to operate the company, and work alongside an experienced mentor for assistance and support. 2020 can still be your year, especially if you decide to explore entrepreneurship.
Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com. MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark & copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best. Deborah received her Juris Doctor and Masters in Business Administration degrees from Pepperdine University in 1999. Follow her on Google+ and on Twitter @deborahsweeney and @mycorporation.