Starting a Small Business

Written by Lara Millican

June 16, 2020

Wanting to start a business but don’t know where to start? Once you have your idea in place, the next steps are to come up with a name, a business plan, and a brand/marketing plan. Your name is where you can be creative, but you don’t want it to be complicated. People need to be able to easily remember (and spell!) your name. You also want to make sure the name is available, so check for trademarks and availability within your state and for a domain. Forbes has a great list of tips for naming your business here

Branding is what people say about you when you are not in the room.

Jeff Bezos, Founder, and CEO of Amazon.

Now the business plan can be the tricky part, especially if you have never done one before. Don’t worry, there are plenty of resources out there to help you with this part! Start with the Small Business Association, they have a lot of available resources for anything from taxes to business consulting. There is even a section specifically for writing a business plan. For other information about running a small business, USA.gov has all the basics covering programs for military/minority-owned businesses, licenses/permits needed for a home-based business, and financial tips for small businesses. You also want to know your numbers, so make sure you research startup costs and any ongoing costs your business might have. Do you have the financial ability to do it yourself, or will you need a loan or business partner to help you get started?

Branding and marketing, it’s more than a name and a logo. It’s the persona of your business. When it comes to branding your business, you have a couple of options. Either you hire someone to help you, or you can do it yourself with the help of online resources. Websites like Hubspot.com, Entrepreneur.com, Thebrandingjournal.com, etc all have great articles and blog posts about how to successfully brand your business and what the steps are to create the brand. 

Other than these necessities, it’s also important to get yourself a mentor (or a few)! You can reach out to local business owners, or get one from SCORE. Having a mentor will really help you when you have questions or aren’t sure what your next steps are. They are a person to lean on when you’re struggling, and someone that will celebrate your victories with you! You want to surround yourself with positive people who will encourage and push you to be your best self.

Once you have your idea, name, business plan, brand, marketing plan, and mentor in place, you are ready to go! So take a deep breath and take the leap! Surround yourself with people who will encourage you and support your new business. And always remember, if you get stuck, or you’re not sure what to do, lean on your mentor(s) and refer back to the resources listed above. Believe in yourself and believe in your value, you can rock your startup! 

You become like the five people you spend the most time with. Choose carefully.

Jeff Bezos, Founder, and CEO of Amazon.

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Lara Millican
Author: Lara Millican

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