You have the next big idea, and you’re ready to launch your startup business tomorrow. Hold on! Some planning is in order. The sad fact is that 80 percent of new businesses fail during the first 18 months, according to Forbes. Never turning a profit is a top reason. Be sure your new business will survive by reviewing the following checklist of six things every startup owner needs to know for a successful launch.
Create a Business Plan and Follow It
Develop a business plan to outline how to set up and market your startup. A business plan does not need to be fancy or complex. It can be a simple document that outlines your business format, goals, target audience, budget, and profit forecast.
Seek professional help from an attorney to set up legal agreements and customer contracts. Your attorney and accountant can also help you establish your business entity. You may have a sole proprietorship, or you may need to set up an LLC, corporation, or partnership.
Make Sure Other People Love Your Big Idea
You’re excited about your business venture, but other people need to love it, too. Your product or service must fill a need that’s not being addressed. You could offer a new solution or a new twist on a traditional product.
Identify your potential customers and talk to them about your idea. Ask for feedback such as whether they would use your new product and how much they would be willing to pay for it.
Track Your Costs
Start tracking your expenses now. You can find and use plenty of bookkeeping apps and software. Apply for an EIN from the IRS and open a business checking account. Set a spending limit so that you don’t max out your credit cards. Don’t forget to include business insurance costs such as liability and workers’ compensation in your budget.
Find and Renovate Your Location
Look for a suitable location for your startup. Keep in mind that the space you find may need some work. If your plans include building a new store, landscaping, or a major renovation of an existing space, you may need to rent construction or earthmoving equipment. You don’t need to purchase heavy machinery that you won’t need after you launch your business.
Keep Your Day Job
While we’re talking about money, don’t forget you’ll need cash to live on while you develop your business. Maintain your income level by keeping your current job. Save as much money as you can while working on your business after hours and on weekends.
Build a Website and Market Your Business
When consumers and business professionals need a product or service, they often take out their phones to do some searching. Your business needs a website. You can develop a website using a website builder, or you can have a professional build a website for you.
Run through the checklist above before you launch your new business. With some planning, you’ll stand a better chance of turning a profit and helping your business survive past its first year.