The birth of a new idea can be considered an unofficial start of a company, while the day of the launch is considered to be the formal date at which it all begins. Everything that happens between these two occurrences is seldom discussed but this doesn’t make it any less vital for the future of your company. From the moment you decide to start your first company until you start doing business, there are so many things that you, as a potential entrepreneur, have to tend to. Here are six of these issues.
Start with a financial projection
The first thing you need to do is calculate whether starting a business with the idea you have is a viable solution at all. A lot of things sound much better when contemplated or talked about than when you decide to put them on paper. First, you need to determine how much money you will need in order to launch, and then, you can try to calculate your earnings. The key thing to focus on here is to determine a break-even point and be honest about whether can you reach it while still running. In order to calculate your earnings, you might want to try looking for others within your industry and try to use their earnings in your calculations. Of course, it is wiser to be a bit more pessimistic when doing this.
Raise the money
In the previous section, we mentioned the idea of calculating how much money you would need in order to launch, however, this is not where your worries end. What you also need to keep in mind is that most small businesses and startups don’t become profitable for at least 6 months to 2 full years. Therefore, you need some additional funds to pull through this rough patch, as well. This brings us to the issue of raising money. Depending on the amount of money you need, you might want to look for a partner or raise a loan. On the other hand, most tech startups nowadays fund through crowdfunding campaigns. Therefore, this might be an alternative worth considering.
Determine the structure of your company
The company structure is not merely a formality, in fact, it is vital to the classification and taxation of your business. A sole proprietorship and a partnership don’t pay their taxes according to the same scheme, whereas limited liability corporations use a different model altogether. Furthermore, even if you decide to run your company as a sole proprietorship, you might want to separate your personal from your professional assets. According to one statistic, 9 out of 10 startups fail within the first five years, which is something you want to avoid at all costs.
Protecting your brand
The fact that you have a great idea puts a target on your back and makes you into a potential victim of intellectual property theft. Therefore, you need to learn how to protect your own ideas. Start by checking whether you’re violating someone else’s assets. When you are sure that your idea is unique or available, as well as that the name you’ve chosen isn’t already occupied, you can initiate the process of company registration. Nowadays, this can be done online, which will save you both time and effort. Once this is done, you need to consult a legal expert and see if you need to get a copyright, trademark or patent for any of your ideas.
Check out your competitors
Ideas that completely revolutionize the industry are incredibly rare, yet, you don’t have to think 100% outside the box in order to succeed in the business world. All it takes is for you to take an old idea and come up with a new angle or even a single new feature that you can use as a selling point. The best way to get inspiration for this is by sizing-up your competitors.
As an outsider, even as a pseudo-customer, you can inspect their company from the outside and see if there is anything you can learn from their infrastructure. If there’s something they’re doing right, you might be able to borrow the idea. On the other hand, if you notice a problem with their structure, you can easily use it to gain a competitive edge.
Plan your marketing from day one
Your company’s brand is its own personality. This means that in order to make it likeable, you need to be as consistent as possible. Seeing as the name of your company, its logo and its corporate colors will become cornerstones of every future marketing campaign, it is clear that you need to consider the issue of marketing from day one. In 2018, this also means considering your online presence, however, this is a topic for another time.
At the end of the day, the above-listed six items aren’t even the tip of the iceberg of everything you need in order to start your business. However, neglecting any of these points might create an impassable barrier and significantly harm any future attempts for greatness. The issues of money, brand and competition are the ones that need to be resolved as soon as possible.