Tips to Help Get Your Business Off the Ground

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Perhaps it’s been your “pie in the sky” dream for years, and you’re finally taking that leap and starting your own small business. If that’s the case, you likely understand how many challenges you’ll face as you launch, but you may be unsure of how to meet them. Fortunately, with a little preparation, you can help avoid some of the common pitfalls experienced by businesses.

Before you start honing the details of your business or your product, it’s essential to take a step back and see the larger picture. Although it may seem like a waste of time to develop a thoroughly researched written business plan, it will be a boon in the long term. Instead of blindly entering the market, you’ll have to ask yourself tough questions and be prepared for the answers. To start, you need to ensure that your business will fill a particular need or eliminate a pain point for your customers. This information can help you determine how large of a market you can aim for, and then you can begin crunching the numbers. Investigate whether your revenue sources will help you recoup your spending, and look into the costs of expanding the business beyond its original scope, be it by expanding the geographical areas you serve or adding additional products and services. A deep examination of your proposed business should include all of the overarching questions you’ll need to answer, even the exit strategy. Will you want to sell your business at some point in its life, or are you looking to establish a company to pass on to your children?

With all of these issues settled, you can begin the important task of choosing an appropriate name for your business. You should always have your company’s brand in mind as you brainstorm, and it may even be helpful to place yourself in a potential customer’s shoes. For example, an unestablished fashion boutique might catch your eye or even attract your business with an interesting or even edgy name. Other businesses, however, such as a restaurant supply company or an accounting firm, need to earn a customer’s trust and should probably opt for a more conservative name.

Although merely selecting a suitable name can be a monumental task, it isn’t over once you have a good idea. You also have to check if another business already goes by that name. It may burst your bubble, but a quick search with your state’s department of state can help ensure that you won’t be accidentally embroiled in a trademark dispute. If you plan to expand your business beyond state borders you should also complete a free trademark search to see if your name is available in all 50 states.

Another item to address during your planning phase is assigning prices to your products or services. This can be a particularly trying part of launching a business, because companies that are just starting out often offer steeply discounted prices in order to attract more customers. However, this approach is a losing proposition for virtually every business. Instead of undercutting your bottom line from the start, focus on building relationships and trust with your customers to ensure they’ll return the next time they can use your services. If you’re still concerned about getting new customers to turn to you, there are many ways to reach out to them through marketing strategies.

This planning may take a long time to complete with accurate information, but you’ll have a way to keep the big picture in mind even as the details of your business dominate your day-to-day thoughts.