Starting a Business? Take These Steps Before Quitting Your Day Job
When inspiration strikes and you come up with the perfect business idea, you might want to quit your day job on the spot and start pursuing your dreams. However, taking the leap can be risky if you’re unprepared. By following the steps below from Idea House, you can ease into entrepreneurship without feeling like you’re jumping straight into the deep end.
Test the Waters
If you have an awesome business idea, you’ll want to start by making sure other people think it’s great too. Just because you’d personally use your product or service doesn’t necessarily mean other people need it. So, to get a feel for how your business might be received, bounce ideas off your trusted allies, put your ideas on paper with a business plan, and even make prototypes and apply for a patent if you plan on selling a physical product.
If your idea is for a service rather than a product, research to learn what type of demand there is for what you’re offering. For example, if you want to start a pet-sitting business, make sure there are enough pet parents in the area who would potentially hire you. If your service is online, such as web design, ensure there’s a demand for your particular skill set.
Get Your Finances in Order
Starting a business doesn’t always cost a lot of money, but it depends on the type of business you have in mind. In any case, the Small Business Administration says that you’ll want to account for common expenses like insurance, licensure, equipment, inventory and the cost of hosting a website, among other things.
No matter what your operating expenses are, it’s crucial to track and record everything. Having disorganized finances can slow down your business, mess up your taxes, and even cause you to lose money. Also, don’t make the critical error of not paying yourself first. Setting aside funds for a rainy day, both in your personal and business finances, ensures you have a reliable cushion if you experience a hiccup.
Make It Yours
Once you’re sure of your business idea and have the details sorted out, you will usually want to choose and register a business name. When registering your name, you’ll want to know what business structure works best for you, such as a sole proprietorship or limited liability company (LLC), as it can affect how you go about the registration process. The former, for example, provides you with complete control of your business, but the latter offers flexibility for growth while protecting your personal assets. If you’re interested in setting up an LLC, visit the Zen Business homepage to learn more.
Set Up Your Workspace
After your business is registered, think about your workspace. For many small businesses, it’s possible to start out of your home or apartment. However, you need to check the laws before setting up your home-based business. Local zoning laws for homeowners are complicated, so make sure you aren’t crossing any lines. The rules are even more stringent if you’re renting.
After jumping through the legal hoops, you can feel confident in setting up your workspace. For online businesses, you might just need a computer and designated office space.
For home-based services, think about what your clients will need. If you’re going to become a dog sitter, for example, do a safety check throughout your home to identify hazards; for example, make sure to lock up cabinets and secure garbage can lids. Then, ensure that you don’t have any toxic plants or choking hazards indoors or out.
Promote Your Business
Per HubSpot, 97 percent of people learn about local businesses online. With that in mind, you’ll want to have a strong online presence with a website and social media channels. This lets you connect with customers and make relationships before you even quit your day job.
You can also use these venues to market your services via memes, quizzes, contests, and the like. Consider it an opportunity to connect with your community and your clientele. As they get to know you and your product or service and associate positive vibes, they will feel increasingly inclined to send business your way.
Becoming an entrepreneur is a lot of work, and it’s common to doubt yourself when you’re just getting started. However, many great business ideas never get off the ground because would-be entrepreneurs are afraid to take serious action. Rather than remaining stagnant, follow the steps outlined here so you can start making your dreams a reality.
If you do not know where to start, Idea House & Co. has a program that can help you understand your market, expected returns, and forecast all your financials. Schedule a call here for more information.