Guide for Startups


guide-for-startups

Starting a new business can be an exciting, yet challenging, experience. If you’ve been working for someone else and have developed skills in your field, you might consider putting that expertise to work for your own benefit. Perhaps you are stuck in a job that pays the bills but leaves you dreaming of launching the kind of job you really want. If you are still a college student, you might look into opening a business instead of applying for a job. Whatever your circumstance, starting a new business is not something into which you should enter lightly. Whether you are considering a technology startup, an online venture, a service firm or a product-oriented operation, it is crucial that you consider several key points before taking the plunge.

Should I continue college?; If you are in college, it is likely best to finish your education. Research shows that people with a college education earn more over their lifetimes. Also, college offers many resources ideal for the planning stage of entrepreneurship. Make an appointment with your counselor and with the career or placement office and find out whether your degree program is the best for your business idea. If it’s not, change your major to one better aligned with your goals. It should be one that gives you the skills, theory and understanding you’ll need in your venture. Also make sure you take classes that will help in starting and running your business, such as business planning, business funding, human resource management, accounting and any other classes your adviser recommends.

Should I quit my job?; If you have debt, are married, have children to take care of and need your day job to survive, there is no point in quitting your job. The greatest benefit your job offers is financial stability. However there are ways around this, one of them being starting your new venture as a side-business and gradually moving full-time in to it. Start setting aside a portion of your paycheck into an account solely for your new enterprise. Use your job to pay your household bills while you are planning your business. Schedule a certain number of hours each week on your off time to work on your business plan. Keep to that schedule as the first step in making your business part of your day-to-day responsibility. Or you can take risks by selling your real estate property or investments or savings like gold (only if you are convinced about the potential of your venture) or even taking a loan. As the adage goes, the biggest risk in life is not taking a risk.

Once your plan is settled and you have enough money saved, consider launching your new business during your off hours. Many people step gradually into entrepreneurship by keeping their job to pay their personal expenses while building up their business on the side. When the time comes that your business is generating substantial income, it’s time to transition out of your job and into your new business full time.

How do I make a business plan?  Without a well-researched and detailed plan, a business is more likely to fail. Your business plan should describe your target customers; identify a market need you will fulfill; detail how you will make your product or deliver your service; show the source and amount of your funding; project your expenses and how much revenue you will need to generate to meet them; explain whether you will need employees and, if so, what they will do; show where you will carry out your business if you need a physical location; show the legal steps you will take to establish yourself; and include strategies for reassessing and adjusting your operation as needed. If you’ve never made a business plan before, it’s a good idea to get help. Contact your local college, chamber of commerce or other business organization, bank and any trade groups for advice.

How do I secure funding? This is a big issue. Without enough funding your business might never get off the ground or could fizzle out when you’ve used up your resources. However, you don’t want to get too heavily into debt and find that your business cannot pay your creditors. If you are launching a small business, start with your own savings and build up an account for a few years. Investors require you to put up your own money so they know you are depending on your success as much as they are. Some entrepreneurs ask their family for money with the promise to pay it back once the business gets going. The latter is not always the best option. Owing your family adds what can be a stressful element into your business operation; if possible, it’s likely best to keep your relatives and business separate.

Instead, look into grants, government-backed loans and other government assistance available for starting or maintaining a small business.

Another source of funding is venture capital, which helps entrepreneurs who might not be able to secure funding yet from more traditional sources such as banks. Konsulting Worx usually will play a more active role in your company, attending periodic meetings and expecting reports on revenue flow, marketing plans and more. You will often be given venture capital in exchange for a share in your company and, perhaps, a role in business decisions. Before you seek venture capital, you must have completed your business plan, saved your own money to invest in the endeavor and be ready to show how your business will give your investor a good return on his money.

Company Model; There are four basic ways to set you your business. A sole proprietorship means you own your unincorporated business yourself. If you have apartnership, you and one or two other people own the business; you each contribute money and effort and share profits and losses. If you decide to run a corporation, you invite shareholders to invest money in your company in exchange for stock. A Limited Liability Company allows you to limit your personal liability for your business debts. Each legal business structure carries its own tax requirements, so it’s a good idea to consult a tax lawyer. Other legalities for a new business include registering a business name with your state; getting a tax identification number; registering for federal, state and local taxes; and obtaining any permits required for your business or trade.

How do I hire and manage a work force; The continuing success of your business rests in part with your work force. Many new entrepreneurs start solo. You might begin with no employees; if so, expect long hours and make sure to develop a good time-management plan. Eventually, you may add employees. Your business plan should include an analysis of when you will need employees, what kind of skills they will need, how you will train them, what they will do and how you will compensate them.

Learn how to make sure your employees are eligible to work. Obtain workers’ compensation insurance and find out whether your business is required to pay unemployment and disability insurance tax. Learn about federal and state labor laws that pertain to your industry for things such as maintaining a safe work environment and respecting workers’ rights.

Next, be clear about what kind of employees you need. Write job descriptions and tailor your job search to the descriptions. Once you hire people, invest time in training them to fulfill their jobs. Establish clear workplace guidelines for things such as using benefits, recording time worked, interacting with colleagues, reviewing work performances, setting salary increases and the like. Let your staff know that you care about them as people and maintain an open-door policy so they can come to you or your designated representative with any concerns or suggestions. Keeping your workplace organized, fair and open will ensure happier, more productive employees who are more likely to stay with you for years rather than leave the first chance they can. Keeping turnover to a minimum will save you time and money in recruiting and training workers and will develop expertise and long-term knowledge within your company.

As you consider launching your new business, don’t let all the preparation work stand in the way. Instead, when you see the long list of things to accomplish, rest assured that you are more likely to do well because you have educated yourself on the steps necessary to be successful. Take the process one step at a time, write and rewrite your business plan and seek out mentors to advise you along the way. Make sure you have planned for the possibility of needing to tweak your endeavor once you get started and to shift course. Then roll up your sleeves and go for it.

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