4 Tips for Starting Your Own Business

Striking out on your own to start a brand-new business marks a huge turning point in your life and career. But it is only the first of many steps that will make up your journey as a business owner. Here are a few tips for keeping things on track and running as efficiently as possible.

Research the Market

A business idea is not worth much if there is not a market for its goods or services. Your first step is to understand the need for what you have to offer. What problem can your product or service solve for your consumers? Are people buying those products or services?  Are there other companies offering similar solutions?  How does your idea offer an improvement or something different?

Once you confirm that there is a market or what your company would offer, learn everything you can about it. Create a detailed profile of your target customer based on who is buying from your potential competitors. What is their age? Their income level? Their gender? How much are they paying for similar services? To cover your costs and generate profit, how many customers will you need and how often do they need to buy your product?

Create a Business Plan

After you have gotten to know your market and your ideal customer, it is time to put together a formal business plan. This document will be the foundation of your company, a complete outline of its identity, purpose, goals, and the concrete steps you will take to reach them. It is what you will present to potential investors when you start to look for funding.

The plan should include a description of the company and what it sells, a proposed name, and the legal structure you plan to use. The management structure should also be clearly laid out, along with the results of your market research. Be as specific as you can at this stage about your funding requirements and revenue expectations.

Secure Funding

Starting a business typically requires a significant capital investment. You might not have it all on hand — or you are not willing to risk everything you have on your new venture. Luckily, there are many ways to acquire startup funding for a new business.

After you have determined the amount of your own cash you are comfortable investing, contact your bank and ask about its small-business loan programs. You can also approach individuals in your personal and professional networks, often called “friends and family investors,” and invite them to invest in exchange for a share of the company. For many new businesses, crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter are an option for generating startup cash. Crowdfunding allows anyone who wants to support your business to invest without acquiring shares in return. Instead, investors will receive a gift — usually the product or service your business plans to sell.  You can also attempt to raise funds from angel investors, who are typically repeat investors in early-stage companies, and, in some circumstances, venture capital investors.

Name and Register your Business

Naming a business sounds simple until you sit down to do it. First, you will need to produce a catchy, memorable name that reflects your company's product and purpose. Then you will have to make sure that another business is not already using the name you want.  There are various ways to search for names and trademarks to ensure yours is original.  If it is already in use, it is back to the drawing board. Once you find a name you like that is free and clear, it is time to register it.

In South Dakota, most businesses are required to file a Doing Business As (DBA) business name registration. The details of business structuring, licensing, and registration can become complex, but an experienced business law attorney can offer you customized advice for your company’s specific needs.

Starting a new business is involved and can be very difficult if you are new to the process.  If you need guidance through the course of setting up your new business, you can count on Ogborn Mihm Quaintance, PLLC. These seasoned business law attorneys have the knowledge to guide you from startup to empire. Contact us online or call (605) 339-1000 to get started on your individualized plan.

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