A To-Do List Before You Start Your Business

Before your launch your startup, there are a few things you need to do. When you are organized and have laid the groundwork for success, you can concentrate primarily on building your business. There will be plenty to learn as you go even with this preparation in place, so doing as much as you can beforehand free up more time for you to excel in your new venture.


Organize Your Finances

Although you should be keeping your personal and business finances separate, it’s a good idea to get your personal finances in order before your launching your business. Not only will it be one less thing to feel stressed about, but it can improve your chances of getting funding. Lenders and investors want to feel that you have your financial house in order before giving you some of their money. For example, if you have credit card debt, especially across multiple cards, you might want to consider taking out a personal loan to pay it off. These loans often have lower interest rates, and if you have debt on more than one card, it will be much simpler to just make one payment per month instead of having to juggle multiple payments. You should also take a look at your spending and whether there are areas where you are wasting money or where you could cut back.

Study the Market

It’s one thing to have a great idea, but you also need to understand what your competition is, who your potential customers are, and how you will market to those potential customers. If you do not know much about the industry you are considering starting a business in, you should spend some time reading up on it and talking to industry leaders. You also need to spend some time looking at your competition. You can use polls, surveys, and focus groups to determine who your customer base might be and what they really want. Keep in mind that depending on your industry and the group you plan to market to; social media may be only one piece of this puzzle.


Refine Your Idea

Once you know more about the competition and your market, you might want to refine your idea. For example, you might have had an idea to start an organizing service but determined that a particular subspecialty, such as focusing exclusively on the organizational needs of small and one-person businesses, would be the most profitable approach. Refining your idea also helps you explain it to others to generate interest in funding or using your services. Try to come up with an elevator pitch to describe your idea, meaning just a sentence or two you could deliver quickly. You should also consider any potential pitfalls and how you would handle them.

Know Your Funding Options

Some types of businesses will require little to no investment. For others, you might be looking to get investors or use your own money toward funding. There are also grants for some types of startups. Some of these might be available to you if you are in a specific demographic. For example, a grant might be aimed specifically at women who are entrepreneurs. For many types of business loans, you will need to already be up and running, so you might not be eligible for them yet, but it is good to know about them. The key here is to know what your options are even if you never use them. You should put together a business plan for similar reasons. You’ll need one if you are seeking funding, but it can also help you focus and address any issues you have not yet considered.

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