Starting a business is a massive undertaking, and there are a lot of risks, but there is the potential for an enormous reward. With that risk and reward comes a lot of work. Whether you are the sole force behind a startup or if you are one of the first hires, you will likely have to do a little bit of everything until you can round out your team with dedicated professionals to take on specialized tasks. There is a lot to do from legal, financing, human resources, sales and marketing, liability protection, and more. Here is what you need to know about startups.
Set Everything Up Correctly
A great idea or product is necessary to launch a business around, but you also need to do a lot of paperwork before getting your product out to the masses. Set the business up as an S corporation, C corporation, or limited liability company (LLC). Setting the business up properly can make filing taxes a lot easier and protect your personal assets in the event of debts or liabilities incurred by the company. Depending on where the business is set up, you may also need to obtain a tax ID. Know the laws in the state and city where your business is set up, and make sure you have all of the proper forms filled out and submitted. Law varies from one place to another, so startups in Chicago may face different laws and regulations than startups in other cities.
Starting a business requires a lot of work, and you need time to take on that work. Doing all of the work yourself is not feasible, especially if you want to scale the business, so you need to bring in help. Shifting through resumes, setting up interviews, making a hiring decision, and training the new team member is also a significant time commitment. What’s more, while you’re expanding the team, you still need to keep up with the operational aspects of the business. Understand that when you are at the helm of a startup, you will need to put in a lot of time, and you will need to do so for an extended period. It can take years to build a solid team that will enable you to take a step back and enjoy what you created.
What’s In a Name
Think long and hard before selecting a name for your business. If everything goes well, this is a name that will be in place for a long time, so it needs to be a good fit in every possible way. Things to consider when selecting a name for your startup:
A name should be easy to spell and pronounce
Research the name online and on social media to see if other businesses are using the name and make sure the domain and social media handles are available
Consider all possible implications and ensure the name cannot be misinterpreted or misunderstood
Pick a name your business can grow into and will not be limiting or hold you back as you grow
Check trademarks to ensure the name is available, and you can freely use it
Focus On the Details, But Not Too Much
Your startup’s products and services need to work and offer value to customers. You also need a well-designed and functional website to explain your business to potential customers and close sales. Everything needs to work, and you want to ensure customers have a positive experience but do not get hung up on perfection. Waiting until everything is perfect can drag things out and delay the launch, and your business has to launch before you can start to grow it. There will be hiccups and setbacks, and things will not always go to plan, but you can fix them as you go.
Make an Amazing Website
A business website is an invaluable tool representing your offerings and allowing customers to connect with your brand. Customers will learn about your product, make purchases, and find answers to questions, and even prospective employees will use your website to learn about possible job openings. It is crucial that your website not only looks amazing but functions too.
Audit competitors’ sites before designing your website. Checking out other sites will help you understand what customers expect and also allow you to identify any gaps or improvements you can make to serve your customers better. Key aspects to integrate into your startup’s website include:
The site should be visually interesting
Navigation should be prominent, easy to find, and intuitive
Use a ‘.com’ domain because that is standard and what users expect
Optimize the site for search engines so users can easily find your site
All content, photos, and videos should be high-quality and original
Ensure your site works well on both desktops and mobile devices
Enjoy the Journey
Starting your own business is scary and exciting, and with the proper steps and considerations, you can do your best to ensure your business will also be a success. Startups are a lot of work, so setting everything up correctly from the start can save you the hassle of having to re-do things later, which can maintain forward momentum.