Opening a new business will require accomplishing several preliminary steps for legal and practical purposes. Business space, a business license and marketing materials will be necessary to get started. Acquiring customers or clients for the products or services will likely be the most challenging part of getting the enterprise under way. Every business will have challenges and setbacks in the beginning, but by working through a well-organized plan, these obstacles can be overcome. Above all, ask for help from mentors in both local and national business organizations.
Research the type of business to be launched. Talk with experts to gain advice about the need for certain products or services. Create a business plan to review with mentors. Choose a location for the retail or office space as the first official step in opening a business. Obtain a business license as soon as possible.
Talk to banks or capital investors to obtain funding. Visit an attorney to set up the business as a proprietorship under a single owner or as a limited liability entity for a partnership. Incorporate the business with at least two other principals, if the attorney recommends this type of legal structure. Be careful about spending too much money in setting up a business, since capital will be needed to buy merchandise, pay rent and hire employees.
Set up the physical business space with desks, one or more computers and file cabinets. Order business furniture that looks appropriate for the space. Install business fixtures, such as counters or display cases to prepare the space for actual clients or customers. Ask friends and associates to do a walk-through to create scenarios for how the business will operate on opening day.
Interview and hire employees, if needed. Begin training employees on how to help with marketing, dealing with customers or managing a retail store. Help employees envision what will be expected from them on a day-to-day basis. Hold a few initial meetings to brainstorm for ideas on how the business should operate in serving new clients. Allow employees to ask questions and make suggestions, if desired.
Work to get all goods or services in place to begin doing business. Prepare to sell products, for example, by stocking the retail space with merchandise. Prepare to sell services, such as plumbing or electrical work, by obtaining all licenses necessary and checking with local authorities about codes for providing such services.
Ask mentors to make a list of challenges to be overcome. Have them examine pricing structure for clients or customers and state whether these prices seem competitive. Look at problems with ordering unique merchandise or seasonal merchandise in order to overcome obstacles with those issues early on. Set up the business to run as smoothly as possible once the doors are officially open.
Don't forget to obtain appropriate insurance policies covering liability issues with the physical building, employees and customers. One lawsuit could undermine the financial health of the new business, so talk with other business owners and an insurance agent to make appropriate decisions concerning insurance needs.
- business colleagues preparing for business meeting image by Vladimir Melnik from Fotolia.com