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Congratulations on taking your first step toward independence! Opening a business can be an exciting and fulfilling way to make a living. It puts you in control of your hours and finances, and it allows your ideas to flourish. Here is a list of six tips for when you finally take the leap to open your local business.
1. Make Connections with Other Local Businesses
Your city may very well have a local business association or other organization. You’ll want to join this prior to opening your business and make yourself known to the community at large. People are more likely to lend support when there’s a human face to remember with the business.
If you’re looking to open your business within a plaza or mall, walk around to each storefront and introduce yourself. Tell the owners a little bit about yourself and your business and where you’ll be moving into.
It’s always helpful to remember that business is about people. Making these connections will show local business owners that you respect their “territory” so to speak, and you’re honored to share the space with them.
A business with good connections is likely to stay in business longer, as mutually beneficial relationships form. These connections will encourage collaboration and help strengthen the community as a whole.
2. Make Sure Your Legal Documentation is in Order
This tip is probably the most important when opening a business. You must ensure that all of your legal paperwork, including articles of organization and tax status, are completed and filed correctly at the state, federal, and local levels.
It’s best to hire an attorney or legal form to take care of this end of things if you’re unfamiliar with the legality of small businesses. Legal Zoom offers an online business formation option that helps you decide what kind of business to open.
3. Your Business Should Offer a Solution to a Problem
There have undoubtedly been thousands if not millions of business ideas that have been suggested, but the best ideas offer a solution to a problem.
When Walmart was created, it became so wildly successful because it solved a problem; the high prices in traditional stores. Every successful business has a solution to a problem, and your local business should be no different.
Products and services are much easier to sell and continue to sell when they’re solving a problem. Take a look around your locale and identify some key issues. Is there a lack of high-end stores in the area? Does the city really need another brewery or bar?
Your motives are the driving force behind your brand, so it’s essential that you understand them. What problems do you think you could solve with your idea, and how do they solve them?
4. Calculate Every Expense…Even the Bathroom Soap
Calculating every penny of the cost associated with opening your business is necessary to create the proper budget, and know how large of a loan you need (if any). Small expenses such as bathroom supplies, business invoices, and printer ink, are often overlooked when creating a business budget.
The fact is, those small expenses can add up quickly, so you’ll definitely want to include them in your startup budget. Yes, even the bathroom soap. By calculating costs early on, you can find alternatives that may be more cost-effective or completely free.
For instance, using a free invoice generator will help you create professional invoices at no cost. Going paperless can eliminate your printer and ink costs. These are just a few ways you can cut costs for your startup.
5. Market Research
You’ve got your idea, you’ve calculated expenses and chosen a legal firm to organize your paperwork. Now it’s time to conduct market research to see if your idea is actually marketable. That is, do you have anyone to sell to?
Market research gives you a general idea of potential customers’ feelings toward your product. It helps to identify your target audience, set costs, and minimize risks. You won’t want to go into business if your idea doesn’t spark any interest. Without a customer base, a business cannot stay afloat.
Market research helps you get to know your customers before they ever step foot in your store, meaning you can serve them better by already having a general idea of their preferences.
6. Hire a Great Team
Once you’ve defined your target audience, it’s time to take the leap! You’ll need a great team to stand behind you and help push your business forward.
You can place ads in local newspapers or on social media, or you can try an online hiring service like ZipRecruiter or Indeed. These internet based platforms allow you to post jobs and filter candidates by resumes and sample questions.
Once you’ve narrowed down the perfect team members, you’ll want to make sure your company has something to offer. Benefits are great but can be expensive at first. Try offering simple benefits like free counseling services at first. You can always work your way up to higher end services as your business grows.
Congratulations on Your New Business
Your new business will be flourishing before long if you treat your customers and employees with dignity and respect and continue to solve problems. Always be aware of new problems you could potentially solve, and be sure to get regular feedback from your customers so you know what they’re looking for.