6 Key Things to Have in Place Before Opening a Small Business

The reality is that many challenges come with opening your own business. But you don’t have to worry about them all at once, as long as you can lay a solid foundation before jumping into the great unknown.

1. Business Idea

This might seem a bit obvious, but you should have a business idea that will work. This idea should be unique, something that has not been done before and around which you can build your customer base before launching into a full-blown business model. Conduct market research to see if this idea is sound and has potential customer interest. Just be sure you don’t patent something that others can easily copy.

2. Business Plan

A business plan is critical before officially opening your business, especially if you use credit cards or a bank loan to fund your operations. You can start a business without a plan, but you will be taking a serious risk. Your plan should include what sort of business you will open, your business goals and objectives, the type of customers you are targeting, and what services or products you must provide to win that customer base.

3. Location

This may seem obvious, but you need to choose the right location for your business. Consider the area in which you are opening and any neighborhood regulations such as parking permits and zoning issues before deciding where to locate your business. Then make sure you secure the proper permits and licenses for operating your business in that location. Be sure you pick a convenient and good location for your business before doing anything else.

4. Insurance

Do not take on the risk of opening your business without commercial insurance coverage. The first few years of a new venture can be tough, and if it goes south, you will be in big trouble. Insurance covers fire, theft, personal injury, damage to property and products, and liability. Most insurance companies provide a free quote, and if you are beginning to look for business insurance quotes, you might want to do so as early as possible to have time to find the best deal before moving forward with your plans.

5. Employees

Unless you are a solo entrepreneur willing to work all the hours of the day, you will need some help. This means hiring employees and deciding whether you can do this on your own or if you will need to hire someone else to do it for you. If hiring a friend, make sure they have good references and are well qualified for the job before handing them the keys to your business. You will also want to consider all the benefits you can offer an employee before you hire, such as stock options, vacations, and even health plans.

6. Marketing Plan

How do you go about attracting customers? The marketing plan should include how much money you will need for marketing in the first year of your business and how long it will take to cover that expense. You should also consider the type of marketing you are doing and the overall cost, from newspaper advertisements to phone book listings to online marketing.

These are the basic things you should have before opening your own business. You do not have to have all of them in place right away, but these should be on your short schedule if you want to make a successful business.