The first steps are to create a cover page, and write a description of your business that outlines your product or service and how it solves a need for your customers. The next step is to work on the company description which provides detail on how your company will be organized and includes the mission statement.
In the next section of the business plan template, you'll identify your target audience or buyer personas. Through research, surveys, and interviews, you'll understand who wants your product, why their interested, and what problem your offering solves for them. The next step is to describe your line of products and services in detail, including the pricing model, and the advantage you have over competitors.
From there, you'll write down your plan to market and sell your product or service. You'll also identify your growth plan and set targets and measures for your marketing and sales activities. Then, you'll determine which legal structure your business will have LLP, sole proprietorship, etc. Finally, financial projections will be made, and short-term and long-term goals will be set for the business. Image source: Canva. Image source: SBA. Once the business plan is in place, you get to move on to the even less romantic part -- the paperwork and legal activities. Furthermore, businesses are regulated on the federal, the state, and sometimes even local level.
It's important to check what's required on all three of those levels. When you register your business with the government, be sure you're covering registration on all the levels required for your business' location. Your business won't be a legal entity without checking these boxes, so stay on top of it. Below, you'll find a brief explanation of what goes into each one of these steps, along with links to helpful resources where you can dig in to the details.
Note: These steps are for starting a business in the U. The corporation does not get a tax deduction when it distributes dividends to shareholders. Shareholders cannot deduct any loss of the corporation, but they are also not responsible directly for taxes on their earnings — just on the dividends they give to shareholders.
S corporations, on the other hand have only one level of taxation. Learn more about the difference between "C corporations" and "S corporations" here , and find IRS tax forms here. Establishing a business name is a little more complicated than making a list and picking your favorite.
If you're using a name other than your personal name, then you need to register it with your state government so they know you're doing business with a name other than your given name. Before you register, you need to make sure the name you want is available in your state.
Business names are registered on a state-by-state basis, so it's possible that a company in another state could have the same name as yours. This is only concerning if there's a trademark on the name. Do a trademark search of your desired name to avoid expensive issues down the road. The search will tell you if another business has registered or applied for the trademark you'd like to use.
For new corporations and LLCs: Your business name is automatically registered with your state when you register your business -- so you don't have to go through a separate process. There are rules for naming a corporation and LLC, which you can read about here. For sole proprietorships, partnerships, and existing corporations and LLCs if you want to do business with a name other than their registered name , you'll need to register what's called a "Doing Business As" DBA name. You can do so either by going to your county clerk office or with your state government, depending which state you're in.
Learn how to do that here. Want to trademark your business name? A trademark protects words, names, symbols, and logos that distinguish goods and services. If your business sells tangible property to the public either as a wholesaler or retailer, then in most states, you need to apply for a seller's permit. In some states, a seller's permit is required for service-oriented business, too, such as accountants, lawyers, and therapists. The seller's permit allows you to collect sales tax from buyers.
You'll then pay that sales tax to the state each quarter by putting the sales tax permit number on the state's tax payment form. To help you find the appropriate offices, find your state on this IRS website. Almost every business needs some form of license or permit to operate legally — but the requirements vary, which can get confusing. Which specific licenses or permits does your business need? To figure that out, go to this SBA. It'll tell you the specific license and permit requirements in that state. Business owners are obligated to pay specific federal taxes, and the amount of those taxes is determined by the form of business entity that you establish.
All businesses except for partnerships need to file an annual income tax return. Partnerships file what's called an information return. Once you're registered, it's time to figure out which taxes you'll be responsible for. Here are the three types:. A Social Security and Medicare tax for people who work for themselves, i.
Note: There are special rules and exceptions for fishing crew members, notary public, and more. Learn More. When you have employees, you as the employer have certain employment tax responsibilities that you need to pay, as well as forms you need to file. Excise taxes are also something you need to consider, depending what you sell, where you operate, and so on.
For example, in the U. Once you've registered your new business with the government and gotten the legal paperwork squared away, how do you go about, you know Before you can receive any significant funding for your business which we'll talk about in the next section , you need to start building an online presence and marketing your business, as well as getting a sales process together and beginning to sell your product or service.
Turns out that generating demand and earning customers needs to come before you can viably ask for funding from an external source. And once you start generating customers, you'll need to retain them — which is where customer service comes in. Learn more about customer service here. A new company needs to start drumming up interest for its product or service even before it's ready to ship.
But there are a million different platforms and avenues you can use to drive awareness … so where on earth do you start? It all comes down to your target customer. You won't be able to position what you're selling to meet customers' needs without knowing who they are. One of the very first questions you need to ask yourself is: Who wants what I'm selling?
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Who would find it useful? Who would love it? Then, you need to dig in to who that person is or those people are, and what kind of messaging would resonate with them. That includes their backgrounds, interests, goals, and challenges, in addition to how old they are, what they do every day, which social platforms they use, and so on. Creating very specific buyer personas can dramatically improve your business results. Read this step-by-step guide on how to create buyer personas , which includes buyer persona templates you can customize yourself.
Once you've picked a buyer persona or two, print them out, tack them onto your wall, and think about their interests and needs before making every business decision. In addition to researching your target customer, when you're first starting a business, you'll need to build the foundation for a strong brand identity. Your brand identity is about your values, how you communicate concepts, and which emotions you want your customers to feel when they interact with your business. Having a consistent brand identity to promote your business will make you look more professional and help you attract new customers.
With your target customer and your brand identity under your belt, you can begin building the core marketing elements of your small business, which includes your website, your blog, your email tool, your conversion tool, and your social media accounts. To dive deeper into these topics, read our beginner's guide to small business marketing here. Once you've started building an online presence and creating awareness for your business, you need to generate the leads that will close into customers.
Lead generation is the process of attracting and converting strangers and prospects into leads, and if you build a successful lead generation engine, you'll be able to keep your funnel full of sales prospects while you sleep. What does a successful lead generation process look like? Learn more about lead generation here , and click the button below to try HubSpot's free marketing tools , our free lead generation tool that lets you track your website visitors and leads in a single contact database.
Here are some helpful resources to help you spread awareness, build your online presence, and get the leads you need for free. By taking the time to set up your sales process from the get-go, you'll avoid painful headaches that come with lost data down the line. Start with a CRM, which is a central database where you can keep track of all your clients and prospective clients in one place.
There are loads of options out there, and you'll want to evaluate the CRMs that cater to small businesses. Excel doesn't count!
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All this means is that you need to figure out what you need coming into your business to make ends meet and grow: how much revenue do you need, and how many products do you need to sell to hit that target? When you're starting your business, it's tempting to do everything yourself, including taking on sales. However, making that first sales hire is crucial to scaling — you need someone dedicated to understanding your buyer and selling to them full-time. When looking for that first sales hire, seniority should be less of a priority than how much sales experience they have on the front lines and whether they understand your business's target buyer.
Efficiency is key. Put together a sales process, such as this helpful 7-step sales process framework , which works regardless of your business size. You'll also want to automate sales tasks such as data entry , or set up notifications when a prospective customer takes an action. That way, you spend less time poring through records and calling the wrong prospects and more on strategy and actual selling.
Here are some helpful templates tools to help you build an efficient sales engine, reach prospects, and close customers for free. Getting net new customers in the door is important, but retaining them is just as important. You can't ignore customers once you've closed them — you have to take care of them, give them stellar customer service, and nurture them to become fans of and even evangelists for your business. While inbound marketing and sales are both critical to your funnel, the funnel doesn't end there: The reality is that the amount of time and effort that you spend perfecting your strategy in those areas will amount to very little if you're unable to retain happy customers.
This means that building a model for customer success should be central to your organization. Think for a second about all the different ways reviews, social media, and online aggregators spread information about your products. They're all quick and effective, for better or for worse.
While your marketing and sales playbooks are within your control and yours to perfect, a large chunk of your prospects are evaluating your company based on the content and materials that other people are circulating about your brand. People expect fast resolution times some faster than others depending on the channel , so it's essential to be nimble and efficiently keep up with requests so that you're consistently providing excellent service to avoid losing trust with your customers. Pay attention to the volume of your company mentions on different channels.
Identify where your customers spend the most time and are asking the most questions, and then meet them there, whether it's on a social network, on Yelp, or somewhere else. Interactions with your customers are best informed by context. Keep track of all the touchpoints you've had with individual customers because having a view into their experience with your company will pay dividends in the long run.
How long have they been a customer? What was their experience in the sales process?
How many purchases have they made? Knowing the answers to these questions will give you a more complete picture when you respond to inquiries and will help you have more productive conversations with customers.
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From the moment you have your first customer, you should be actively seeking out insights from them. As your business grows, this will become harder -- but remember that your customer-facing employees are a valuable source of information because they are most in tune with your buyers and potential buyers.
Give customers the tools to help themselves, and scale this program as you grow. When you're starting out, this might take the form of a simple FAQ page. From the day you start building your business until the point where you can make a consistent profit, you need to finance your operation and growth with start-up capital. Some founders can finance their business entirely on their own dime or through friends and family, which is called "bootstrapping.
How to Open &; Operate a Financially Successful Fashion Design Business
This obviously gives the business owners a ton of flexibility for running the business, although it means taking on a larger financial risk -- and when family's involved, can lead to awkward holiday dinner conversations if things go wrong. Many founders need external start-up capital to get their business off the ground.
If that sounds like you, keep on reading to learn about the most common kinds of external capital you can raise. If you're looking for a relatively small amount of money, say, the investigation of a market opportunity or the development of the initial version of a product or service, then Seed financing might be for you. There are many different kinds of seed financing, but the one you've probably heard of most is called Seed-round financing.
In this case, someone will invest in your company in exchange for preferred stock. If your company gets sold or liquidated, then investors who hold preferred stock often have the right to get their investment back -- and, in most cases, an additional return, called "preferred dividends" or "liquidation preferences" -- before holders of common stock are paid. Accelerators are highly competitive programs that typically involve applying and then competing against other startups in a public pitch event or demo day.
In addition to winning funding and seed capital, winners of these programs are also rewarded with mentorship and educational programs. Although accelerators were originally mostly tech companies and centered around Silicon Valley, you can now find them all over the country and in all different industries. If this sounds like something you'd be interested in, here's a list of the top accelerators in the United States to get you started.
If you have a really rock-solid plan for how you'll spend the money in place, then you might be able to convince a bank, a lender, a community development organization, or a micro-lending institution to grant you a loan. There are many different types of loans, including loans with the bank, real estate loans, equipment loans, and more. To successfully get one, you're going to need to articulate exactly how you'll spend every single penny -- so make sure you have a solid business plan in place before you apply.
You can learn more about SBA. You might ask yourself, what about companies that get funding through platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo? That's called crowdfunding, which is a newer way of funding a business. More importantly, it typically doesn't entail giving partial ownership of the business away.
Instead, it's a way of getting funding not from potential co-owners, but from potential fans and customers who want to support the business idea, but not necessarily own it. What you give donors in exchange is entirely up to you -- and typically, people will come away with early access to a product, or a special version of a product, or a meet-and-greet with the founders.
Learn more about crowdfunding here. Only a very small percentage of businesses are either fit for venture capital or have access to it. All the other methods described earlier are available to the vast majority of new businesses. If you're looking for a significant amount of money to start your company and can prove you can quickly grow its value, then venture capital financing is probably the right move for you. Venture capital financing usually means one or more venture capital firms make large investments in your company in exchange for preferred stock of the company -- but, in addition to getting that preferred return like they would in series seed financing, venture capital investors also usually get governance rights, like a seat on the Board of Directors or approval rights on certain transactions.
VC financing typically occurs when a company can demonstrate a significant business opportunity to quickly grow the value of the company but requires significant capital to do so. Once you have a solid business plan and the tools and financing to execute your goals, you'll be on the path to launching your business. If you need some more inspiration, read about how to become an entrepreneur next. Originally published Aug 26, PM, updated September 05 Contact Us.
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Investors Investor Relations. Subscribe to Our Blog Stay up to date with the latest marketing, sales, and service tips and news. Thank You! Get HubSpot free. Sales 32 min read. Use the links below to navigate to each section of the guide. Download a business plan template. Consider some business plan examples. Determine your business' legal structure. Register your business' name. Review small business taxes. Market the business. Sell your products and services.
Keep your customers happy. Fund the business. What is a business plan? How to Make a Business Plan Narrow down what makes you different. Keep it short. You can and should change it as you go. How to Write a Business Plan Write an executive summary. Describe your company and business model. Analyze your market's conditions. Detail a financial plan with business costs, funding, and revenue projections. Summarize the above with an appendix. How to Register a Business Name Make sure the name you want is available in your state. This book shows how to build a portfolio, get your first clients, and attract new jobs.
You will learn about advertising, insurance, taxes, sales and marketing techniques, and pricing formulas. The companion CD-ROM is included with the print version of this book; however is not available for download with the electronic version. It may be obtained separately by contacting Atlantic Publishing Group at sales atlantic-pub. Founded over twenty years ago in the company president's garage, Atlantic Publishing has grown to become a renowned resource for non-fiction books. Today, over titles are in print covering subjects such as small business, healthy living, management, finance, careers, and real estate.
Atlantic Publishing prides itself on producing award winning, high-quality manuals that give readers up-to-date, pertinent information, real-world examples, and case studies with expert advice.
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Every book has resources, contact information, and web sites of the products or companies discussed. Product details Format Paperback pages Dimensions x x Other books in this series. Add to basket. Augustine, Florida. Diane is a Certified Interior Decorator and owns her own design firm. She is also a marketing specialist and has owned her own marketing firm, Marketing Edge, Inc. Diane is also an established author with a published marketing book, Marketing Multifamily Housing with Integrated Marketing Strategies, available at www.
Diane currently writes a monthly column on design trends for a regional magazine, as well as a monthly column on the business of design for a national magazine. Diane's background includes marketing, advertising, television, radio, agency work, event and wedding planning, writing, and interior decorating. Diane has hosted several local real estate design shows.
Johns River Community College. For more information about Diane's work, visit her Web site at www. Rating details. Book ratings by Goodreads. Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book.
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