What's Your WHY for starting a new business?
What inspired your new business aspirations? Working for someone else's dream can leave you burned out and maybe that's why you're embarking on this adventure. Maybe you have a passion for a craft that has blossomed and it's time turn it into your full time gig. Regardless, being in control of the operation and the money that comes along with it can be a blessing and a curse. The best thing you can do is to make sure that you're prepared for a bumpy ride. Here are a few tips!
Defining Your Business
Every successful business starts with a concept of a product or service and grows from there. Much like your 4th grade science project, it's important to have a hypothesis about what will work and then do the research to figure out if your hypothesis is right. Whether your new business is driven by passion or talent, you need to make sure that people will buy what you're selling. Here's where to start:
Business Plans + Validation
Document your approach in your business plan - Don't let the idea of the business plan overwhelm you. There are lots of business plan templates to help you get started, even one-pagers! Here's a helpful webinar from the folks over at SCORE (a superb small business resource). The plan can be altered as the business learns about its market over time. A business plan is merely a summary of what the business is, its financial condition and how it intends to earn revenue. It can be designed in multiple ways, while traditional versions use topics such as company structure, product or service description, target market, marketing strategies, funding and projections.
Validate your idea and plan with a seasoned business owner - It can be VERY easy to be pie in the sky about your business. If it's more about your heart than the money you're making, it's extra important you make sure that your passion project gone business doesn't turn into a money pit. Work with someone who is old hat, has some scars and has seen some serious business failures to ensure you're not being naïve.
Ignore some stuff your seasoned business owner has to say - Being annoyingly optimistic about the success of your business is one of the key things to ensure you succeed as a business owner. You have to be true to your vision, listen to your instincts, and make decisions that are right for you. Take what works for you from mentors and well wishers and chuck the rest in the dumpster.
Make Your Business Official
Choose a business structure and register with your business - Learn a little bit about the business structures available to you. You'll need specific paperwork to align with the structure you choose. You'll also need a state business license, a Bremerton business license and a maybe a Federal EIN (see this checklist to figure out if you need one). Also, we don't recommend that you have your public business address (almost all addresses are public when you file for a business license). Check out our mailbox service to keep you and your family safer.
Before you get the word our about your products and services, we highly recommend doing a little research about your customers so you know where you should be based on their interests and habits. Typically, you'll see these called personas or avatars. Maureen Jann, our resident marketing expert at Spark Commons, has something to say about this:
Your customer is the heart of your business. Get to know them well and you'll have everything you need to know how to market to them.
Once you know your customers, it's time to build the foundation of your marketing approach. Here's a handy checklist:
What Else Do You Need To Do To Start a Business in Bremerton
Although we also recommend you get a great office to work out of (we're biased, of course), this list can get you started on the right foot. We'll be following this article with great networking opportunities in Kitsap to help you meet the right people and ensure your business will thrive! Stay tuned.
Want your very own business community?
Spark Commons is a community of business minded individuals that share opportunities and make referrals for service providers. If this sounds interesting to you, you should come and check it out!