More and more people these days are looking to start small businesses these days, despite the inherent risk in striking out on your own. Why is that? There are many reasons why you might want to start a small business in Sugar Land: Maybe you have a great business idea, and your market research indicates that you have a great chance of success. Maybe you have an existing online business that you want to expand into a brick and mortar operation that involves a retail location or office space.
Whatever your situation may be, when you become your own business owner, you’re the one calling the shots. There is no limit on how high your revenue can go. But to run your small business successfully, you have to be ready for many other expenses and know the regulations that could impact you.
To build a small business in the Sugar Land, TX area, here are some of the most important steps you should follow:
You probably already have a good idea ready for starting a business — something that you believe in. In order to succeed, though, you have to know whether or not what you’re selling is going to resonate with your target market. It’s a good idea to pay attention to how other companies in your industry use social media and see what their online presence looks like.
Things to think about include whether you intend to cater primarily to locals, or plan on selling nationally or even internationally. No matter what your target audience may be, do product and market research by looking at business voids in your own local community and getting in touch with your local chamber of commerce.
Or you can explore online to see if an internet-based business would work, and to see the competition you’re up against. Looking at the competition (or lack thereof) can help you develop market strategies to help your small business succeed.
You might think of this as a purely academic exercise for aspiring small business owners — something that makes you put in writing how you plan to build and run your business. But writing a business plan is really something that everyone starting up a small business should do.
An actual business plan is a bit like a blueprint for building a home. It can take you from incubating your idea to opening up shop. What will a business plan look like? There are different software products, templates and online services you can use to draft one, but generally every business plan needs to include the following information:
Your business plan can change with your circumstances. For instance, after your business has grown a bit and you decide to expand in a certain direction, or you realize there’s a better way to run it, you can make tweaks to your business plan. But you should still organize it with enough material to make sure you have a good sense of where you are going with your new startup.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) website is a great place to find information about all aspects of starting a business, from deciding what type of business entity your new company should be to learning about everything from SBA loans to international trade and how to become a government contractor. Local SBA offices can usually match small business owners with established entrepreneurs for free mentoring and counseling.
The City of Sugar Land Economic Development website also has a handy checklist for starting a business that includes information specific to Texas business owners.
Depending on what size of business you’re running and what kind of income you’re generating with it, you may need to open a business checking account. This is an important step in getting financing for your business, since not only banks but consumer finance organizations usually prefer that you have a business checking account. It shows that you are serious about being a small business owner.
A business checking account (and perhaps a credit card for your business) is also important for keeping you out of confusing tax situations or having your personal assets too closely intertwined with those of the business — even if you’re operating as a sole proprietor. This is especially important when claiming certain purchases and and organizing accounts receivable or accounts payable data.
Be aware that the paperwork for applying for a business bank account can be a little different than applying for a personal bank account, and you may have to make a larger deposit to start. Sometimes it’s helpful to discuss with a banker the various types of business banking products they order so you can decide which is right for your situation.
Not every type of small business startup will need insurance, but some circumstances necessitate it. For instance, if you are dealing with customers on your home property and interacting frequently with them, you probably will want business property insurance. Also, if you’re using certain assets for business purposes or using your house or apartment to conduct business, those activities may not be covered by homeowner’s insurance.
Make sure any inventory, processing equipment or other assets you’re carrying are insured for business use, and you also want to make sure you aren’t held liable for any injuries to customers. If you own or rent an actual commercial property and hire employees, you’ll need additional insurance protection.
Once you’ve taken care of most of your early planning, business insurance and legal compliance issues, you can start looking into financing for your business. This doesn’t necessarily just have to be through loans, although the SBA does have loan programs available for startups. For business owners with limited funding options, there are alternatives such as merchant cash advances, financing your accounts receivable, and other asset-based financing.
Contact us to see which financing options can best meet your small business needs.