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Here Are the 9 Steps to Starting Your Own Business After College

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If the regular 9-to-5 workday is your worst nightmare, there is a way to avoid it. Many students prefer starting their own business instead of living in fear of being fired or going to the job they hate to earn money. Starting your career as an entrepreneur is not as hard as it may seem. I prepared nine steps that will guide every college student through this challenging but rewarding process.

Step 1: Get an Idea 

You need to know exactly what to start when you want to start a business. An entrepreneur must have an idea. If you can’t even come up with an idea, what kind of business are we talking about? You don’t have to be innovative and come up with something unimaginable. You can take a concept that is already working, analyze it, find some drawbacks in it, or just improve it as you see it, and it will turn into a new business. It is easier to enter the developed market than to form it yourself. And the idea should not be global; you can start a micro-business or business with minimal investment.

Step 2: Analyze the Market

After coming up with a business idea, you need to analyze the market, find out if people even need your product or service. Evaluate the competition, identify the advantages and disadvantages of your competitors, and find out what makes you different from them. Compare prices, quality of service, assortment (if it’s a product business), and look for the best you can do. This is a must. Once you have evaluated the demand and supply, and you have realized that you can compete with existing companies, you can move on.

Step 3: Outlining and Planning 

You can compile a business plan for yourself and describe all the expenses, promotion options, everything you need for a start, determine the prices for your goods and services, a break-even point, planned income, etc. You are writing it for yourself, not for a bank or investor, so use the form that is more convenient for you to work with in the future. You make this to keep less information in your head. This way, you won’t forget to do anything, and you can later check the completed tasks and goals.

The plan also prescribes all the costs that you will bear in the first place and try to stick to them. I would highly recommend you to exaggerate with these figures. Most importantly, do not look for ready-made business plans. They mention the mean values, which, in fact, is very different from reality.

Step 4: Investment

You have to invest in any type of business. You can start a business without any money, but it is a rare situation, and you have to wait a long time for the results. In the previous step in business planning, you had to calculate how much money you would need in the initial stages of your business. Take the amount and add at least 20% more to it. This is just in case. It is better when there is little money left than not enough, and you have to look for it in an emergency mode.

Step 5: Validate Your Idea

The first thing you need is a quick test. Develop a minimum viable product or a service, launch a small advertising campaign, and try to sell it. This will help you to study the demand in practice. You need to look at your plan, highlight the minimum things you need in order to start right away. Delay of the launch is one of the mistakes the beginner entrepreneurs make as they are continually trying to improve something. You don’t need to perfect it. You need to start as soon as possible to test the idea in action, to get the first sales and continue to develop with enthusiasm.

If the start does not give the first sales, it is necessary to revise the plan, the idea, and look for mistakes. This validation will also help you to spend less time, effort, and money in case of a failure. It would be more annoying to have been preparing everything for a year and then fail. It’s less frustrating to understand your mistakes right away while you still have not done much. Thus, you can make adjustments as you go along, and everything will start to work out!

Step 6: Make It Legal

You must not miss this step as every business should be legal and registered. This will save you a lot of trouble in the future. This is especially important if you’re planning on taking out loans or seeking investors – says Joe Sturgess, Head of Marketing at LegalDrop.

Step 7: Business Development 

Once you have validated your idea, the plan has been adjusted, and sales have begun smoothly, you can develop your business and refine to perfection everything you wrote in the plan. Now you can improve the website, increase warehouses or offices, expand staff, etc. When your idea and business model has shown its efficiency, it is easier for you to set more global goals.

Besides, you have already received money from the first orders or sales and can reinvest it in the development. If there is not enough cash, then you can take loans and credits, because business brings money. If you don’t need much money, you can even use a credit card.

Step 8: Active Marketing

Once you have already felt the firm ground under your feet, improved your website, hired more employees, expanded your facilities, etc., you need to provide all of this with work. For this, you need aggressive advertising to the maximum. You need to use a lot of marketing opportunities. Look for customers on the Internet, do offline advertising, direct sales, etc.. The more advertising tools you use, the better the result. But be sure to capture the results and filter out ineffective advertising tools so as not to drain budgets to nothing.

Step 9: Scaling

Your business works well, brings money, you are constantly developing, everything is great! But there are also related directions or neighbouring cities. If your business model has successfully fired in your town, you can make offices in others.

As you can see, all you need to become an entrepreneur is an interesting validated business idea and plan. Any concept can turn into a successful business as long as it helps the customers solve their problems or cover their needs. Your age has nothing to do with the desire to change the world and help other people with new solutions.

Alex started his career as a writer at Essay Bulls when he was still going to college. As he was mostly writing about business and marketing, he began devoting more time to building his own copywriting company. He knows all the hidden rocks of becoming an entrepreneur and shares his experience with others in his guest posts. 

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Entrepreneurs

How Entrepreneurs Are Harnessing LLCs to Launch Successful Startups

LLCs have unique advantages for starting up and growing a successful business

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why you should set up an LLC

In my entrepreneurial journey, I’ve learned that LLCs have unique advantages for starting up and growing a successful business. But, before delving into the advantages, it’s essential to grasp the fundamentals of what an LLC is and how it operates. 

What is an LLC?

An LLC is a hybrid business entity that combines the liability protection of a corporation with the pass-through taxation of a partnership or sole proprietorship. This unique blend provides entrepreneurs with the best of both worlds: personal asset protection and simplified taxation.

One of the most significant advantages of an LLC is its limited liability feature. This means that as the owner, my personal assets are shielded from any liabilities or debts incurred by the business.

In the event of lawsuits or financial obligations, only the assets of the LLC are at risk, offering me peace of mind and protecting my personal wealth.

Advantages of Forming an LLC

Flexibility in Management and Structure

Another aspect of the LLC that appealed to me was its flexibility in management and structure. Unlike corporations, which have rigid hierarchies and formalities, LLCs allow for a more relaxed approach to governance. As the founder, I have the freedom to structure the company in a way that suits the needs and goals of my startup.

For instance, LLCs can choose to be managed by their members (owners) or appoint a manager to oversee operations. This flexibility enables me to maintain full control of the business or delegate management responsibilities to trusted individuals while retaining ownership.

Additionally, LLCs are not bound by strict meeting requirements or extensive record-keeping obligations, reducing administrative burdens and allowing me to focus on building and growing the business.

Pass-Through Taxation and Financial Efficiency

One of the most attractive features of an LLC, particularly for startups, is its pass-through taxation. Unlike corporations, which are subject to double taxation (taxation at both the corporate and individual levels), LLCs pass profits and losses directly to their members’ personal tax returns.

This tax efficiency not only simplifies the filing process but also allows for greater flexibility in managing cash flow and reinvesting profits back into the business. As an entrepreneur, minimizing tax liabilities and maximizing financial efficiency are critical components of long-term success, and the pass-through taxation feature of an LLC aligns perfectly with these objectives.

Enhanced Credibility and Professionalism

Establishing an LLC can also enhance the credibility and professionalism of a startup. Unlike sole proprietorships or general partnerships, which may be perceived as informal or less legitimate, an LLC provides a formal business structure that instills confidence in customers, investors, and partners.

By operating under the umbrella of an LLC, I can present my startup as a reputable and established entity, which can open doors to opportunities such as securing financing, attracting top talent, and forging strategic partnerships.

This enhanced credibility can be a significant advantage, particularly in competitive industries or when seeking to differentiate my startup in the market.

Protection of Intellectual Property and Brand Assets

For startups built around innovative ideas or unique intellectual property, protecting these assets is paramount. An LLC offers an additional layer of protection for intellectual property and brand assets, safeguarding them from infringement or unauthorized use.

By registering trademarks, copyrights, or patents under the name of the LLC, I can establish legal ownership and enforce my rights more effectively in the event of disputes or infringement claims. This protection not only preserves the value of my intellectual property but also enhances the overall stability and longevity of the startup.

Steps to Form an LLC

Let us now look at the general steps to form an LLC for your business:

Step 1: Choose a Name for Your LLC

Selecting a unique and distinguishable name is the first step in forming an LLC. Ensure that the name you choose complies with the rules set by your state’s LLC division. Typically, the name must end with “Limited Liability Company,” “LLC,” or an abbreviation of these terms.

Additionally, the name should not infringe on the trademarks of existing businesses.

Step 2: Designate a Registered Agent

A registered agent is an individual or entity appointed to receive legal documents, such as lawsuits or subpoenas, on behalf of the LLC. The registered agent must have a physical address within the state where the LLC is formed.

For instance, if you are forming an LLC in Texas, ensure that your registered agent has a physical address in Texas.

This role is crucial for ensuring that the LLC remains compliant with legal requirements and maintains good standing.

Step 3: File Articles of Organization

The Articles of Organization, also known as a Certificate of Formation or Certificate of Organization in some states, is a document that formally establishes the LLC. You’ll need to submit this document to the appropriate state agency, usually the Secretary of State or Division of Corporations.

The articles typically include basic information such as the LLC’s name, address, registered agent details, and the purpose of the business.

Step 4: Create an Operating Agreement

While not always a legal requirement, drafting an operating agreement is highly recommended for LLCs. This document outlines the ownership structure, management roles, voting rights, profit-sharing arrangements, and other important aspects of the LLC’s operations.

Even if you’re the sole owner of the LLC, having an operating agreement in place can help clarify expectations and prevent disputes in the future.

Step 5: Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)

An Employer Identification Number (EIN), also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number, is a unique nine-digit number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to identify your LLC for tax purposes.

Even if your LLC doesn’t have employees, obtaining an EIN is necessary for opening a business bank account, filing taxes, and conducting other financial transactions.

Step 6: Obtain Necessary Permits and Licenses

Depending on the nature of your business and its location, you may need to obtain various permits, licenses, or certifications to operate legally. These requirements can vary widely from one industry and jurisdiction to another. Common examples include business licenses, zoning permits, health permits, and professional licenses.

In my entrepreneurial journey, the decision to establish my startups as LLCs has been instrumental in mitigating risks, optimizing financial performance, and positioning my ventures for long-term success.

By harnessing the advantages of the LLC structure, I’ve been able to navigate the complexities of entrepreneurship with confidence and resilience, laying the groundwork for a bright and prosperous future.

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Entrepreneurs

Build a Strong IT Team with These Smart Hiring Tips

Without dedicated IT staff, your company may not be able to function as efficiently or effectively

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Hiring tips for tech industry

The role of IT staff in your company is not only essential but also ever-evolving. As your business grows, so does the need for qualified IT staff and more robust recruiting solutions.

After all, from maintaining and troubleshooting the computer systems that keep your business running smoothly, IT staff also help employees stay connected and productive by providing technical support at all times. (more…)

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Entrepreneurs

5 Important Legal Tips Every Entrepreneur Should Know

With a firm commitment to legal knowledge, you pave the way to grow your business sustainably

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legal tips for entrepreneurs

Embarking on the entrepreneurial path is a courageous venture that calls for a diverse skill set to achieve enduring success.

While creativity, drive, and strategic vision are paramount, integrating legal insight into your entrepreneurial toolkit can be a game-changer.

This comprehensive guide delves deeper into the five critical steps that can empower you to navigate the intricate legal landscape and propel your venture toward prosperity. (more…)

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Entrepreneurs

6 Hacks to Boost Your Productivity as a Business Owner

To improve how much you get done each day, it’s smart to establish routines and use careful planning

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productivity for business owners

Entrepreneurs are always looking for ways to get more done with the time and resources they have. Business owners can use clever productivity tricks to break these limits and make the most of their projects. (more…)

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