Business

Things to Consider When Starting a Business

When Prepared Starting a Business Can Be Less Stressful Than You Imagine

Starting a business is a major decision that can appear very stressful. With the proper planning you can take actions with a sense of purpose and manage your expectations. As long as you hustle to do your best, and trust the process, you’ll be much more likely to succeed.


Begin by understanding the level of commitment such an endeavor will require of you in time and energy. If you put everything you have into the process and direct your focus on the right tasks, you’ll be on your way.


Columbus is a great place to start a new business large or small. This burgeoning metropolis offers high quality of life, a well educated workforce, and an affordable market. Before you decide to start a business in Columbus there are some important things to consider and steps to take.  


Experts agree it’s important to begin by

  • Doing the research
  • Handling the legal elements
  • Evaluating your personal and business finances
  • Educating yourself on the risks
  • And hiring the right help


Research

From competition to location there’s plenty of research to do to begin

You’ll want to research the industry of your chosen business to fully understand its landscape. Regardless of how unique you believe your idea, it’s important to do a thorough competitive analysis. To succeed you’ll need to offer something better than your competitors, or cheaper.


You’ll also want to identify your target demographic and your access to them with your chosen location. Whether you’ll be finding an office space in Columbus, or  choosing the best retail location, if your target demographic isn’t accessible to you, you’ll need to reconsider. There are other location metrics to consider, including nearby amenities, cost per square foot, accessibility to parking, and for retailers potential foot traffic. As long as you make your customers the priority in these decisions, you can hopefully make a profit.


Signing a contract

There are several legal steps to take and understand when starting a business.


Legal Elements

Choosing your legal structure and filing proper registrations

One of the first actionable steps is getting legal elements in order. You’ll need to decide on a legal structure, whether you’re an LLC or S-Corp, for example, will determine how your taxes work, paperwork you’ll need to do, whether you can have employees and what kinds of employees if so, and what liability you’ll face as an owner.


Next you’ll need to acquire the proper registrations from the government. This will vary on where you are located and the type of business you are starting.


You’ll have to develop articles of incorporation, obtain an EIN, and apply for the proper licenses.


Finances

Procuring capital is often a necessary step

Starting a business requires a significant investment, which often times you won’t have available to you yet. To get the money you need to get running you’ll likely need to procure capital investments.


The most obvious place to find capital is with family and friends, though that may prove taxing on relationships and may not bring in enough. In that case you’ll want to find angel investors or venture capitalists to invest in your business. If neither option is available or enough, you can look in to business loans through small business associations and banks.


Once the investment is secured, plan out your financial timeline. Be sure to plan for all of the various taxes and fees you’ll need to pay, and how you’ll manage a timely payroll to cover those payments on time.

Flow chart
You must calculate and plan for the potential risks of your new venture


Educate Yourself of the Risk

Calculate and plan for risk

Every new business venture involves some level of risk. You must seriously consider and calculate the risks starting your business requires, and plan for ways to overcome and potential step backs. Before moving forward with a business plan educate yourself on your industries risks.


You’ll need to fully understand these risks before purchasing insurance. Whether you’ll need professional liability insurance, general liability, or liquor liability insurance will be determined by the type of business you’re starting.


Beyond the inherent professional risks in starting a business, there are also significant personal risks involved. Once you've determined how your business could be affected by risk, consider how the new business will acquire funding once you're up and running.


Have the conversations with risk up front. You’ll need to educate yourself on your bank’s guidelines on risk, noting the riskier  business the more scrutiny a loan request will get.



Hiring

Hiring Help will set you up for success

No new business owner should go it alone, though it may be tempting. Making sure to hire the right help along the way will set you up for success.


While many think this includes staff or employees to help run the business there’s so much more. One often overlooked means of support is a business mentor or coach. Hiring an account can take one very complicated area of the business off of your plate to focus on everything else. They will be very insightful to make things work from a profit standpoint, as well as advise on all the levels of taxes.


Many assume you’ll only need legal counsel if you’re in some type of trouble. But having legal assistance from the start can ensure your protected and going about the process correctly. Proactive and preventative legal preparation can get you on the path to long term success. Waiting to call on legal help after you’re in trouble, is almost always too late, while getting their insight from the start can help keep you out of trouble before it begins.


There’s a lot of time, effort, and due diligence to put in when starting a business. If you’re prepared, organized, educated, and protected, you’ll start things off on the right foot and be much more likely to succeed!



Lani Redinger

Lani Redinger is a professional writer, editor, and bibliophile from Pittsburgh, PA