Smart Tips for Starting a Small Business

Winston Churchill once said that “Success is not final; failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.”

This is the type of mindset that creates successful business founders and leaders. In business, failure and difficulties are part and parcel of the growth process. Treat every obstacle as a potential learning opportunity. The more you can chalk up to experience, the more objective knowledge you can gather about the market or industry you’re trying to break into – which brings us to our first tip.

Take Market Research Seriously

All your efforts to overcome the barriers to starting a business will be worthless without proper market research. Apart from actively trying to glean business lessons from your prior mistakes and difficulties, you should also gather as much objective market and industry information as possible.

Doing proper market research, according to The Balance, entails gathering and analyzing relevant information on your industry, competition, target market, product or service, and the operations and management required by your business model. Thanks to the web, these market research fundamentals are easier to come by than ever before.

It’s also important to focus your research on relevant information pipelines so it doesn’t impact your process. For instance, if your business model is focused on new or emerging technologies, you can hasten your research by looking at why states like Colorado and Massachusetts are becoming the new hot-beds for tech startups.

How are these states attracting these tech companies, and what are the leading startups doing and offering their respective markets? The bigger and more difficult the questions, the more relevant the answers will be to your startup’s growth potential.

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Form a Limited Liability Company

The next relevant factor to consider is your business structure. Your legal structure determines how you’re taxed by the government, your legal standing as an entrepreneur, and your specific options for how you want to run your company. For small businesses – even those that are owned by just one person – often the best choice is to form a limited liability company (LLC).

While it’s generally easy and affordable to form an LLC anywhere, the rules differ from state-to-state. For instance, creating an LLC in California involves the mandatory drafting of an operating agreement. While this document is optional in most states, it’s a legal requirement in California, and for good reason.

Your LLC’s operating agreement can be designed to structure business ownership in a way that’s ideal for your product or service. Furthermore, it can also be used to uphold the limited liability protection aspect of your LLC.

Legal liability protection means that as an LLC founder, your personal assets and properties are legally protected from being seized in the event that your business has to settle any debts or liabilities. Getting this type of legal protection is mainly why companies incorporate, and LLC formation affords the same type of protection – minus the costs of creating and running a corporation.

In fact, LLCs can even choose whether they’ll be taxed as corporations or through the members’ personal income. In short, the flexibility of this business structure can make it easier for new businesses to not just establish themselves, but also to pivot as necessary in the future.

Focus on Online Marketing

Every day, more people, companies, industries, and sectors are migrating online. Further driven by the global health crisis and shelter-at-home orders, more and more businesses are finding growth opportunities online.

In 2020, The Manifest notes how an estimated 88% of small businesses invested in social media marketing, while about 54% invested in email marketing. Furthermore, 56% have plans for using more website marketing as part of their overall efforts to reach target markets.

Digital online marketing is simply the fastest, cheapest, and most effective way for small businesses to find strong footholds in their respective industries.

Do the due diligence in terms of research, take advantage of the flexibility afforded by LLC formation, and learn to market yourself online. While these three tips aren’t the only things you need to succeed, they can pave the way to attaining your goals.

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