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It’s 2019, and one of the best ways to make money is still to build your own business. Be your own boss, set your own limits and venture into the world of entrepreneurship! Here’s a basic guide to growing your empire.

1 Choose a Topic and Idea

This might sound obvious, but it’s important you have a clear vision of your company. Is it an energy company focused on plant-based fuels? Will it be a freelance software firm targeting video game companies? If you’re having trouble coming up with ideas, think about what fields you are passionate about and have experience in. Then, find existing problems in that field and try to solve them – boom! You have a business idea!

2 Research the Market

Most businesses solve a problem, offer an in-demand service or have a unique product. Do your research to understand who your clients might be, what the competition is like, and which of the three business models you should pursue. Also ask yourself if you’re willing to commit to this project; full-time entrepreneurship might consume all your time and energy, not to mention your savings.

3 Make a Plan 

A business plan will help make your idea clear to investors, employees and yourself. Especially if you’re looking for financial backing, a comprehensive business plan with market analysis, marketing strategy, etc. will be essential in convincing people to fund you. 

At the same time, develop a financial plan. Estimate company costs (rent, employees, marketing) using spreadsheets for the first 12 months: this is the initial investment you should secure. Once you have a number, there’s a lot of options for finding the money. Compare crowdfunding sources, bank loans, grants and doing fundraising events to see which options make sense.

4 Registration and Licensing

Talk to a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) to explore company structures. The type of business (sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability corporation) might impact everything from taxes to the company names and licenses available to you.

Your business needs a name; check if your ideas are trademarked and register your name if it isn’t taken. Also consider buying and registering a website domain, as your site will probably become the face of your business. Choose a domain address that’s simple and reflects your company.

If your company has a physical location, like a store or restaurant, start looking at the appropriate licensing and permits immediately. Building anything requires multiple permits, many of which take a long time to apply for. All companies can run into licensing issues, so find legal help and learn your local laws. If you are also wanting a new brand or website, you must start at this step and it can do wonders for your business in the long run!

5 Setting Up Shop

Now comes the nitty-gritty of actually opening the business. At this point, consider your accounting structure; it may be worth hiring an accountant to set up your company for long-term success. If not, you can learn to set up your own accounting system. 

All businesses need a location, even if you’re the only employee and all work is done online. At the very minimum, set up your own office that’s clean and presentable. If you have a physical location, look into buying and leasing options. Also begin to secure any necessary equipment.

Finally, start building your team! Begin your hiring process and decide what positions you need filled. Another option is outsourcing work to freelancers. In this case, contact an attorney to draft independent contractor agreements. Once everybody is in place, you need to start marketing your services/products. Write a USP (unique selling proposition) and develop a marketing plan to promote your company. 

When Do I Succeed?

If you’ve done all that, you’ve covered all the fundamentals of starting a business. But what makes or breaks a company can be in the smallest of details. Nothing guarantees success, but keep learning about your field and the market and eventually you can become an expert. Bill Gates didn’t become a billionaire overnight, so the best advice is not to give up.  

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