Do your research before you start a business
Before you start a business, you need to know some important information. What are the legal issues surrounding your business? And is there even a market for it? Plus, what is the competition like? All these questions must be answered before you start a business.
Starting a business is often subject to some regulation. Most countries in the world make it relatively easy to start a business. But there may be some things you need to do before you start. Each country has slightly different rules, so please check with your country before starting.
The legal side
1. Government regulations
The first place to look is on your government’s small business website, or at your government’s small business center, for any rules or tips about starting a business.
In Canada, it’s Canada One http://www.canadaone.com/. If you’re in the US, check out https://www.sba.gov/. In the UK, try https://www.gov.uk/set-up-business and in Australia, it’s https://www.business.gov.au/.
2. Register and structure your business
The second thing you need to pay attention to before you start a business is your business structure, and whether or not you need to register with your government.
Most places don’t require any kind of registration as a sole proprietor or sole trader, until you reach a certain level of income or sales revenue. However, if you need to register, or want to anyway, then you may have to pay a small fee.
3. Tax reporting ID
Third, you’ll need to investigate to see if you need a tax reporting number right away, or if you can wait on that. For most areas, it’s encouraged to get a tax reporting number immediately, but not required. This is usually free, and is typically easily applied for online.
Location, regulation and bylaws
Once you’ve set up your business legally, you’ll need to check with your local administration. Cities and municipalities often have regulations about where and how business can be done in their boundaries.
Zoning bylaws may limit how much or what kind of services you can offer in your home. And if you are creating products, there may be health and safety requirements you need to follow.
You need know all of that before you start a business.
Where to look
City small business centers, usually located in your local city hall, are great resources for information. They often offer seminars, workshops and networking meetings that are incredibly useful to the new business owner. They can also connect you to mentors to help you before you start your business. And sometimes, they will offer special events where you can talk to professionals, such as accountants, lawyers, or financial planners, free!
Another benefit of talking to your small business center is that you get access to grants, competitions and the ability to compete for contracts open to new businesses only.
Especially for women, there are many programs that offer promotion, mentorship and money to new businesses who meet certain criteria. There could be hundreds of thousands of dollars available through your local small business center.
Now that you know what you need to do to get started legally, it’s time to find out if your business idea is a good idea.
Check out the competition.
Before you start a business, one of the best ways to check out your idea is to look for your competition. You’ll want to find and investigate your competition for a couple of reasons: feasibility and profitability.
Some people think that if there’s no competition in your particular idea’s niche, that’s a good thing. After all, that means the market’s wide open for you, doesn’t it?
No competition could mean that there isn’t a market at all. If there’s no competitors for your business idea, you may want to go back and evaluate your idea again. Because it may have been tried and abandoned.
Or there may not be a need for it – or at least not enough of a need that people are willing to pay to have it filled.
Don’t be discouraged if you do find competition for your business idea. Instead, look closely at the competition. What exactly is their product, and how do they deliver it? What are the price points they offer products and services at? Knowing this information helps when you start planning your own business.
You don’t have to be the cheapest out there! Your business can offer products or services with so much value that you can justify a higher price point.
Maybe you offer personalized service. Or maybe your product comes with some free upgrades – for example, if you offer hand crafted art work, you offer professional framing or free shipping.
Before you start, research
Starting a business begins with a great idea. But that’s not enough. You also need to know about the legal side, the regulations and requirements your government has. And you need to know about a market for your business, by checking out the competition. Getting the right information will help you create a plan for your business, so you have the best possible chance of success! So before you start a business, do your research.
Create your plan today!
Start your business right. Use this handy little checklist to write out your business plan. It's easier than you think!