Questions to Ask
Am I a self-starter? Do I have the discipline to maintain a schedule? Do I want to earn more money? Will this business earn more money from the beginning or do I need to be prepared to initially work for less? Do I want to be more creative? Do I have the necessary skills to be successful in this business? Am I looking for more flexibility in my work and family schedule? Will this business allow meto work the schedule I desire? Am I ready for different challenges and adventures? Am I prepared to respond quickly to theneeds of my business? Have I discussed this proposed business with my family?
Do I have the money needed for business start up and initial operating expenses until I startearning a profit?
Decide upon the legal structure of your business Choose a business name and register your business with the appropriate state and/or federal agencies. Property If your business will be selling, renting or leasing tangible personal property, you must obtain the proper state sales tax license from the Department of Revenue and determine if a separate local sales tax license is required. A sales tax license is also required, if you rent accommodations for less than 30 days. Taxes Be aware of the personal and business tax implications of starting your own business. Self-employment tax will double an individual's contribution to social security and Medicare taxes. Property tax is collected on all personal property owned by a business. License Check if there are any special licenses required for the business you are starting. Location Find the best location for your business. You can get information on traffic patterns on state highways. Some local governments have information on city and county roads. They may also have information on local population demographics. Observe pedestrian movement during business hours to estimate walk-in potential. Regulations Check with the local city and county government regarding any special business regulations, sales taxes, personal property taxes and zoning restrictions affecting your business. Seek management advice and counseling Assemble your team of professional advisors. Find an accountant. Find an lawyer. Find an insurance broker. Find a real estate agent. Financial plan Develop a financial plan and include profit and loss projections, cash flow analysis and capital requirements. What type of financing will your business need? What financing options are realistic for your situation? Identify your liability risks Obtain adequate insurance coverage. Protect your business activities far enough in advance to cover your growth.
Intellectual ;property Protect your "intellectual property rights," i.e. your ideas, products, symbols and logos, through the proper registration and maintenance.
Prepare a business plan
Write your business plan. Who will buy the product or service? What are the strengths and weaknesses of the business? Why is this good business idea? What is the opportunity in the market place? Why is the opportunity present now? What difficulties do you consider might arise? What might cause them? How will you deal with them? What will be their effect on the business? Three-year budget and cash low forecast (Often very difficult at the outset, but banks like to see a medium term plan.); Capital requirement and funding proposal. How much? Where from? How long? What cost? How will you repay? Who will be shareholders? Are the minority shareholders happy with proposals? Have you a proper shareholders agreement to record exactly what you have agreed? Who will be directors? Are directors aware of their responsibilities as directors? If not employees, what will they be paid? What will you are paid? What other staff will be needed? At first? Later?
What space will be needed? What will it cost? What other terms?
Prepare a marketing plan
Three-year plan required, to support the business plan. Analyse sales by customers / sources of sales. Analyse sales by product or service. Remember extra staff when needed. Remember VAT It is easiest to work net of VAT in all figures, so remember to reduce consumer sale prices to reflect this.
Look realistically at marketing costs - do your homework and be accurate.