One of the most difficult, backbreaking times in building a business is early in the startup phase — the actual moments where you set up your new business from nothing to up and running.

Knowing which areas to prioritize and how to handle them properly can ensure your new business will be off to a strong start.

How to Set Up and Build Your Small Business – 7 Fundamentals

Below are the seven key aspects you have to focus on when setting up your business, and tips on how to effectively establish and manage them as you build your startup:

1.    Build a Business Plan

A business plan will act as your guide throughout the entire company setup process. It will also act as your road map as you navigate the path to success. As such, it is important that you have a well-thought-out business plan when setting up your company.

When building a business plan, make sure you define what your business is all about and how it can benefit others. It should also include your goals and priorities, your target market and how you will reach them, and your financial forecast.

2.    Market Research

Market research is an activity done prior to actually setting up shop, and continues later on when you’ve already established your foothold in the market.

Market research gives you the opportunity to find out how unique your planned product or service is. For all you know, what you believe to be an innovation may just be a replication of something that already exists. If it is something that is new and one-of-a-kind, it is worth establishing the reasons why.

Through market research, you can also identify and study your potential competition. And by using the same tool, you also get to know about your target market, and gain valuable insights about what’s out there and what’s missing.

In fact, you may be pleased to find out that your planned product or service may be the answer that fills that gap.

By conducting surveys by email, over the phone, or even in person, you get to know your prospective customers — their wants, aspirations and needs.

For your field survey or interview, make sure you create a questionnaire that will enable you to gather as much pertinent information as you can that will help you create a better product or improve your service and overall brand.

With carefully conducted market research, you will know with a certain degree of certainty what your market position is. This is very important when you set out to get people to invest in your new venture or expansion plans.

If you do not have the time to be hands-on, you can hire service providers to conduct market research for you. This is an option you have to seriously consider especially if you will be setting up your business overseas.

3.    Legalities

One of the first few things you have to do when starting a business is getting all of the legal aspects of setting up a company out of the way.

Some of the things you have to do are:

    Officially register your business name
●    Choose your business structure (LLC, corporation, partnership, etc.)
    Apply for all necessary licenses and permits
    Acquire your state tax and federal tax ID
    Apply for trademarks, copyrights, or patents

When you do all of these as soon as possible, you won’t have to worry about another person claiming your idea, being shut down for illegally operating, and other possible legal problems that will affect your plans and actual operations.

4.    Offshore Requirements

If you are opening a business overseas, make sure you understand your target market in the host country first. This is, again, where data gleaned through market research can help you out.

Study the different business structures and the whole process of setting up a business in your target country as well.

It is worthwhile getting help from a firm that specializes in setting up offshore companies. You will get assistance with market research, getting the necessary licenses and permits, and even with finding the best location for your business.

5.    Financials

Before officially setting up your business, make sure you have sufficient funds to support all activities. This would have already been considered earlier and already embodied in your business plan.

Just ensure you don’t go below budget as you are just starting out your venture, and must be able to sustain operations for a year or so, or until your business becomes profitable.

If you’ve done your financial due diligence, but still need additional funding, you need to start looking for alternative sources. Options include:

    Taking out a bank loan or microloan
    Venture capital funding
●    Crowdfunding
●    Angel Investors
    Borrowing from family and friends

Once you get your financials together and are all set to open a business bank account, it is essential that you select a bank known for supporting businesses. This way, in the future, you know you won’t have a hard time applying for loans, corporate credit cards, and accessing other business amenities and services you may need.

6.    Accounting

Monitoring and managing your small business finances properly is something that you should prioritize even if you are still in the business setup stage.

You can try doing the accounting work yourself if you are capable and if you have time. But you can also consider hiring a full-time or part-time accountant and/or bookkeeper. With their help, you can focus more on the other aspects of your startup.

It would also work to your advantage if you invest in the right accounting software for your business. This way, you can know for certain if you are making any profit, control expenditure, and manage cash flow in general.

7.    Marketing

Lastly, your business won’t hit the ground running if you don’t make your presence felt from the start.

Even if you don’t have a huge budget for marketing, there are many affordable and even free ways to promote your new business. These include:

    Social media marketing
    Content, video, and visual marketing
●    Networking
    Word-of-mouth or referrals
    Free trials or samples

There is nothing easy about starting a new business. But by being resourceful and knowing when and where to get help, you will certainly find success as an entrepreneur.

Our guest author Raj Herry is the Founder and Chairman of Flying Colour Business Setup Services. His extensive experience comes from more than 15 years in the field of company incorporation for Dubai Mainland, all Free Zones across the UAE, and offshore companies worldwide. He also owns several business centers offering furnished and ready-to-move offices in Dubai.

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Staff Writer