1. When You Should Start Your Own Business
2. Make it Legal
3. Starting the Planning Process
4. Types of Business Plans

When You Should Start Your Own Business

If you've ever wondered "how can I start my own business," then you might be surprised that turning your business dream into a reality isn't all that difficult. At their core, entrepreneurs are people who love what they do: providing goods and services to their customers. However, operating a business is a major endeavor, requiring both top-level organizational skills and a rock-solid work ethic. 

While your business may eventually grow to the point where you need to hire consultants, accountants, and attorneys, in the early stages you will likely be on your own. This means you will need to learn how to perform important business tasks like finding funding, delegating tasks to your employees, and building a vision for your company. As you might imagine, these tasks will be almost impossible if you're not an effective planner or organizer. 

Recent research indicates that more and more people are choosing nontraditional careers. Instead of seeking employment in a large company, people are now working as contractors, freelancers, and home business owners. Some estimates show that 40 percent of the American workforce will be non-contract employees by 2020. 

If you believe in your abilities and are tired of spending your days working for someone else, then starting your own business can be a great solution. All you need is an idea you believe in, a little capital, and the ability to tirelessly work towards your goals.

The first step that you will need to take to form your small business is registering your company. There are several different business formations that you can choose, all of which have their distinct strengths and weaknesses. Many aspiring small business owners decide to work with a lawyer to learn about the different registration options and to decide which solution is best. An attorney can also help you get any licenses and permits you may need to register your business

Before registering your business, you will need to learn the specific registration rules in your city, county, or state. You will also need to choose an insurance policy for your business and should consider hiring an accountant. 

Generally, the types of business structures you can choose include:

  • Sole Proprietorship
  • Partnership
  • Corporation
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC) 

Spending a little time learning about these different business formations is a good first step in starting your business. For example, while forming an LLC can be costly, it will keep your personal assets separate from your business. This means that if your business runs into legal trouble or accumulates debt that it cannot pay, your personal assets will be safe from seizure. Weigh the benefits and drawbacks of each business formation very carefully before you make your final decision.

Starting the Planning Process

When you're developing a plan for your business, there are several factors that you need to consider, including the marketing strategy that you will employ. A marketing strategy can make or break your business, particularly when it comes to acquiring the funding that you need to start your enterprise. 

An effective marketing plan will cover several topics. First, you need to hone your business pitch. You need to be able to clearly explain the vision of your business to your potential investors so that they can see the benefits of working with you. Second, you need to predict key business numbers. This includes startup and operating costs, as well as your expected profits and losses. Third, you should have an outline of both short and long-term goals that you hope to achieve. Finally, you need a way to keep track of the progress of your business. 

If you've never developed a marketing strategy before, there are nine elements that you should be sure your strategy includes:

  • A government abstract
  • An overview of your business
  • Plans for merchandise
  • A concrete goal for your marketing
  • A plan for advertising and gross sales
  • Metrics and milestones
  • A list of your administrative staff
  • A monetary plan
  • An appendix 

If you're having trouble planning your marketing strategy, there are a variety of free online resources. You could also get help from a small business attorney.

Types of Business Plans

If your main goal in writing a marketing strategy is to attract principle investors, then you could instead use a feasibility or startup plan. A startup plan can be modified as your company grows, providing you a great deal of flexibility. 

Your company may also need to use an operations plan, which outlines the workings of your company and the specific needs of your company members. 

If you need help with starting your own business, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.