If you’re a budding entrepreneur, you may be concerned about the time investment of the pre-launch planning process. But with a little bit of organization and time management, you should be able to set aside a single eight-hour day to map out all of the fundamental elements of your company operations. Here are some resources to help.
9-10:30 a.m.: Select Business Ideas
If you're looking to get a business off the ground without significant funding in place, you need to have appropriate ideas that are easy to implement in a short period of time on a limited budget. Brainstorm ideas based on your skill sets. You might decide to monetize a hobby via a festival business or get started in the gig economy as a stepping stone to a full-fledged business. If you need to brainstorm, writing a business plan can help you narrow your focus.
10:30-11:30 a.m.: Choose Your Business Structure
It doesn't take too long to assess the best business structure for your company. You may be an independent contractor, a DBA (doing business as), a limited liability company (LLC) or you may want to incorporate. According to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, your corporate structure impacts the way you file taxes, among other things, so evaluate your different options before making a decision. For what it’s worth, an LLC in Kansas is a great structure for most new entrepreneurs, as it protects a business owner’s assets from being involved in company legal issues and there is minimal paperwork needed to get set up.
11:30-12 noon: Set Lifestyle and Financial Goals
Starting a business has financial considerations, of course, but it also has personal elements to think about. Are you looking for a better work/life balance, or are you keen to dig deep and invest every waking hour in your business to make it a success? According to Mental Health America, achievable goals are best. Sit down and decide what these goals look like in real life. This will help you decide how much you can do on your own and services you may need to hire out.
12-2 p.m.: Develop a Marketing Strategy
How are you going to reach your potential customers? You first need to understand the market demographics, which you should be able to do with a quick Google search around your products or services. Demographics determine the age of your market, where they live, and how they are most likely to go about searching for your products or services. Having a website and robust social media presence, as well as a recognizable brand, will help in these efforts. Draft marketing strategies to help you identify the best advertising venues for getting in front of your audience.
2-2:30 p.m.: Start a Business Bank Account
You'll need to establish a company banking account, preferably at a small business bank or credit union. This will help ensure you’re able to have financial traction both in terms of accounts payable and accounts receivable. Also, set up a credit card processing system and other e-commerce payment systems like PayPal, Zelle, or Venmo. You may be able to utilize bookkeeping apps to help manage your finances.
2:30-3:30 p.m.: Hire Staff
If you're starting out relatively small, you may not need to hire a large staff or anyone at all. Advertising, interviewing, screening, hiring, and training staff members can take a little bit longer than the course of a day, but you can easily hire freelancers to handle key functions in your business by utilizing an online job board. Pros to consider retaining include a writer, graphic artist, web designer, and social media manager.
3:30-5:00 p.m.: Set Up Your Office
If you're planning to utilize a storefront, connect with a commercial real estate agent. If not, seek out a maker space or business co-op and set up a viable home office to launch your business. You'll need basic computer equipment including a laptop or desktop computer, a printer, a good task chair and lighting, and an environment that's conducive to conducting business without being interrupted by other members of the household.
If you discover that you don’t have enough room to set up an office in your current place, you may want to find a bigger home. Start considering how much you can spend, what you’ll need in a new home, and where you’d like to live. You may not be able to find a place within eight hours, but you can at least get the ball rolling.
There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to launching a business, so it’s important that you do plenty of research and study up on everything involved in this life-changing time in your life. And while you might not be able to get the entire business up and running within an eight-hour day — in fact, you may want to take as long as you need to feel comfortable — you can make significant progress toward laying out the fundamental elements to get you up and running.
Membership in the Shawnee Chamber of Commerce provides networking opportunities and other valuable resources to local business owners. Join us today!