2021 is coming to a close and next year is your year! Do you have a business idea that you just haven’t followed through with yet? 3 Steps to Startup can help you turn your plans into action, and there’s no better time than right now to make it happen. Our Master Class Series is a good place to start if you’re exploring a business idea. Otherwise, here are four things you need to do to ensure your business idea can become a reality in 2022.
Formulate a Business Plan
Your startup needs a business plan. What exactly does that entail, however? At 3 Steps to Startup, we help West Virginia entrepreneurs answer that question and encourage you to reach out for help.
A business plan should start with an Executive Summary giving a snapshot of what you seek as an entrepreneur. You’ll describe the concept, including a description of your product or service and the problem it solves. You will highlight financials – income and requirements and discuss the current stage of the business. Finally, the executive summary should address any achievements affecting the possible success of the company – like intellectual property, perhaps.
The Executive Summary should be followed by a detailed business description and a thorough accounting of business structure, personnel, and financials. You should also include a full analysis of the intended market and competition, along with a marketing strategy to reach potential customers. Further, detailed financials are a must. You’ll need to know and indicate costs, margins, and revenue projections. Your business plan also needs an exit strategy. Do you plan on selling the company in the future? How do you plan to repay investors? Your business plan is integral to the remaining steps below. It will determine your business’s success in the short and long term, so you must have a good plan.
Build your team
Throughout the entire process of forming your business, you’ll be assembling the right team of individuals dedicated to the success of your business. This team includes anyone from mentors and investors to employees and strategic partners.
Employees should have confidence in your vision and work with you toward a common goal. A team of employees should complement each other and you – they should be competent to handle tasks you either don’t have the knowledge or the time to handle.
Investors should be considered more than just a source of funding. Many times they are seasoned entrepreneurs themselves and should be consulted for expertise and networking.
Mentors are also a wealth of knowledge and can help solve problems they encountered in their own experience. You can also find advisors (paid) to leverage their social capital for both funding sources and customers.
Other team members may be suppliers or service providers. It’s important to select third parties carefully: based on quality – not just pricing. Strategic partnerships like making arrangements for mutual referrals or collaborating with another entrepreneur occasionally can also be a part of your plan for a team.
Having the right support for your startup is critical to its success, so start planning your team now!
Secure your Funding
Successfully securing funding to launch your business is all about building credibility. Seasoned entrepreneur and investor Eric Dobson listed his three rules for credibility at 3 Steps to Startup’s March 2021 Venture Fair:
Rule #1: “If you can’t plan a business, you can’t run a business.”
Rule #2: “People invest in people in markets they like and understand.”
Rule #3: “If you can’t sell me shares of your company, you can’t sell products/services to customers.”
The Pitch is a critical step in seeking capital investment, and an entrepreneur must deliver an effective pitch to attract funding. 3 Steps to Startup has the tools you need to craft a pitch that suits your business plan. Check our website for 3 Steps events in 2022 that might interest you, or see the videos from our November 2021 Venture Fair for pitching tips and investor feedback for actual West Virginia business pitches.
Investors and entrepreneurs agree that any business pitch needs to tell the story of your business with enthusiasm and credibility. Certain factors can influence how you pitch your idea, however. Research potential investors – think searching for them on LinkedIn to gather as much information as possible! Use this information to connect with an investor in a pitch, but also use this information to decide who you won’t be pursuing. After all, you don’t need to pitch a highly specialized idea to an investor who has never shown interest in anything compatible.
Know your legal requirements
Entrepreneurship calls for certain licensures and other “red tape”. You will want to make sure you are prepared to complete everything necessary for your business to launch. West Virginia’s One Stop Business Portal lists the requirements and links to forms and guidance. The eight steps listed are:
Step 1 – Business Structure and Name Availability
Step 2 – Federal Tax Registration
Step 3 – Register Your Business
Step 4 – Occupational, Professional, and Special Licenses and Permits
Step 5 – Insurance Requirements
Step 6 – Finding and Training Employees (if applicable)
Step 7 – Employer Responsibilities
Step 8 – Identify Regulations for Your Business
Getting your business up and running in the new year can seem daunting, especially after reading this list. There is an abundance of information available, and it can be overwhelming, but 3 Steps to Startup can help you on your entrepreneurship journey every step of the way. Reach out to us for help getting serious about your ideas in 2022.
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