Many people want to start their own business, but have vague ideas of how to start one. Today, someone over at Yahoo Answers said that his family has great recipes handed down from several generations, and he wants to use these recipes and turn it into a business. But he does not know how and whether he could turn that into a successful business.
If you are in the same boat and unsure of how to start your business, here are my suggestions (using the YA example above):
1. Define your business first. What do you want to do with the recipes? Make a list of possible businesses you can develop from recipes and write the pros and cons of each. For example, restaurant is a possible option but restaurants require a lot of capital. Are you thinking of writing a recipe book; and if so what are the pros and cons of this idea? Do you want to publish your recipes on the Web and earn through advertising? Clarify your business model.
2. Check the feasibility of the business idea. Carefully review if there is a demand for your business idea. How big is the market? I have previously written about ways you can evaluate your business ideas
3. Once you’ve determined exactly what business to start, research about the business — how much will it take you to start the business, what do you need, who are doing it, who is your target market, how are you going to reach your market. This is your business plan. It is best to put it in writing, especially if you will be seeking loans or investors as they will require a business plan
4. Find out how much the business will cost and where you can get the money. If your resources are not enough, where will you get money? Can you get money elsewhere? If you really cannot raise the funds you need, are you willing to downscale the idea?
5. Decide if this is a business that can be done alone by you, or whether you will need a partner or you will hire employees. Aside from you, who else will be involved in the business?
6. Once you find out that you can really raise the capital you need and the personnel requirements, setup your business. Decide if you want to be a sole proprietor, partnership, LLC, S or C corporation.
7. Go to your local county to find out the steps for business registration, assumed name or DBA, and whether the business will require a license or not. Or check the Web for information on starting a business in your state, specifically from your state or local government websites. Then complete all legal and regulatory requirements.
8. Start the process of setting up the business. If this is a website, then start thinking of its contents, who will design the site, who will manage the site. If this is a restaurant, start looking for location. If this is a recipe book, start contacting agents and publishers or look into the option of self publishing.
9. Set up your office, whether at home or if you will lease an office space. Purchase the equipment you need.
10. Start developing your marketing materials such as business cards, brochures, flyers.