Getting Started – Creating a Business Plan

Owning a business allows you to set your own hours, determine your salary, work with customers and clients you choose to work with – all while building a successful enterprise that you can be proud of.

Start by creating a business plan that can help you keep track of all the small details that go into owning and running a business.

From choosing a business name to registering the business with local, state and federal agencies to determining the best ways to raise startup funds and setting realistic business milestones, a business plan includes all the steps you need to take when starting out.

In addition, you need to consider how you will find customers and clients, how much to charge for goods and services, etc. You will also need to create a budget for materials, equipment, labor, rent and utilities for commercial space.

Having a thorough understanding of what it will take to start your business will make the startup phase much easier. Also, if you’re applying for a loan or a small business grant, you will need to have this information readily available during the application process.

Marketing and Advertising Your Business

Building long-term relationships with customers and clients are the cornerstone of any successful business.

With so many ways to market and advertise a business (online, print ads and billboards, direct mail marketing, radio, television, podcasts, etc.), you would think this would be the easy part.

Unfortunately, without targeted marketing and advertising campaigns (where you reach specific customers/clients most interested in what your business does/sells), you’ll waste lots of money without very little to show for it.

Determine who your customers and clients are first, then figure out the best ways to reach them. If you have the resources, hire a marketing firm to do the work for you. As your business grows, you will probably utilize more than one marketing and advertising method.

Revisit your marketing and advertising plan yearly to make the necessary adjustments. You may need to increase your marketing and advertising budget, especially as your business grows; or as you start offering new goods and services.

Goods, Equipment and Materials

Depending on the type of business you own, the cost of sellable goods, equipment and materials may take up a large amount of your operating budget, especially when starting out.

Make a list of all the goods, equipment, materials and supplies needed. Include everything from company vehicles and tools to uniforms and safety equipment. Research the cost of purchasing new and used items to determine the best course of action to suit your budget.

This information will be necessary when applying for loans and small business grants, so make sure to do your research to provide the most up-to-date information about the cost of sellable goods, equipment and materials.

Hiring Employees

Hiring the right employees is essential to owning and running a business. Luckily, there are many ways to find the right people to fill specific roles within your company. Online job recruitment websites, local job fairs, college and university internship programs and references from friends, family and others can all provide excellent leads.

Your yearly budget should include the salaries for each position you want to fill. Research job positions to determine fair and competitive salary amounts. Consider employment incentives to offer (bonuses, health insurance, etc.), along with any local, state and federal requirements (overtime pay, paid leave, etc.) that could affect your budget.

In addition, you need to consider the insurance costs for each employee. Business insurance requirements vary from state to state, so be sure to review your state’s rules and regulations for specific businesses. Types of business insurance typically includes worker’s compensation, property insurance and vehicle insurance.


Now that you know more about what it takes to own a business, it’s important to remember that being your own boss can be very rewarding and satisfying. With a little hard work, you can start and maintain a thriving business that will hopefully provide personal satisfaction and financial freedom.

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