First Steps in Business Development for New Small Businesses and Startups?

My Motto – “You have to start somewhere to get somewhere” In other words, Business Development has a starting point, especially for new start-ups and small businesses just beginning their quest into the business arena. So let’s get started on discussing some of the first things new startups and small businesses should do when developing their business.

Company Formation

Company Formation plays an important role in your business success and development. Getting your company registered is the first step towards establishing your business, and one of the most important ones. One of the main components of business registration is naming your business. Write down a list of potential names that you would like to use to identify your business. Choosing a name that coincides with your product or services will help build the reputation of your business and promote your brand image. Check to see which names you have chosen are available and proceed with your state business registration to ensure that you are now a legal entity. Next, begin making the importation decision to incorporate or not to incorporate. There are four basic structures to operate under – sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC or a corporation. Research the advantages and disadvantages of each and choose which one is the best fit for your business.

Business Plans or Fact Sheets

Business Plans or Fact Sheets can help promote the success of any business, especially a new venture. It describes your purpose and details the elements that will make your business a success. If you are anticipating starting a business, you’ll want to have a business plan or fact sheet. Why? There are at least three reasons. First, it will help you clarify and focus on what your business is about, your strategy for execution and potential roadblocks. Second, it’s an essential communication tool. It provides a consistent explanation of what your business is about to your stakeholders. Third, almost all lenders and investors are likely to want to review your plan before they lend money or invest in your firm.

Website

Web presence and having a website has changed business today at an unprecedented rate. It has created new products and services and facilitates communication and control beyond our imagination. It has without a doubt changed the way businesses operate. So for a new startup or business to not have a website is without question poor business development. Web presence has fundamentally changed customers’ expectations about convenience, speed, comparability, price and service. It’s the dot com and dot org world we live in today to expand into new markets and make our products and services more readily available to a wider set of consumers.

Business cards

Business cards are still widely used today as a mechanism to reach your target market. Certainly at face to face meetings, Trade Shows and networking events a business card is still necessary. It helps people remember who you are and where they met you. In spite of all the electronic devices, a business card can communicate a great deal of information in a split second; it communicates your websites, email addresses and slogans. When someone asks, “What do you do?” you should be able to present them with a card that answers their question at a glance.

Small Business Loans and Bad Credit Result

Banks and lenders use credit histories and credit scores as a time saving measure. You request a loan, they pull your credit. If your credit is bad or below their threshold, they don’t waste anymore time on your deal request and can move on to other deals that have a better chance of getting funded.

I deal with entrepreneurs everyday that complain about how their bank or a private lender just won’t look at their deal because they have bad credit. I constantly hear the same thing:

“Why won’t they just look at the merits of my business and not focus so much on my personal credit as it is my business that will be paying the loan back!”

My answer is always the same:

1) That is how the financial markets work, and

2) If you want to get approved based solely on the merits of your business then find the right business loan that focuses only on the merits of your business.

Sounds simple and it really is.

Yes, there are business loans (and other types of business financing) that either do not look at your credit at all or if they do, do not place much weight on it (great for those credit scores that are borderline).

Let’s look at three examples:

1) Accounts Receivable (Invoice) Factoring: Your business writes an invoice for goods already shipped or delivered to your customer but you have to wait 10, 30, 60 days or more to get paid. Then, factor those invoices and get your cash today so that your business can pay its employees, suppliers or to complete that next job.

As your business has already completed the job and shipped the goods and is merely just waiting to get paid, the lender has no reason to even consider your credit history. Instead, they focus on the next cash event – which is your customer paying you. If your customer shows a strong promise to pay as agreed, then your loan request should be approved (without pulling your personal credit history).

2) Purchase Order Financing: Your business has already won over the customer and you have their job order in hand only to realize that your business does not have the cash on hand to purchase the materials and labor to complete that order.

Factor that job (purchase) order for up to 100% of the cash you need to complete it. When the job is done and you collect payment from your customer, you pay back the advance and keep the profits to be plowed back into the next deal.

Again, since your business has already demonstrated that it can win business, the focus of this loan approval is not based on your personal credit or the cash position of your company but in the next cash event – when your customer receives the completed order and pays you.

3) Business cash Advances: If your business accepts credit card payments from its customers, then your company could qualify for a business cash advance; based on your company’s ability to continue to get customers to purchase your goods and services.

Based on past results (your business’s past results and not your personal credit history), your firm could receive a cash advance to be used as working capital to re-stock inventory, pay employees, generate new business or whatever your business so desires.

And, since repayment of this advance (loan) is based on future cash flow from your credit card paying customers, these lenders are not that concerned with your personal credit scores but more concerned about your business’s ability to keep getting those paying customers in the door (which is what you wanted – a business loan based on your business results and future potential and not your past credit mistakes).

Now, while Business Cash Advance lenders place the onus of their loan/advance decision on your future cash flow potential, they may still pull your personal credit. The reason is that should your business shut down tomorrow, they want to be assured that you will still pay them back.

Practical Steps to Starting a Business Online

I’ve written this not to scare or deter you from chasing your dreams but rather in an attempt to make this leap as successful as possible by sharing what I’ve learned over the years and having gone through it personally.

1. Begin by considering what it is in life that you’ve always wanted to do.

Now if your forty years old and always wanted to be an astronaut that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m asking you to consider what you truly enjoy doing such as helping people or providing a unique service, physically building something just what you believe would make you happy and that you are passionate about. Don’t think about the money yet brainstorming ideas about starting a business begins with passion first we will be determining the commerciality of your choice later.

Preliminary Checklist of Your Readiness to Start a Business

I am willing to accept the risks and initial instability that comes with starting a business
I am able to rely on myself 100% I can make decisions that make or break my new business.
I work effectively on my own motivating myself without supervision. I do not rely on others.
I am goal oriented and will work at completing my goals everyday without exception.
I can visualise opportunities and have the confidence to go after them.
I can handle the stress and pressures that are inherently apart of starting a new business. Even when things do not go as planned I believe I can overcome any problem.
I posses the drive, determination and willingness to work long hours to make my business a success.

2. Determine The Business Ownership That’s Right For You

The Three Main Ownership Options when Starting a Business are:

Buy a Business that already exists.

Traditionally buying a business will be more expensive but does have its advantages. Start up can be the most gruelling part and establishing a customer base is no easy task. This may interest those who want to hit the ground running and have the budget to do so. Do your due diligence with any business you consider buying. Why does the current owner want to sell? What is the market conditions like for the business? Will there be new competition just around the corner that the current owner failed to disclose. Make it you priority to research everything before jumping in.

Franchise

Purchasing a franchise is a great way to lower the risk of business ownership but it has its pros & cons. A franchise is established providing a track record and the ability to review other stores profitability. You are buying a brand that already has customer awareness so there are fees for this. Start up fees and ongoing royalties are part of the deal when it comes to owning a franchise.

Start Your Own Business

This is for the true entrepreneur. Where you are the boss and your vision comes into reality. You will decide what’s right for the business how fast to grow it and what direction it will take. This is not always the cheapest option as is sometimes suggested. Sure there are thousands of cases where someone started with $500 and turned it into a thriving business but this is all dependent on the type business you decide to start what skills and resources you already have etc.

3. Zero in on the Business you want to start

Consider these three different options

Start a business in a high growth market or new up and coming trend,

This business plan takes a bit more guts but in many cases that’s where you get the glory. If you consider yourself good at spotting new trends this can be your ace in business. Setting up shop in front of an up and coming trend will help to position you as a leader and an authority within the space. This allows you to grow at an explosive rate if things really catch on. Choose it wrong though and you go down with the ship so do your research there may be a reason why other businesses are not in the space. Some say to focus on where the completion is already the reasoning behind it being that if others are making money there chances are you can to. Just be cautious and as always do you research thoroughly.

The Importance of a Business Plan

Your plan should be spelled out in clear and defining terms and be kept simple. It should be a written document and used as a tool in managing the business.

A plan should include but is not limited to the following:

1. A statement of your business purpose
2. A description of your company
3. The goals of your company
4. The structure of the company (sole-proprietorship, partnership or corporation)
5. The product or service that you are selling
6. A market analysis of your product or service
7. Resources spent (time and money)
8. A financial plan to include financial statements
9. Information about the managing principals in the company
10. How you plan to manage and operate the company

The Importance of a Business Plan
The success of a business starts with a business plan. The plan defines your business as to what it is and how you plan to achieve the goals of the business. It presents a clear picture of your business in terms of goals and objectives.

The plan reflects how you plan to operate your business. How you plan to market your product or services. It provides a financial picture of the company.

If you are looking for money to fund your business, you’re going to need a plan for your business. When you go to borrow money, lenders and investors are going to want to see written documentation in a business plan of your financial situation. Why do they want to see this information? Lenders and investors want to see this information because they are the ones taking the risk in lending your business money.

Once you have a plan in place, it’s important that you follow it. If you’re achieving your goals you should stick with the plan. If you are not achieving your goals then you will have go back, analyze your plan to find out what is working, what is not working and why it is not working.

A plan is not etched in stone. It is subject to change. As time goes on, things change in this world and businesses like everyone else are subject to change. A good plan will reflect changes that a company has to make to keep it competitive and successful.

the Benefits of Business Coaching

This may sound strange to some people, In simple terms, it is a working relationship between the coach and his client clearly guiding them, through process and procedures which helps to elicit from them answers to their queries. This is a business tactic created in order to guide a the business owner, encouraging him to perform a task, goal, objective in their business better than they would have done if working alone.

The business coach, can sometimes act as a mentor hatching his ideas, utilizing his experiences in business and explaining it to his protégée. The protégée applies the principles, while the business coach interacts. In business coaching, the coach facilitates the ideas and assists the protégée to apply the ideas to its best.

Coaching is usually done on a one-on one process. Like a tutor, the coach usually gives the idea while the learner has to do the talking and reasoning and implementation. The coach simply listens and guides and allows the protégée to apply the idea working towards a specific goal, checking along the way for improvement sometimes a total business over haul would be needed in the process to achieve maximum efficiency and results.

In business management, the support of a business coach is a must. In a world of strong-willed people, business coaching is a method which can actually give positive results compared to other applied business strategies.

The protégée learns the business process in a subtle way, giving him a feeling of importance and making him feel that it was himself who actually delivered the desired output. Making him equipped for his business journey, and boosting his self-confidence as an individual.

Effective business managers should seek the support of a business coach and can as well learn the technique in coaching to support their staff, rather than being an imposing business tycoon. Coaching tools and techniques has been proven as an effective tool in management.

When a business owner instead of yelling and shouting to his workers, learns to listen and allows a free and open conversation from his staff, studies reveal, that the results are far more better

In certain studies, it was found out that the work environment will be happier. Workers will be more confident and secure, they are also given the chance to interact and render their opinions openly.

Listening and open conversation is associated with business coaching strategies. Through this method, workers will actually learn how to sincerely love their work and not just to work for money.