How To Launch Your Startup
Looking to start a business? It’s our mission to help start as many ethical and successful businesses as possible.
Do you have:
an idea for a business?
That’s awesome! However, even if it’s a great idea, an often overlooked question is: are you the one who should start it? We recommend a book called The E-Myth Revisited, which can help you identify if operating a business is right for you, and in what ways, or if we can help find the person who can help operate it for you.
Another key step before anything else, is to validate and test the idea. Do you hear people asking for it already? (An indicator of demand). Can you get people to sign up for it as a pre-order? (A way better indicator of high demand). For example, we make sure to run through a basic smell-test with clients.
However, there’s a disclaimer: beyond the idea itself, things like market timing, the team, and the strategy are statistically even more influential to the outcome of the startup than the idea.
a general familiarity with business?
Everyone in the world has either been a customer, employee, or owner of a business. But that doesn’t mean stepping into the ownership role isn’t daunting or doesn’t feel out of reach. This is why we highly recommend books like The Personal MBA by Josh Kaufman, since it provides a simple, no-nonsense crash course on business fundamentals, while remaining easy to read for beginners. And without the years and cost of a college degree (which doesn’t always prepare you very well either).
It’s also a great resource for training managers and other professional positions as well.
a business plan?
Don’t worry if you don’t. We absolutely love the “Lean Canvas” system, it’s a free tool, and we use it almost daily with clients. You can do it using an online tool, print out this and write on it, or even a whiteboard. There are a lot of ways to utilize it to its full extent, but this piece gives some good pointers, as well as the LeanCanvas.com site has embedded videos that are very useful.
A bank or investor may require a more exhaustive plan, but this tool focuses strictly on the crucial 9 must-have areas the business must have to succeed. Which is perfect for starting out and ‘keeping the main thing, the main thing’ while juggling everything.
“Business Plan: a document investors make you write, that they don’t read”. -Steve Blank
a legal entity formed?
Typically LLC or S Corp for most businesses. This is a great opportunity to find a couple lawyers in the area who can advise you on your specific business needs and which is the best fit for you. You can also use a number of services to actually file the business documents for very cheap. Don’t be taken in by their promises or features, filing for a corporation or LLC online is usually a dime-a-dozen service.
About the only add-on in normal scenarios you should consider is some sort of “registered agent” service that provides a layer of privacy so your personal details are less public. But even this shouldn’t be a very expensive offering.
a bank account?
The point in all of this is to provide a service so valuable to others, that people are willing and happy to pay you for it, right? So where does that money go once they do? How do you pay for the goods and services you need to keep the business running? This should be (and legally needs to be) separate from your personal bank accounts.
This can often be the same bank organization you have your personal bank accounts through, so that you can stay at the same location for your personal and business needs. However, depending on the scale and needs of your business, you might benefit greatly from a specialized business bank, or a larger bank for some tech capabilities on their end.
an accounting system?
This includes an understanding of basic ‘managerial accounting’ (this is day-to-day accounting on Main Street, not something called ‘financial accounting’ which is more for Wall Street). A great introduction resource is Accounting Coach, they have a free course in very important accounting fundamentals. This is not an area to treat lightly. This kind of knowledge and skills will make or break a business, we’ve seen it time and time again!
But you’ll also need a solid software system that can keep track of your records and budgets etc. We strongly recommend Xero, but Quickbooks is ok as well.
When done properly, accounting can be an mostly effortless and extremely helpful addition to the business, instead of making you feel like you also have a full-time job as an accountant of your own business. This is an important area to get right, as these numbers on paper represent the live or die health of your business and income.
internal business infrastructure?
All the things above are technically an example of this last section, but you’ll need a lot more of it to operate smoothly and effectively. Systems like project management, order tracking, employee payroll, email providers, marketing analytics, and customer service etc. You’ll want to work with partners who can help install and support them. And ideally, partners who want and support your end goals while upholding and uplifting your core values.
friends in the startup business?
Still have questions? Maybe more after reading this than before? Don’t know where to start?
We love talking about all of this stuff! And we’d be delighted to connect and see how we can help you progress any way we can with the talents and opportunities you’ve been given providentially. You can see our calendar and book a time easily below: