by Rick Suttle, Demand Media
Most people need guidance when starting a new business. Some business owners contact other small business owners. Others read books or search online for guidance. Business startup advice allows people to avoid certain pitfalls or problems early on. Advice can be as simple as selecting the right location or choosing which products to sell. Most important, a business owner must have enough working capital to adequately operate her business.
One business startup tip is getting the right licenses for your business. Most companies that sell products or services will need a doing business as, or DBA, and vendor’s license, according to Business.gov. A new business owner can write her local county administration office for an application. Some businesses require additional licenses. For example, a local bar owner will need a liquor license. Day care center owners will need certain licenses for taking care of children.
Business owners need to study their competition before opening their businesses. Some companies conduct a SWOT–strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats–analysis to better understand key competitors. For example, a company can study each competitor’s strengths relative to its own strengths. Consequently, the company may be able to identify key advantages it has over competitors, including product quality or distribution channels. The company can then use these advantages to gain a competitive advantage over these competitors.
A new business owner must also develop a business plan for her business, according to the Small Business Administration. The business plan should include a three-year sales forecast, hiring plans, organizational structure, operating procedures, franchise agreements, if applicable, and leasing information. The business plan should serve as a blueprint for how the business owner runs her business.
One of the cornerstones of any new business is marketing and advertising. A business owner will need to select the most effective advertising plans for her business, including direct mail, magazine display ads, radio, television or billboard advertising. In addition, she will need to determine whether to hire outside or inside sales reps. Many company owners will start more locally then expand their sales on a more regional basis.
Business owners must also keep track of their customers’ needs. Companies that know what their customers want can develop products that best meet their needs. The best way to garner customer information is through marketing research surveys. The business owner must decide whether to use phone, Internet or mail surveys to collect this information. Questions can include product features that customers like, the price they will pay and their likelihood of making future purchases from the company.