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5 Inevitable steps before launching a business

Launching a business often seems easier said than done. Our amazing and inspiring community of women entrepreneurs makes it seem effortless. Even when we hear how they struggled and the obstacles they had to overcome, it can still look like success came easy.

Or maybe that negative voice in your head, also known as imposter syndrome, is telling you that you don’t have what it takes to do what others have done. Maybe you feel that it’s easier for other entrepreneurs because they’re more skilled or more talented. But that’s far from the truth. We all are capable of success. If you want to learn the secrets to successfully launch your dream into a business, then read on as we share 5 key steps every aspiring entrepreneur needs to know.

“If you’ve been considering starting a business for some time, stop letting your fears and worries keep from making it a reality,” says Melinda Emerson, known to many as @SmallBizLady, on Small Business Trends.  She is a Veteran Entrepreneur, Small Business Coach and Social Media Strategist who hosts #Smallbizchat for emerging entrepreneurs on Twitter.

Manuel Martinez, president and CEO of the Los Angeles-based Success Training Institute, said, “preparation, preparation, preparation” are the three keys to successfully launching a business, during a  Money Talk on KCAA Radio segment.

While it seems prudent to launch a business during good economic times, “anytime is a good time to start a business,” said Martinez, who offers education and advice to small business owners. He said that success has less to do with the economy and more to do with being prepared. He stressed that the prepared entrepreneur will have the greatest shot at success even over well-established but ill-prepared competitors.

“Without proper market research and a solid business plan, a business is more likely to fail,” according to The Ultimate Small Business Guide. “The more advanced preparation that is done, the better the chances for success.”

launching a business, startup

Preparation is key before launching a business, according to expert Manuel Martinez. (Photo by Daria Nepriakhina on Unsplash)

Being prepared means knowing as much as possible about a proposed venture. Entrepreneurs will significantly benefit from having firsthand experience with the type of enterprise being launched. Regardless of their business acumen, entrepreneurs who lack hands-on experience will be at a disadvantage over better prepared and informed competitors.

The following five key steps to help aspiring entrepreneurs prepare for a new business launch.

5 Key steps to launching a business

1. TRADE: Know the trade

Don’t assume that a decade working as a waitress or bartender provides the necessary insight and experience to successfully run a restaurant or bar of one’s own. There’s a lot more that goes on behind the scenes. Entrepreneurs need to know what it takes to run the entire operation.

Martinez encouraged entrepreneurs to “do something familiar,” adding, “Don’t do what you don’t know.” Those seeking to launch a business should spend time doing the work at a comprehensive level.

Entrepreneurs with no experience in a specific industry should seek a position to learn the business, spending sufficient time to learn about it from top to bottom. Once the doors of a new company are opened, plenty of day-to-day issues will pile up, without the owner having to learn the business from scratch.

2. LAUNCH: Understand exactly what launching a business entails

All small businesses require some form of licensing, such as a business permit, resale license or liquor license. Find out what necessary. Consult with a professional to learn the requirements. Reach out to organizations such as the SCORE and the Small Business Development Centers network of the Small Business Administration for free guidance.

FindLaw provides a list of commonly required licenses and permits, including state and local business licenses, registration for taxes, an occupational or resale license, a business name registration, and zoning, health, building and environmental permits. Business owners should carefully consider the licenses and permits required as well as the cost and time frames for approval.

3. COST: Estimate start-up costs

According to the Small Business Administration, “Since every business is different, and has its own specific cash needs at different stages of development, there is no universal method for estimating your startup costs.”

Entrepreneurs must create a budget and conduct a cash-flow analysis that begins with startup expenses, such as costs for permits and licenses, and extends past the anticipated break-even date. A business owner should determine needs versus wants when weighing where to spend cash and also allow for additional funds in case the break-even points arrives later than expected.

Appropriate cash management makes the difference between open and closed doors in the startup phase.

You might be interested: Alice Rodriguez: Overcoming obstacles and the power to succeed in business and life

4. BUSINESS PLAN: Create a business plan and follow it.

Starting a business and keeping it running is like maintaining a garden: To keep it healthy and producing fruit, it needs continual tending. Create a business plan and follow it daily, to develop the business, staff and products. Keep a finger on the company’s pulse and adapt.

“The importance of planning should never be overlooked,” according to TD Bank‘s website. “Taking time to create an extensive business plan provides you with insight into your business.”

5. RISKS: Manage risks.

“Make sure you are protected from anything that might take down your business that you worked so hard to build,” said Hunter Hoffmann, head of U.S. Communications at Hiscox Small Business Insurance of White Plains, N.Y., during a Money Talk radio interview.

“Entrepreneurs too often fail to properly insure their businesses,” noted insurance broker Dave Terpening Torrance, Calif., during an interview. “They roll the dice hoping for the best.”

“Insurance professionals can be great sounding boards to business owners,” he added. “An experienced insurance professional has seen and heard the horror stories and can advise new business owners on how to best create an affordable and effective risk management strategy.”


This article was originally written by Jesse Torres and published in 2015. It has been updated for relevancy. 

Los Angeles Tap the Future winner Enso Ink_feature

“Shark Tank” Daymond John gives you 3 tips to win $200K (video)

ABC's Shark Tank's judge and business mogul Daymond John

ABC’s Shark Tank’s judge and business mogul Daymond John

Are you a LIBizus startup or entrepreneur looking to take your business to the next level? Do you have confidence that your new idea is worth over $200K? Then Miller Lite Tap the Future is what you have been waiting for!

Miller Lite Tap the Future gives participants the chance to present original business ideas and compete for the grand prize while working with world-known business moguls like Daymond John from ABC’s “Shark Tank.” This year, in addition to business teams, they are also accepting “solopreneurs” to the program.

Beginning February 6, entrepreneurs ages 21 and over can submit applications up until April 10, 2015. Thirty semi-finalists will be selected to pitch their business ideas in Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, Philadelphia and Detroit throughout July.

One business from each city will be chosen by a panel of judges to move on to the national finals and win $20,000. In September, the final six participants will compete in Chicago for a $200,000 grand prize.

“Miller Lite Tap the Future is the ultimate competition for entrepreneurs who want to be recognized and rewarded for following their true passion,” said John. “I encourage all entrepreneurs to apply for a chance to get their original idea out there and receive advice on how to take it to the next level.”

Two years in the works, Tap the Future has received over 4,000 submissions and provided $700,000 to fund original business ideas in all industries. Previous winners, Sean O’Brien and Evan Wray, were acquired for $27 million after creating Swyft Media, a company that creates stickers and emojis that are compatible with mobile messaging apps like Kik, Tango and Viber.

Los Angeles Tap the Future winner Enso Ink

Los Angeles Tap the Future winner Enso Ink

Miller Brewing Company began as just an idea in 1885 and has grown to be one of the top-five selling beers in the United States. Miller remembers where they started and are using this opportunity to give back to those who share the same passion for entrepreneurship.

“The original light beer exists because Frederick Miller followed his passion against all odds, so it is important for Miller Lite to support entrepreneurs who want to pursue theirs,” said Steve Canal, MillerCoors manager of community commerce and partnerships. “Not only does Miller Lite Tap the Future offer entrepreneurs the chance to interact with top business experts like Daymond John, but it also provides the tools and funding resources to help bring great ideas to life.”

These are John’s three tips to be a winner:

  1. Recognize the importance of mentors in life and business

    Daymond John with previous years' participants

    Daymond John with previous years’ participants

“I often speak about the importance of mentors. These days I’m usually the one doing the mentoring but I wanted to use this week’s blog to give people some insight into the people who changed my life through their mentorship. Mentors can be people who come into your life for a brief period or those who stick around forever. My friend, and current mentor Jay Abraham, who I’ve mentioned many times in the past, recently shared a study with me. It found that startups that have helpful mentors, and learn from startup thought leaders raise 7x more money and have 3.5x better user growth. Mentorship is what allowed the successful companies to focus, not take funding too soon, and scale at a good pace. I’m thankful for all of the mentors who have helped me throughout my career and life,” Daymond John says on this article “Mentors who changed my life.”

  1. Be a “go-giver”, not a go-getter

“When I’m on the road speaking, or really anywhere out in public, people often approach me to discuss their businesses. More often than not, they ask me for something, ‘Can you help me get distribution,’ ‘Can you help me with my next round of funding,’ etc. While it’s good to approach the people whom you’d like to work with, this is not the best way to do it, he says in his article “Be a Go-Giver, not a Go-Getter.”

“The best way to approach these people is to OFFER services rather than ASK for them. The people I end up working with are the ones who come up to me and say, ‘I’d love to work with you. How can I help you with what you have going on?’ Or ‘I do such and such service, I’d like to offer it to you free of charge so you can see the quality of my work.’ The next time you’re at a networking event, give the go-giver approach a shot, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results,” he concludes.

  1. Practice these three ways to get ahead

    Participants at the Tap the Future competition

    Participants at the Tap the Future competition

Miller Lite Tap the Future judge Daymond John knows a thing or two about being successful. In this video, he shares three tips to keep in mind when trying to get ahead. He advises that you should watch what you say on social media, keep your appearance in mind and learn from everyone you meet.

Click here to watch the video with Daymond’s tips on getting ahead!

Applications are being accepted now until Friday, April 10, 2015. Good luck! Click here to apply.