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As a Level One or Two Member, you are assigned a Business Consultant. If you are a Level One Member, you speak to your Business Consultant once per month. If you are a Level Two Member, you speak to your Business Consultant weekly.

30 Steps for Startups

Step 1

Have a talk with yourself.  Are you spiritually, physically, mentally and financially ready?

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Step 2

Consider the size of your company.  How much money do you want to make? How much infrastructure will you need to hit your revenue goals?

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Step 3

Determine what need your product or service fills in the market. What is its real value to potential customers?

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Step 4

Determine your target market. Demographics? Communication channels?  Who will pay you? Is this a non-profit?

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Step 5

Know Your Numbers! Sales goals? Expenses? Startup Capital? Profit margins? Pricing?

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Step 6

Talk to your loved ones. How will this affect them? Show them your research.

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Step 7

Seek the help of the SBA, SBRC, someone in the same business or an experienced Business Consultant to discuss the logic of your business idea.

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Step 8

Determine Your Value Proposition! Benefits? Competition? Differentiators? Easier? More efficient? Less expensive?  What’s in it for your customers?

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Step 9

Talk with an attorney and an accountant about the best business entity, tax structure and the types of contracts and other safeguards you’ll need to protect your business and meet your legal and tax obligations.

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Step 10

Research funding sources like SBA loans, Micro loans, family loans, private equity, purchase order loans, investing your own money, using the customer’s money.

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Step 11

You will need a strong management team, so determine if you need partners or investors or if you can run your company alone.

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Step 12

Research potential business locations and advantages of certain areas.

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Step 13

Research your business name on the internet and in your state.

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Step 14

Research laws/ requirements, permits and licenses for running your business with the state.

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Step 15

Determine if you are going to have employees or use contractors and understand employer responsibilities such as taxes, payroll, workman’s compensation and unemployment insurance.

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Step 16

Research necessary insurance types and bonding.

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Step 17

Talk to your customer! Use surveys, focus groups, events to better understand the needs and wants of the target customer.  Understand what will make them choose you.

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Step 18

Write Your Business Plan and identify your target market, projections, your marketing strategy and your management team.

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Step 19

Obtain a tax ID or Employee Identification Number.

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Step 20

Register with the state.

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Step 21

Open a business account with your bank and discuss benefits and small business options (a bank of your choice-but ask if they have a history of lending to your industry). Don’t mix business and personal expenses.

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Step 22

Set up your online accounting, payroll and invoicing systems or other online payment systems.

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Step 23

Create a customer database or customer relationship management (CRM) system and connect a point of sale (POS) system for payments in person.

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Step 24

Develop your logo, branding, website, social media, business cards based on what will attract your customers.

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Step 25

Obtain a Dunn & Bradstreet number to begin to establish business credit. Plus, if you plan on pursuing government contracts, you will need this as an identification number.

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Step 26

Review local, state and federal regulations and purchase proper business insurance.

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Step 27

Get ready to open! Finalize your strategy, triple check your expenses, manage opening day projects and finalize credit lines and capital. Apply for funding if needed.

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Step 28

Follow your business plan and implement metrics, sales goals, training programs and standard operating procedures. Everyone on your team must focus on providing great service and making money!

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Step 29

Network and stay connected! Join key groups to build relationships with colleagues and potential partners.

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Step 30

Protect your time, your money and your ideas and stay away from negative forces that could hurt your business growth.

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