Research is critical for the success of any endeavour. If you’re unaware of all the risks, problems, solutions and opportunities on the market, it’s like walking into a dark room with a blindfold on – your business isn’t likely to survive. So, to help you make it, here are nine things to research before starting a business.
What type of business should you run?
Sole trader or limited company? The one you choose will impact the type of tax you pay and the amount of legal and financial obligations you take on. As a sole trader, you receive all the profits after tax, but you also hold all the liability for the company’s finances. However, as a limited liability company (LLC), you have more liability protection and greater tax flexibility, but you have to pay self-employment taxes according to your profits.
What type of market are you entering?
What’s the nature of the industry? How well is it performing on the market? What about your competition? Conducting market research gives you an opportunity to research how difficult it would be to penetrate the market and how long it could take. It also helps you size up the competitors to see their offerings, how their prices are different from yours, and what type of pain points they aim to solve for their customers.
Who are you selling to?
Take a closer look at what sort of consumers are buying similar products or services on the market. To do this, you need to define your target audience. Send out a questionnaire, conduct an online survey or interview people to find out what they think about your offer, what they want to receive and what’s the best way to market it to them.
Create questions only around certain topics, and conduct your research on one topic at a time. This enables you to concentrate your marketing efforts on the key demographics that are the most likely to convert from leads to consumers, and it also narrows down your focus to a much more concentrated audience.
How will you receive pay?
As a business owner, you will jump at the opportunity to pump profits back into your business to make it grow. But along the way, you also need to provide for yourself and your household. Figure out how much money you need to live on and incorporate the amount in your outgoings. If you really want to boost the company budget, cut back spending on luxury items and re-invest that money back into your business.
How will you call your company?
What’s the name of your company? Have you thought about it? Seriously think about the name because it’s going to be the first thing customers notice, and it also speaks volumes about the company. Unless you want to spend buckets of money on rebranding, it will also serve you for a very long time. Once you decide on a couple of names, check to see if their corresponding .com web domains are available to finalize your decision.
What will you need to register?
It is necessary to register a company in the official state or federal business registry to make it legal and official. It’s important to do it at this stage of the process because submitting the application makes your company real, and it can take several weeks for it to pass through the system. Plus, you already have all the necessary information, and all you have to do is research the registry forms, fill them out, and you are an official owner of a company.
How will you get funding?
Starting a new business requires funding. So, it’s important to research all available funding options to get the best deal for the starting budget of your company. First off, figure out how much savings do you have, and what amount will you need. Ask friends and family if they’re willing to loan you money since it’s a win-win situation for both of you. If you can’t find funding that way, research various angel investors, business grants and bank loans to secure the best funding option for your company.
How will you promote your brand?
It’s important to create a solid marketing strategy to get your name out to potential customers. Use your market research and target audience to create a buyers’ journey that converts, and locate your key demographic on online channels of communication. This includes your website, blog, social media channels, search engine advertising and traditional media.
Ready to start?
Answer all of these questions and do the research before you set up shop. It will help you create a strategy and know exactly what to expect once you get started. And then, it’s all about sticking to the research, evaluating the results and improving your efforts. If you do this, there’s every reason to believe the success of your business is within reach.