How to Start a Business in One Working Day Flat
Many people are interested in launching their very own businesses but keep putting it off because they think it takes too long or the process is too complicated. If you're one of these people, we’re here to tell you that you could launch your business in 8 hours or less! Believe it or not, it’s possible to lay the legal foundation for a small-scale business and have basic processes going in a working day. It won’t be perfect and you’ll have to tweak many things later, but you could have basic operations going today if you wanted. So why not seize the day and make your dreams of being a business owner a reality? Becoming Bridge Builders offers this timed 8-hour plan that walks you through the process of starting your very own business:
9 am - 10 am Brainstorm a worthy idea Do you already know what kind of business you’d like? It’s best to do something you’re good at, aligns with your existing skills or interests, and has market demand. Spend some time jotting down ideas, including the pros and cons of each. Next, consider your budget and how much time you’re planning to spend to take care of your business later. It’s possible to have a part-time business (you could scale later) and you can start one with a few hundred dollars or less. Shopify offers some ideas for inspiration. 10 am - 11 am Write a quick business plan Writing a business plan can give you the clarity you need on the goals you need to set and the actions you need to take to make your business successful. Also, it will help you further refine one of the ideas you came up with earlier. It doesn’t have to be a formal plan – you can write a quick “single-page” business plan that covers important elements and a one-sentence description for each action item. Jotform offers a template you can follow. Some things to cover:
The market demand (or problem) and your product or service (or solution)
Your ideal customers and your biggest competitors
Your competitive advantage
Your strategy to monetize your offering
How much money would you like to make and how?
11 am- 12 am Register your business To get off the ground, you may need to register with both the state and federal governments. It typically takes a few working days (and for larger businesses, months) to get approval from agencies. However, you could take care of the application work (filing forms mostly) in one day. If yours needs to be registered, you may need an EIN, trade name, licenses, permits, insurance, file for patents, and choose a business structure (such as an LLC). Note that not all businesses need to be registered in the US. If you’re a sole proprietorship (aka small-time “micro” operation with just one owner), you don’t need to register. You do need to maintain books and file taxes on your profit later. Registering voluntarily as an LLC is possible and, usually, worthwhile. It makes you more attractive to investors and will limit your personal liability if you’re ever sued.
1 pm - 2 pm Get a bank account It’s a very good idea to get a separate bank account for your business. Many small businesses use their existing personal accounts for business operations and end up mixing personal and business transactions as a result. Not only is this bad accounting practice but it can get you in trouble with the IRS. It’s better to have a new account. It’s cheap and, these days, you can open a bank account in an hour.
2 pm - 3 pm Start marketing
It’s time to put yourself out there and start finding customers. Again, it could take a while to generate leads, but you could put the groundwork in place today. Writing a marketing plan and giving yourself marketing goals is key to drumming up business for yourself long-term. Create a handful of basic marketing and branding items for now to get started. You could create a personal webpage about your product or service, get on social media, list your business online, and make yourself discoverable in other ways
3 pm - 4 pm Have a trial run
Now that you have a basic business groundwork in place, it’s time to go on a quick trial run and sell your product or service! You could rope in friends or family for this step and pretend they are a client or customer. Have your minimum viable product or service and pretend to “sell” it to them. This will get you comfortable with doing it for real as well as identify any hole in your business processes that you need to patch up. For example, if you’re starting a pet-sitter business, you could look after a friend’s pet for an hour (or longer) for free, learn from the experience, and take it from there.
4 pm - 5 pm Get acquainted with free or low-cost business apps and services
You’ll be happy to know there are apps and services to help with everything from setting up your business to after-sales support. Some examples of useful business apps every new business owner should look into include bookkeeping, messaging, customer management, and utility solutions for day-to-day tasks. You can also always work with human professionals. They can help with getting started (like business agents) and getting work done (outsourcing tasks to freelancers).
Once you start gaining clients or customers and start working on multiple projects with other people, you may have an overflow of documents on your hands. In such cases, it’s a good idea to have your documents in PDF for easy organization, security, and sharing. If you have multiple documents in other formats, you can convert them to PDF. If you have multiple PDF files, you can reorganize all related ones into a single document by using a tool to combine a PDF. If you have a combined PDF file, you can move the PDF pages back and forth to get the order right.
Congratulations, you are now the owner of a small-scale startup! While running a business is by no means easy, you managed to get through what some people find the hardest part – getting started. Now you just need to keep going. Focus on learning as you go, be persistent, and you’ll be the owner of a successful business before you know it.