If you’ve got a great idea for a new business, your first instinct is probably to dive right in. Even if you’ve researched the markets and the potential for your products, you may not have done enough. Find out key things you should research before you launch your business.
- Determine Logistics
Business rely on being able to get their products or services where customers need them. Before you can price your products, you need to know the shipping costs and timing. Now is the time to look into logistics solutions to make sure you have the right options for your business. Once your business begins to thrive, you won’t want to spend the time and effort trying to go back and research your shipping options. The costs and availability of shipping options can impact not only the pricing of your products but also the direction you want to take your marketing.
- Online Presence
Being online is no longer an optional part of building a business. It is a necessity. In addition to a website, you’ll need a presence in social media to make it easier for potential customers to find you and for existing customers to reach out.
Make sure your desired domain name is available so you can purchase it and build a website. Remember to keep your domain name clean and simple. You want a name that will be easy for potential clients to remember and spell. Unusual spellings can be catchy (e.g. Karla’s Kustom Kabinets) but make sure it isn’t too challenging for customers to figure out. Avoid things that are likely to be confused or misunderstood. You may love kangaroos but a store called “Kangaroos” might befuddle customers looking for your handmade pottery.
Your website needs to look professional and provide the information customers would need. It only takes a few seconds to make a bad impression so it is vital that your online content reflect the quality of your products or services. Keep in mind that people are strongly impacted by how things look. That makes good images on your website extremely important in order to be attractive to potential customers. If you are selling products, it is even more important that you provide good images of each product along with clear, helpful descriptions of your products.
Don’t make visitors to your website or social media pages hunt for information. Contact information and other key details should be organized in a logical way so that it is easy for people to find what they need. An increasing number of people are using social media as a primary way to find information. While social media can take plenty of time, the use of social media can actually be a great fit for small businesses. You might not have someone available to field customers’ calls 24/7 but responding to messages on social media can be easily handled whenever you have a few moments and from wherever you are.
- Legal Protections
Don’t let your great ideas disappear. If you are launching a new product or service, make sure you take any steps possible to protect your ideas. Consult with an attorney specializing in intellectual materials to see if you can patent your ideas.
Make sure your company name and logo are protected. It is important to make sure you are not infringing on anyone else’s rights in order to avoid legal issues later. You also need to protect your own business. Often this involved creating a paper trail now to demonstrate that your ideas were your own and predated your competition. Not taking these steps could leave you at risk of being undercut by a lower cost knockoff of your company that could ruin your business.
- Plan for the Future
New businesses are smart to proceed with caution when planning to grow their businesses. You are better off with fewer obligations and liabilities until you know your business has enough momentum to continue to support them. At the same time, you should consider now what steps you would take once your company needs to expand.
If you are working out of your house now, will that continue to be an option if you need to hire employees? Check for the local regulations to find out if there are any restrictions. If you want to be able to switch to a new location, get an idea what might be available and at what cost. This can help you make better decisions as your business develops and you need to set yourself up for continue success.