Monday, March 4, 2019

how to start a business

how to start a business

How To Start A Business - Forbes

Posted: 13 Feb 2019 12:00 AM PST


Want to start your own business? Here's how to do it in nine swift steps…

You should absolutely try going into business for yourself. If you don't you'll always regret not giving it a shot. After you've done it once it will be much simpler to repeat. Yet, like redecorating your apartment, it is a lot faster and more efficient if you get the steps right. You don't want to put in new floors, only to mess them up with painting the ceiling or dragging through new appliances.

Here's how to get started with your own business.

1) Hone Your Idea

While you may pivot or take different tangents and add products later on, it is really important to have clarity on your idea before you invest time plowing ahead with the later steps in this guide.

Be clear on:

  • Why you want to be an entrepreneur and business owner
  • Why you want to launch this specific business
  • Whether this will be a small business or fast growth startup
  • What big problem you are solving
  • That there is a demand for what you plan to build and offer

Don't get so bogged down in this process that you never get started or miss your window of opportunity. Speed and execution can be far more important than the fine polishing. It will never be perfect. A business is always evolving.

2) Research & Feedback

The biggest risk and threat to your business idea is failing to research and backup your assumptions.

Do complete thorough research, including:

  • Making sure there is a need and demand
  • Testing whether people will actually pay money for your solution
  • Make sure you are not just creating a carbon copy of an existing and established business
  • Finding out who your competitors are
  • Determining how big your total addressable market really is
  • Getting a feel for potential pricing, costs and profitability

3) Create a Business Plan

You need a plan.

A business plan will help you think through and answer the questions you have overlooked. It will help you test profitability, understand your financial needs, and give you a roadmap for bringing your business to life and growing it. It will tell you what you need to be financially viable.

However, there are conflicting opinions about what is necessary in business planning today. Especially if you are launching a real startup, and not just a small local business.

A well fleshed out business plan can be a great asset. Yet, it is important to recognize that few utilize this document as much as they would expect later on. It is a living plan that will always be changing. Few investors or lenders will care to read all the way through it. Don't get bogged down in this for too long and let time and opportunity pass you by.

Others are bigger fans of focusing on a pitch deck as business plans are starting to become more of a roadmap. In fact during fundraising investors are now requesting pitch decks rather than business plans.

A pitch deck can be used in much the same way. It will keep you focused on the most important items and is more likely to be referred to on a regular basis, and can also be used for fundraising for your venture. For a winning deck, take a look at the pitch deck template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) that I recently covered. Thiel was the first angel investor in Facebook with a $500K check that turned into more than $1 billion in cash. Moreover, I also provided a commentary on a pitch deck from an Uber competitor that has raised over $400 million (see it here).

4) Choose the Best Place to Launch Your Business

While more business are working 100% virtually and location independent, where you choose to base yourself, or locate different parts of your business and recruit from can make a big difference.

Factors to consider include:

  • Overhead and living costs
  • Access to talent
  • Networking opportunities
  • Business and investor friendliness
  • Taxes
  • Proximity and appeal to investors

5) Organize Your Business

Now it's time to formalize your business venture by registering and incorporating.

This step will include:

  • Choosing a business name
  • Forming a C Corp, S Corp, LLC or similar
  • Obtaining a tax ID number
  • Opening a business bank account
  • Choosing an accounting system
  • Securing online assets including web domain name and social handles

When selecting your corporate structure keep the big picture in mind, including fundraising goals.

6) Build Your Dream Team

By now you know the people you need to begin building your business and for advancing to the next milestone.

This likely includes:

  • Technical team members
  • Customer service
  • Marketing experts
  • Cofounders
  • Lawyers
  • Accountants
  • Board of advisors
  • Fundraising experts

7) Fund It

You now have a good handle on what you need and who you need. You just might not have the finances or financial cushion to make it possible and comfortable.

There are various ways to fund your immediate first steps and needs, including:

  • Cash on hand
  • Personal loans
  • Business lines of credit
  • Cofounders
  • Friends and family
  • Angel investors

Just keep your eye on the end game and how these choices may impact fundraising needs later on.

8) Get Users

Whether you choose a freemium model or need real paying customers from day one, it's time to get to work to recruit those early adopters.

This is hustle time. It's time to sprint.

Any future funding is going to rely on gaining some traction here, being able to show growth in key metrics and collecting valuable feedback from this first cohort of customers.

9) Scale It

Once you've got a viable business model, and things are working, it's time to scale it. Find new markets, amp up customer acquisition, and maybe begin rolling out additional products or services. Don't forget enterprise customers who can really help you make massive leaps quickly. You'll likely need more funding for this stage. So, make sure you've documented everything in detail to show off what you've accomplished and where you are headed.

I would also recommend listening to the DealMakers Podcast where some of the most successful entrepreneurs share how they did it. I have often found that learning from other experiences may help you in mastering your strategy and execution.

How to start a bitcoin ATM business - AZ Big Media

Posted: 19 Feb 2019 03:30 PM PST

According to Statista, as of February 2019, there are 4,292 bitcoin ATMs globally. It is expected that this number will continue to rise in the near future with more and more people discovering bitcoin as an investment. With this, it is no longer surprising that there are many who consider having bitcoin ATM as an entrepreneurial venture. 

Basically, with an on-site ATM, you will provide patrons with the opportunity to buy and sell bitcoins. Often, the providers have a website where people can find bitcoin ATM locator, making it easy to locate the nearest place where they can transact. 

If you are interested, read the rest of this post and we'll let you know the basics to get started.

Find an Operator 

The first thing that you need to do is to find a company that specializes in bitcoin ATMs. One of the best options that should be on your radar is Coin Cloud ATM. The latter will provide the infrastructure that you will need for the business, including the actual machine and the program that will run it. Be sure to evaluate the options thoroughly, such as by reading reviews from other people to evaluate its potential. 

Choose a Location

Even in this digital age, business location is still critical for success. Therefore, if you are planning to host a bitcoin ATM, another crucial consideration will be the location. If you currently own a brick-and-mortar business, this will be the perfect place for the ATM. Make sure that it is somewhere there is high foot traffic. Conduct thorough research and see to it that there is demand from people around the area. Otherwise, your business will end up being a failure. 

Pick the Right Type 

There are different types of bitcoin ATMs, the choice of which will depend on your goals as a business or demand in the location. There are one-way ATMs, which will allow the users to either just buy or sell. There are also two-way ATMs that will allow them to do both. Most of the bitcoin ATMs only facilitate a one-way transaction. 

Market Effectively 

In most cases, you will have to market two things – the business where the ATM is (often a restaurant, shop, or gas station) and the actual ATM. You will need to get the word out to attract people and make them use the ATM. One of the best ways to do this would be through tapping social media. Be part of Facebook groups in the community with members who are interested in bitcoin and let them know about the ATM. It will also help to put huge signage outside the shop. 

Consider the Costs Involved 

Of course, you also have to think about the costs of the ATM business. Inquire about the fees that you have to pay, including the payment for the machine, installation, and maintenance, among others. Ask for a quote from multiple ATM providers to find one that suits your budget. 

Indeed, a bitcoin ATM is a promising business idea. Take note of the things mentioned above to get started on the right foot. 

Are you ready to start your business? 8 questions to ask yourself - Ladders

Posted: 27 Feb 2019 02:07 AM PST

Starting a business is a lot like starting a family. It's an incredibly rewarding, life-changing decision—but it's not without bumps in the road. And the best way to anticipate the highs and lows of entrepreneurship is to know what to expect.

Any good business owner can tell you that starting your business involves months, if not years, of careful planning. From coming up with the concept of setting your budget to assembling the team and tools you need to make your venture a success, you'll be spending a lot of time deliberating.

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And if you're doing all of this while juggling the responsibilities of your personal life? That's like having two jobs at once—neither of which pays very well, at least to start. Therefore, you need to know what you're getting yourself into.

If you're considering opening up a business, start by asking yourself these important questions:

Do You Have an Idea for a Business?

This may seem like a given, but starting a business doesn't always mean coming up with a brand new concept. Some business owners start a company by franchising an existing enterprise. Others link up with peers who have already done the groundwork.

If you have an idea for a brand new business, that's great. But it's going to take a lot of work to move it from an idea to a reality. Whether you're ready to fully commit to your freelance side hustle or you're hoping to manufacture a whole new product, a good idea with real potential is the first step.

Why Is Now the Time to Start Your Business?

There are many factors that affect the success, or failure, of a new business. But no factor is more important, and yet more overlooked, than timing.

Bill Gross of Idealab, a startup studio in California, famously demonstrated that the timing of a business—when the business started in relation to shifting economic or political factors—accounts for 42 percent of the difference between success and failure. "Ideas" account for just 28 percent.

Ask yourself why you want to start this business now. What needs will your business solve, either in your community or for a certain customer? Additionally, why is now the best time for you, as a person, parent and/or partner?

How Will This Impact Other Areas of Your Life?

Starting and running a business doesn't happen in a vacuum: The time and effort you spend on this will take away from other areas of your life. If you're also a parent, consider whether your business will take you away from your children and how that will impact their lives.

Assess what relationships or responsibilities you hold dear or consider crucial to your wellbeing, and plan to carve out time in each day to be present for both. Discuss your new venture with the people in your life and explain how things will change, how you plan to react accordingly, and what you expect from them as well.

Do You Have a Business Plan?

A business plan isn't just an idea and some thoughts about how to execute it—it's a written document that maps out your strategy for success. How will you go from Point A (a dollar and a dream) to Point B (a profitable small business that could theoretically function without your direct oversight)? A business plan maps out your vision for how.

Take the time to sit down and draw up a business plan, perhaps with the help of an accountant or lawyer. You'll use this plan to drive your growth strategies, from hiring to investing.

Do You Have a Team in Place?

No matter what size your small business is or how big you want it to be, you're going to want some kind of team in your corner.

If you're planning on maintaining a sole proprietorship for the foreseeable future, you may still want to enlist the help of an accountant, lawyer, consultant, or coach—not to mention the support of the people in your lives, from your partner to your friends.

If you know from the beginning that you'll need to hire employees to get this off the ground, who are they? Will you work with former colleagues or will you look outside your circle?

Have these people in place in time for day one.

Do You Have a Mentor?

A mentor, coach, or other figure who has been through the same trials and tribulations you have as an entrepreneur—particularly if you're a woman, or a mother—can be immensely helpful to both your mental health the success of your business. According to one study, businesses are twice as likely to survive past five years if the owner has a mentor, and 88% of business owners with a mentor believe having one is invaluable.

Mentors can help you prepare business plans, make connections, navigate bureaucracy and simply act as a sounding board while you figure out the next step for your venture. You might find one through organizations like SCORE, or gain access to resources and advocates via Women Impacting Public Policy, among others.

Do You Have the Capital or Financing?

Outside funding for your business isn't required, but you may need startup capital of some kind when you get going, as the costs of getting your company off the ground can rack up quickly. You might need anywhere from a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars on hand when you start your business.

As a new business owner, you can apply for grants or small business microloans via a variety of lenders and organizations, such as the Small Business Administration. The SBA makes an effort to approve microloans for women, minorities, veterans and other underrepresented populations.

What Resources Do I Have at My Disposal?

When starting a business, you're going to need more than a good idea and a great business plan. Take stock of what connections, skills, and resources you personally bring to the table, and assess the same factors when hiring employees early on in the life of the venture.

Can someone handle marketing duties? Who will be in charge of writing marketing and website copy? Assemble your crew, take stock of what you have, and begin to deploy them the best way you can.

If you're not ready to hire, consider browsing freelancer sites such as Upwork or tapping into your LinkedIn network to find contractors.

If you have affirmative, detailed answers to all the above questions, you're well on your way to becoming a small business owner. The only trick is to maintain your drive and enthusiasm for your business past the early startup stages. Your company will need a business plan, a good team and financing as much on Day 500 as on Day 1.

This article first appeared on Fabric. Fabric exists to help young families master their money. Our articles abide by strict editorial standards.

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