5 Essentials You Need for Your Startup Business

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Are you considering starting your own business? What essentials do you need to know about becoming an entrepreneur? Read on and find out for yourself.

Entrepreneurship in America is on the rise. According to numbers released by the Kauffman Index, more small businesses were launched in 2015 than in the last 20 years, giving people from all walks of life the chance to succeed in running their own companies. If you are thinking about becoming an entrepreneur, whether you no longer want to work for other people or have an idea for a niche business, starting off on the right foot with these five essential start-up requirements can help set the stage for future success.

1. Market Research

Before you can sell your product or service, you will need to understand the basic concept of supply and demand as it relates to your startup. You should approach research from all angles and ask yourself questions such as who your target customers might be and where they are, what kind of similar products and services might already be on the market, and whether you will run your business on a national or international scale.

Taking the time to perform market research can also help you narrow down the answers to other important questions, such as whether you will run your business 100 per cent online or have a brick and mortar location, or a combination of both, and which will require more capital to run. The more questions you answer about the nature of your future business, the fewer decisions you will have to make on the fly later on.

2. A Business Tax ID Number

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You will need to report any business profits you make to the IRS, so before you launch your company, it will be necessary to obtain a business tax number. This number, which is also called an EIN, identifies your business much in the same way a social security number identifies you as an individual. You can apply for an EIN with the IRS online; however, you should keep in mind that the process might take as long as four to six weeks, so it is a good idea to apply as early as you can.

3. A Business Phone Number

Even if your startup will be a small one, acquiring a business phone number for it offers you several benefits. For example, you will appear more professional to prospective customers, even if you run your business from a home office, and you will not have to give out your personal number. Assigning a phone number to your business will also allow you to list it in local and online business directories, giving your customers improved access to it when they have questions about your products and services.

4. A Consistent Online Brand

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While it is vital to have an online presence to help boost your business, consistent branding can also be a key to success. When you set up a business website and use widgets to give your customers a way to find you on social media, the brand colors and graphics you use should be consistent across the platforms you use. For example, Hampton Creek, a company that focuses on making low-ingredient, dairy-free food products, uses its “just” graphic to let its customers know they have arrived at one of their pages, whether it is Instagram or YouTube.

If you have not yet designed a business logo, take the time to think about which factors will make it easiest for your customers to recognize it. You may want to avoid trying to fit too many words into a business avatar, as many social media sites have restrictions on how large it can be. A clear image, sharp colors, or contrasting colors are all suitable when it comes to branding your business on social media.

5. A Business Bank Account

You may think that combining your business profits with money in an existing personal bank account might help you save time and money, but this could actually cause a lot of confusion. Keeping a separate business bank account can help you keep better track of gains and losses and allow you to pay your business expenses with more efficiency. Your financial institution should be able to help you set up a separate account and may even offer you various perks along with it, such as a merchant credit or debit card.

The success of your startup business will depend on many factors. However, keeping these five essential components in place may improve your chances of success for today and in the future.

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2015 Kauffman Index of Startup Activity (PDF)