Are you considering starting your own business? Perhaps you’ve kicked around a few ideas, and you’re not sure where to begin. If that is true, then tune in here. Last month, MaKenna Wood, Social Media Coordinator, with Proximo Marketing, came out to Cowork Gloucester, VA to share tips to help you “Launch Your Dream.”
Use these tips as a checklist to get you rolling.
- Type of business: First determine who you are going to be, what type of business, and how you will identify yourself. Will you be a Sole Proprietor, LLC, Partnership, ? If you’re not sure how to decide, talk to an accountant or an attorney. They can ask you great questions, and then recommend the best license for your business.
- Name of business: When determining your business name, keep it simple. Do some market research to make sure your name is not taken. County offices offer access to a database that you can search to see if your name is available. You can also check the Virginia State Corporation Commission for more information, access to forms, and frequently asked questions.
- Pick your website domain – A domain is your website’s address. Once you have selected your business name, purchase your domain name right away. Go Daddy is just one of the many places that we can recommend for you to do this.
You do not have to launch a website right away. But purchasing the domain early will ensure that you own it when you are ready to go live. Stay away from special characters like hyphens in the address. People usually won’t remember those, so it could make your site hard to remember or worse, it could send them to your competition.
- Apply for your license – Now that you know what type of business you’d like to be and what you’d like to call yourself, you can make it official. You will need to complete an application through the County Commissioner of Revenue’s The application will require you to provide details about your business, like the business location, whether or not you’re retail or in the foodservice industry, if you will have partners, etc. Do this early, because many of your expenses (even the mileage and time) that you spend on your business are tax deductible.
- Develop your operating agreement – This kind of agreement is most common with LLC’s. It includes basic instructions on how your business will run, identifies your target audience, lists the principals in your organization, and ownership percentages. It also outlines what happens when things change, whether it’s death, life-changes, or something else; this document will have the next steps. Be sure that it follows your state guidelines.
- Make a plan (your marketing strategy) – What does your perfect customer look like when you envision your business? What age or gender are they? Do they have a particular income or hobby? Who do you see buying your products? Write down these answers to form the description of your ‘perfect audience.’ No one will ever see this list. But it does make it easier for you to know how you want to market to that customer.
Be sure to identify your differentiators; like why your audience would want to do business with you instead of your competitor. Also, include any highlights, special events, or offers that you plan on having. Then set goals that you can measure as your business grows.
- Get help - Being good with a product or service doesn’t mean that you’ll be a great business owner. Do your homework. Identify areas where you are weak, like office administration, payroll, marketing, etc. Then find someone that you can hire or outsource to handle those areas for you.
Indeed, there are many steps to having a successful business, but it only takes a few to get your business off the ground. The first step is always the hardest. If you’re still not sure, or if you would like to talk through it a little more we’re all here to help. Here’s how below:
Proximo Marketing Strategies can handle many of the steps that we’ve mentioned above. They are even offering a marketing package that includes a website, logo design, marketing social media plan, email template, business cards, and more.
Cowork Gloucester VA – Cowork is a wonderful network of business-minded people. They offer shared office space, networking events, a host of other services. Including a team of advisors. When you partner with them, you will get two free thirty-minute sessions with any advisor each month.
As for Chesapeake Bank, we too have a team of advisors dedicated to Business owners. If you own a business or are considering starting one, please talk to our Business Development team about financial services and products that will help you run your business more efficiently.”