For Entrepreneurs starting a new business, it may be helpful to see a high level view of a new small business roadmap.  It may not be necessary to complete all of these steps for all businesses but this outline of key steps should prove helpful for getting started in your new business.

Test Your Business Idea

Business Idea

Define Products and/or Services
Determine Target Customer Profile
Conduct Competitor Analysis
Define Differentiators

Is There Enough Market Capacity to be Profitable?
Can You Steal Enough Customers from your Competitors?

Define Your Business

Define Success (What Size?; What Do You Want to Accomplish?, etc.)
Define Failure (If We Don’t Achieve “x” By “y” Date, Revisit Business Idea)

Establish Your Business

Determine Legal Structure (Sole Proprietorship, LLC, Corp)
Name Your Business

File “Assumed Name” with County Clerk
Reserve Name with Secretary of State’s Office
Reserve Internet Domain Name

Develop Your Brand

Design Your Logo
Develop Slogans

Set Up Accounts

Open Business Bank Account (or develop separate accounting)

Secure Your Business

Obtain Necessary Licenses, Certificates and Permits
Secure Intellectual Property (Patents, Copyrights, Trademarks, etc.)
Research and Obtain Optimal Insurance
Determine Necessary Tax Obligations (Franchise, Sales, Self-Employment, Income, etc.)

Estimate & Secure Required Funding

Develop Cash Flow Analysis

Start-up Funding

Facility expenses (lease/utility deposits, build-out, etc.)
Initial Inventory, Training, etc.
Operating Capital Required Until “Break-Even” Income

Fixed Expenses (Unaffected by Volume of Sales)
Variable Expenses (Vary with Volume of Sales)
Income Projections

Estimate Funding Required to Start & Run Business Until Break-Even
Determine Credit Capacity

Cash You Have Available and/or Can Borrow From Friends
Determine Your Credit Rating and Available Collateral
Estimate Amount That You Can Borrow

Inventory Possible Sources of Funding

Self-funding (what you invest in the business)
Loans (from friends, banks, etc.) – paid back in cash
Investments (from friends, investors, crowd funding, etc.) – given part ownership

Develop Budget Based on Cash Flow and Available Funding
Secure Funding

Develop Marketing Strategy

Build Your Buyer Persona (Customer Profile + Definition of Problem You Are Solving)
Develop Catch Phrases & Images (these get buyer’s attention within 5 seconds)
Develop Elevator Speeches (90 second speeches to sell investor & buyer)
Inventory Marketing Tools Within Budget and Select Best Fits

Write Down Your Plans

Develop Step-by-Step Plans and Estimate Dates
(Secure Funding, Build Web Site, Secure Lease, Implement Marketing, etc.)

Develop Business Plan for Bankers and/or Investors If You Are Seeking Funding

Execute Your Plans

Road to SuccessReview and Revise Plans Each Week
Set Clear and Measurable Deliverables and Milestones

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Dan Gillingham is a retired executive, business owner and is currently volunteering as a small business counselor and mentor with SCORE

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