Small Business Startup
Simplified Startup Steps

(Date posted: November 17, 2009)

This page helps you start a low-cost, low-risk service business by using simplified startup steps. This summary lets you quickly review the procedures needed to start a simple business.

These startup steps are used for my Business Plan for Simple Services and my more detailed Small Business Startup plan. Each step in this summary has a link to the related page in the more detailed plan.

The steps in this plan are grouped into the following stages:

Stage 1: Selecting a suitable idea
Stage 2: Preparing the groundwork
Stage 3: Setting up and starting your business


IMPORTANT

Before using this information to start a business be sure to read the following notice: Disclaimer


Stage 1: Selecting a suitable idea

Purpose of this stage is to select a business idea that meets your requirements and the needs and desires of prospective customers.

Defining your requirements -- These are the needs, desires, abilities, resources, time limits, and risk limits the business idea should satisfy.

For more details, see this page.

Finding a potential idea -- This business idea describes what service you intend to sell and who you expect to use or purchase it.

One way to find a suitable business idea from this website is to review the group titles under the Start a Service Business main page. Then you can jump to the index page for that group and review individual business ideas,

Another way to find a suitable business idea from this website is to first select an appropriate category, and then choose a suitable business idea within that category. Go to the Ideas for a small business by category topic on another page.

For more details, see this page.

Reviewing the market -- See if anyone else is advertising a similar service in the classified advertisements of a newspaper serving your expected marketing area.

For more details, see this page.

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Stage 2: Preparing the groundwork

Purpose of this stage is to complete an adequate amount of planning and advance preparations. This will help you start a business requiring only moderate risk and moderate funds.

Refining the product -- Decide what features your service needs to attract and satisfy customers. These features should be based primarily on your own time and effort. Thus, they will have a low cost compared to the expected sales price.

For more details, see this page.

Developing the sales program -- Normally you would use classified advertisements to solicit prospects for your services. Then you would use either telephone conversations or personal meetings to convert them into customers.

For more details, see this page.

Designing business operations -- I recommend that you use either a one-person (sole proprietorship), or two or more persons (joint venture), type of business organization. At first, the owner(s) would perform all of the money making activities. However, a spouse or other family members might perform certain duties. These duties might include answering the telephone, paying the bills, and doing the bookkeeping.

For more details, see this page.

Listing the startup requirements -- You need to identify and list the startup requirements for your proposed business venture. These are the actions and objectives you should complete before starting actual business operations. It is especially important to identify all legal and insurance requirements for your proposed business venture.

For more details, see this page.

Planning costs and expenses -- You need to minimize your startup costs and operating expenses. This will make your business venture profitable as soon as possible.

The Bootstrap Methods page in another section can help you reduce these costs and expenses.

For more details, see this page.

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Stage 3: Setting up and starting your business

Purpose of this stage is to get serious about your decision to start a business. The previous two stages were all about preparing paper work that incurred only some small expenses. Now that you have proved your business concept and your ability to get things done, the stakes will be higher.

Being able to produce the product -- You must be able to deliver quality services. A quality service satisfies the needs and desires of likely customers at a price they can afford.

For more details, see this page.

Gathering the needed resources -- You need cash and other resources to start a business. The resources you need may include office equipment and furnishings, job equipment and tools, and various types of supplies. You also need a personal commitment to do whatever it takes to get the business started.

For more details, see this page.

Setting up a home office -- A home office will make it easier for you to prepare for the start of business operations. To minimize startup costs, I recommend a frugal operating style at first. Thus, you might be using the kitchen table and chairs instead of having to purchase an office desk and chair. You also need a business checking account and a business telephone, at least when you start making sales.

For more details, see this page.

Setting up an accounting system -- Keeping with a frugal operating style, you might use a hand-written accounting system at first. This would consist of pads of journals and a ledger that you purchase from an office supplies store. To monitor and control your operating results, you might use a daily cash report. This would show beginning cash, cash receipts, cash disbursements, and ending cash. Ideally, this cash report would show a rising cash balance.

For more details, see this page.

Completing the startup requirements -- Ideally, you should satisfy all startup requirements before beginning business operations. Of special importance are all of your legal and insurance requirements. However, under the frugal style of operations, you may be able to postpone certain items until your business is making money.

For more details, see this page.

Starting business operations -- This means to advertise and sell your services, collect your fees, pay your bills, and carry on other routine business activities.

For more details, see this page.)

Improving customer satisfaction -- After you have started your business and are making sales to customers, you might want to make certain improvements. The most important improvement would be to increase customer satisfaction. This is how customers feel about your services and your company. You can improve customer satisfaction by listening to their complaints and making any needed changes.

For more details, see this page.

Increasing sales and cash flow -- After you have improved customer satisfaction and eliminated any operational problems, you are ready to grow. You can use various methods to increase sales and cash flow.

For more details, see this page.

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