If you have a great idea for a small business, don’t despair if you don’t have a business background or a wealth of investment capital. Begin with the basics, and pick up the rest as you go along. Here are some essential steps to help you get started in a small business.

Carry Out Preliminary Research

The first step in making your small business a reality is to conduct research about your potential market, customers, and competitors. Initiate your research on the internet, and then widen your search to include libraries, state agencies, and industry associations. If you can afford it, consider using a professional research company.

Name Your Business

Create a name for your company that encapsulates its purpose and is succinct, catchy, and easy to remember for investors and clients. Once you’ve finalized the name, check online and with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to be sure it’s not already used, and then register and if possible trademark it.

Decide on a Business Structure

The structure of your small business impacts its taxation, liability concerns, and its limitations on shareholders and types of stock. Your options include a sole proprietorship, limited liability corporation, S corporation, and c corporation.

Prepare a Business Plan

A comprehensive business plan is imperative if you want to seek funding. It should include an executive summary, a description of your small business, a strategy for marketing, an overview of its leadership, financial projections, and an appendix with copies of all relevant paperwork.

Secure Required Permits and Licenses

You’ll need to obtain certain licenses and permits from appropriate local, state, and federal government offices. Laws for small businesses vary from area to area, so ask an attorney how to comply with local regulations.

Acquire Funding

If you’re like most fledgling entrepreneurs, you’ll need help with funding to start up your small business. Getting a traditional bank loan is difficult in the beginning stages, so you may need to rely on crowdfunding, credit cards, help from friends and relatives, and short-term loans.

Start It Up

Once you’ve managed the first six steps, you’re ready to launch your small business. Make an event of it through announcements on your website, in social media, via email, and in press releases to local newspapers.

For more advice on small business success, contact IRC Commercial Lending.