How To Start A Business - Checklist
Start A Business

How To Start A Business – Checklist

How To Start A Business - Checklist

How To Start A Consulting Business: Checklist

 

1. Business Ideas [Theory of Pii] 

Pii stands for passion, income, and impact. Make sure that the business you’re about to start meets these criteria: it involves doing work that you’re passionate about AND can generate enough income for your needs AND enables you to have a positive impact.
 
This step is critical. If you’re not passionate about the work you are doing you will NOT be able to compete with people that are passionate about the same work.
 
See my video/article about the ‘Theory of Pii’.
 

2. Legal

  • Corporation: Decide whether you should set up a corporation. Most people should create a corporation in order to separate the business from themselves.
  • Business License: Search online to see if your city, state, or region requires you to have a business license to offer the services you plan to offer.
  • Do a trademark search in your area for the business name and domain name you plan to use (to ensure that you are not about to use a name that is similar to a name that is already trademarked). Come back to this step after completing the Branding section below.
 
See my video/article about the ‘Legal Issues’.
 

3. Financial

  • Bank account. Select a bank that meets your requirements and set up a bank account for your business. Read professional (or trusted) reviews about the banks that you are considering. Make sure they can integrate with the accounting system you choose in the next step and make sure you are happy with the online banking features.
  • Accounting system. I strongly suggest you set up a 3rd party online accounting system like Quickbooks or Xero. It will integrate with your bank account, allow you to create invoices. It will also create various useful reports and financial statements on the go and create most of the information that your accountant will need to prepare your taxes. If you need help, talk to your accountant.
  • Taxes. Research your city, state, region or country for sales taxes, payroll taxes, or any other kind of tax that you may be required collect, report to the government, or pay to the government on an ongoing basis. If you need help, your accountant can these questions in 10 minutes.
 
See my video/article about the ‘Financial Issues’.
 

4. Services (and other revenue streams)

Make a list of the specific services that you plan to offer, who will deliver the service, and how much you will charge for the services. These are not final decisions. Just make a list based on your best estimate for now because this information will be refined (or replaced) based on the work you will do in the next sections.
See my video/article about the ’Services Development’.
Note that there are other revenue streams that can supplement revenue from services (or replace them). See my video/article about the ’Revenue Streams’.

5. Customer Research

After deciding on the services that you plan to offer you need to make sure that your prospective customers really do want those services. The question you’re trying to answer is this: is there an unsatisfied demand for the service that you want to offer? If the answer is yes, you’re good to go. If the answer is no, then you need to spend time looking for an unsatisfied demand that you’re capable of addressing.
Go to social groups (like Facebook groups), Quora, and old school industry forums to see what your prospective customers are talking about. What are their pain points? How can you reduce or remove the pain? Is there a genuine demand for your services?
Based on this research, adjust your service and/or price accordingly.
How To Start A Business - Checklist

6. Competitor Research

The simplest way to do competitor research is to look at the website, social presence, and reviews of your competitors. How do you compare to your competitors? What are they doing well? What are they not doing well?
Based on this research, adjust or refine your service and/or price accordingly.

7. Unique Selling Proposition

Before finalizing the services you’re going to offer you need a “unique selling proposition” (USP). The one question that you will need to answer every time you talk to a potential customer is, why should I choose you? You cannot reasonably expect to succeed if you don’t have a good answer to that question. Your answer to this question could be the difference between success and failure.
See my video/article about the ‘Unique Selling Proposition’.

8. Delivering The Service

When delivering your services, your primary goal should be to exceed the expectations of your client because it will lead to repeat business as well as good reviews and testimonials which will help you get new clients. You also need to deliver the services as efficiently as possible so that you can generate more revenue in less time (or with less resources). This is what you need:
  • Statement of work: You and your client need to be crystal clear about what you will both do (and not do) and when. It doesn’t have to be a complex document. Bullet points with a timeline can work.
  • Agreements: Be clear about the work to be delivered, pricing, dispute resolution, disclaimers to protect you in the event of legal action. Again, It doesn’t have to be a complex document. It could just be an agreement by email for small / simple projects.
  • Project management: Select a project management tool. If you want a tool that is simple to use and free, I suggest Trello. If you have more advanced requirements you probably already know what you need to do.
  • Plan on communicating clearly and frequently. Create an “efficient system”. For example, you communicate a minimum of once per day with every client in the am then work uninterrupted in the pm.
  • Ask your client if they are happy with the way things are going each time you hit a milestone
See my video/article about ‘Delivering the service’.

9. Customer Satisfaction

After completing the project you need to review everything as follows:
  • When the project is complete, send your client a survey.
  • After completing the survey, ask you a client for a review/testimonial/case study
See my video/article about the ‘Customer satisfaction’.

10.Marketing: Brand, Business Name, Domain

Now that you know who your target customer is, you know what’s most important to your target customer, you know who your competitors are, you know what your competitors do well and not so well, you know exactly what services you will provide, you have set your pricing and you have a USP – you have all the information you need to create a brand.
This is where you will create a name, logo, color scheme. Don’t underestimate this step. Your brand is what people think of you. A lot of people don’t understand what brand really is or means. I explain it this way – “your brand is what people think of you” and this is influenced by all of the written and visual information about you that they can see.
See my video/article about the ‘How to create a brand’ and ’How to select a domain”.

11. Marketing: Website

People that don’t know you will visit your website and they will form their view of you based on what they see. This is the only information they have, so their entire view of you is determined by your website and maybe your social presence.
Your website is not just a place where you upload some text and images about what you do. You should think of your website as a machine that attracts visitors and converts them into customers with minimal involvement from you. You also need to address a list of “trust factors” that will significantly impact your prospect’s willingness to engage with you.
See my video/article about the ’Trust Factors’.

12. Marketing: Promotion

Create an “overall marketing strategy” (see my suggestion below in “Content Strategy”).
Content Strategy
For most people I strongly suggest the following content strategy:
  • Creating one new piece of high-quality content once per week
  • Post it on your blog and social channels
This is the long list of benefits that come from this simple strategy:
  • The content demonstrates your skills and expertise
  • Your blog will be active and this is an important trust factor
  • Your social channels will be active and this is an important trust factor. Some people think that a dormant social profile means a dormant business.
  • Your articles can potentially rank well for some keyword searches and generate free traffic from search engines.
  • A link to the article can be sent to your email list once per week. This gives you a “legit’ reason for emailing them instead of spamming them with offers to buy your services. People on your email list will be reminded of your service, see more evidence of your expertise and you will be “top of mind” when they need your services in the future.
  • If you decide to use ads, this content will help you to increase your conversion rate
  • If you decide to partner with other businesses this content will make them feel more confident about working with you.
  • If you decide you want to generate referrals from other people, your referral partners and the referrals themselves will all be more likely to work with you if you have demonstrated your skills and expertise in your content.

 

Funnels

Create a sequence (the funnel) that outlines your customer journey. For example, if you want to attract clients with Search Engine Optimization that leads to a call and a sale of your services, your customer journey (the funnel) would be:
  • Keyword search > blog post > schedule a call > paying client.
  • You should also give people the option to signup to your newsletter (your weekly blog) then offer your services in the weekly email alert. People that do not become paying clients after scheduling a call will also receive the weekly email alert and this gives you the ability to win them over some time down the road.

Search

  • Search (organic):  You can use a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy that allows your content to appear in the search results for a keyword in your niche. If you follow my content strategy then you will have an SEO strategy in place without doing any extra work.
  • Search (Ads): If people are searching for your service then Google search ads is a great way to get in front of people that want what you are selling right now.

Social Media

Social Media – Overall Strategy
  • Decide which social channels to use. You should use the platform that is most popular with your target customers. If there is more than one, use the social platform that you personally prefer. Try to “squat” on your username on the social platforms that you don’t use so that you can maintain consistent branding if you decide to use them later.
  • If you follow my content strategy then you will have content for social media-ready once per week. The content demonstrates your expertise, reminds your followers of your services and any special promotions without doing any extra work.

Social Media – Organic

In order to generate revenue from social media (organically) you need to build a following then direct a portion of them to your website then encourage them to schedule a call or signup to your newsletter (then you will offer your services to them in your weekly email). You can build your following by engaging with your target market in the groups where they congregate on the social platform where you want to grow your following.

Social Media – Groups (and forums)

Find groups that relate to your topic then find questions by members that you can answer with your weekly content. Provide a bullet outline in the group chat and link to your article on your website for more detail. A portion of them will schedule a call or sign up for your email newsletter.

Advertising

If people are not actively searching for what you are selling then social media ads are a great way to create a highly target audience then start a promotion to people that would be interested in your services if they knew they existed. (Note how this is different from search ads above).

Repeat Customers

It’s much easier to generate revenue from existing customers than from people that have never been a customer. If you follow my content strategy then you will be contacting existing customers once per week and reminding them of your services and any special promotions without doing any extra work.

Referrals

The referral platform on ‘I Imagine’ is the most advanced in the world and it’s free so you should use it.

Partnerships

Look for businesses that will agree to enter into an arrangement with you where both of you cross-promote each others’ services to each others’ customers or followers. The ‘collaboration’ platform on ‘I Imagine’ allows you to find businesses that are willing to do this.

Email Marketing

If you follow my content strategy then you will have an effective email marketing strategy without doing any extra work.

Freelance Sites

Using freelance sites to get clients is a great way to get started with small jobs and they can help you to get your first customer reviews. However, these sites are also very competitive so you might not be able to charge as much as you think you are worth.
See my articles/videos about “Social media strategy”, “Search Engine Optimization”, “Email Marketing”, “Funnels”.

13.Marketing: Matrics & Analytics

After setting your marketing strategy into motion you need to make sure it actually works and that means setting up your analytics. There are 5 critical metrics that you should always focus on:
  • The number of visitors to the landing page
  • The % that converted to leads
  • The percentage that converted to customers
  • Average “customer acquisition cost” (CAC)
  • “Lifetime customer value” (LCV).
These 5 simple metrics can tell you almost everything you need to know about how effective your overall marketing strategy really is.
See my article/video about “Metrics & Analytics”
How To Start A Business - Checklist
How To Start A Business - Checklist
Adam Radly

Founder of ‘I Imagine’

> $100 Million raised for his businesses

> 1 Million views for his Tedx Talk about passion

Founder of World Reconciliation Day with Nelson Mandela

Learn more about Adam

How To Start A Business - Checklist How To Start A Business - Checklist How To Start A Business - Checklist How To Start A Business - Checklist How To Start A Business - Checklist

Adam Radly

Adam Radly

Founder of 'I Imagine'

> $100 Million raised for his businesses

> 1 Million views for his Tedx Talk about passion

Founder of World Reconciliation Day with Nelson Mandela

Learn more about Adam

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