Florida is a great place to start a business. The market is huge, the taxes are low, and you can be surrounded by sun and sand all the time. There is a reason why so many people are moving there every year.
Running a business means having control over your life. You make all of the decisions, decide when you work and can hire a team that’s perfect for your business. There is no worry about having a toxic workplace or doing tasks that you think are unnecessary. However, opening a business is not just about having an idea and the clients magically appearing. You need to lay the groundwork to have a successful and sustainable company from the launch onwards. Here is a step-by-step guide to launch your startup and have it primed for growth.
Step 1: Research Your Idea
Assuming you have an idea for a business, you first have to see if it is viable. There is a lot of legwork you need to do to get this right. The last thing you want is to launch your business and find out that there is already an established business doing the exact same thing.
Do a google search for your product or service. See if anyone else is doing what you want to do. Even if they are, there may be room for more in the market. This is especially true if you can do something different than your potential competition. It could be a tweak or improvement to a product, or that you think you can market it better. You may also be able to move forward safely even if someone else is doing it, as long as they are not in your local market. For example, if you want to open a Mexican restaurant and there isn’t one for miles, then you can probably go ahead.
Step 2: Have a Plan
You might think that you have such a great idea that all you need to do is get the word out, and you will be raking in the cash. You might be right, but after that initial success wears off, then what will you do? You need a plan for your business for the short-term and the long-term. It will provide you with a realistic path to running your business efficiently and effectively for the next few years.
Your business plan should outline every aspect of your operations and how you will bring in revenue while minimizing expenses. Plan out your marketing, your logistics, your sourcing, your staffing, and everything in between. A comprehensive business plan isn’t only useful for you. It is also valuable for investors and lenders so that they can see where you plan to go with your business. Most likely they will not invest in you if you don’t have a plan in place.
Step 3: Find a Location
You will need to decide early on where you want your business to be. If it’s a brick-and-mortar business, then you need a spot with the opportunity to have walk-up traffic that’s easy to reach for your customers. Parking and storage are major factors, so make sure there is access to both. If your business does not require a place for customers to come, then you must decide whether you are going to work from home or have an office space for you and your employees. It all depends on how you want to run things. Many startups launched with staff working remotely, but then purchase or lease space when the company starts to grow. Your location could potentially be a very high percentage of your budget, so make your choice wisely.
Step 4: Funding
You will need startup funds for your business. If you are going to be a freelancer working from home, then you may only need a laptop. However, most businesses require some sort of equipment, furniture, or staffing. You can self-fund if you have the money, however, that means you also take on all of the risk. Funding investors is great, although that means you will need to give them some of the profit. Several government programs provide loans and grants for new businesses. Take a look at your options and decide which path will work best for you.
Step 5: Insurance Coverage
The fact is that if you don’t have the right Florida business insurance, your business will be vulnerable. You could get sued if a client gets hurt, you might have a data breach, or a hurricane could damage or destroy your building. If you are running a landscaping business, you can get the right landscaping insurance coverage and make sure you are fully protected.Do you use your own vehicle for business tasks? Then you might require commercial automobile coverage. Florida, like almost every state, requires businesses to have workers’ compensation insurance as well. If you protect your business right it will be able to withstand any storms, both literal and figurative, that come its way.
Step 6: Put Your Team in Place
Unless you are going to run your business on your own, your employees will be your most important assets. When you have a startup, it can mean long nights and stressful situations. You need a team around you that can handle those extra hours without driving each other crazy. Take stock of your strengths and weaknesses, and build your team around them. Hire for your deficits, and choose people you think you will mesh with personally as well as professionally. You don’t have to be friends, but you want people on your team who will thrive under pressure and get work done in a pinch.
Step 7: Marketing
No matter how great your idea is, you won’t be able to gain customers if nobody knows your business exists. Start getting the word out well ahead of your launch. Build content into your website months in advance so that your search engine optimization efforts will already be paying dividends by the time you go live. Use social media to target your key demographics that you think will be most likely to have an interest in your products and services. Make a splash on some one-time television and radio ads to reach the broadest audience possible. Get your brand in front of eyeballs, and the people will come. If you also provide an excellent product and great customer service, they will keep coming back.
Once you’ve launched, you move on to the business of keeping your company afloat and helping it grow into the future. That’s where the real work will begin. However, if you’ve laid the right groundwork, there is no reason you can’t build something sustainable and profitable for years to come.