Your first step to building a brand in what Forbes has called America’s #1 place for entrepreneurs, is coming prepared. Take the time to develop a strong pitch, a convincing executive summary, solid financial forecasts, market perspectives, and so forth. Without these insights in place, driving you and defining your objective, it’s going to be hard to compete.
Take Action: Check out our 100% free Business Planning Guide designed to get you from A-to-Z as pleasantly as possible. Plus, we provide access to tons of other great tools along the way. We’ll guide you step-by-step through the process and help refine all your core fundamentals: marketing, budgeting, milestones, pitch, etc. into a presentation-ready plan.
Quick Note: If you still need a business idea and want to explore some great options, TRUiC has an awesome resource for helping you find the right one.
Now it’s time to choose a business structure and in the process get a fair amount taken off your plate in one swoop. Along with the legal/financial benefits of registering a business, you secure a name and protect your personal assets (house, car, etc) in the process.
Most entrepreneurs form an LLC because it has all the benefits of a Corporation without the disadvantages like double taxation, board of directors or corporate officers. However if you’re trying to take your company public or raise substantial outside capital, you should probably form a Corporation.
Take Action: Since this step is so important and expensive if it’s not done correctly, we highly recommend investing 10 minutes to go over your options through our business structure comparison guide. You’ll get a better idea of the advantages and disadvantages of each while building a solid legal foundation for your business.
Home to the Pentagon and Mount Vernon (not to mention Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe…), Virginia’s tax code can get a little interesting depending on what type of business you intend on creating and under what sort of legal structure. Take a little time and leverage the countless resources you’ll gain – like Virginia Incentives.
Take Action: If you’re Lone Rangering this part, you’ll want to bookmark the Virginia Dept. of Taxation Business Section through Virginia.gov. It provides access to their forms, all the tax info you’ll need concerning your rights, localities, etc.
Depending on your industry and where you plan to open up shop you’ll either have plenty of regulatory red tape or a smidgen. That said, you’ve got two resources to make sure you get all licenses and permits taken care of:
Of the countless “steps” you’ll take as an entrepreneur and startup owner, this is the easiest. All you have to do is familiarize yourself with the benefits of business accounts, find a great institution that has the best for your platform, then set up branded accounts completely separate from personal accounts of any kind. Centralize your financials.
From historic Chesapeake Bay to the Appalachian Mountains, Virginia is one of the most influential areas of the modern world. Whether you set up shop in Alexandria or Virginia Beach, or perhaps in a smaller gem like Vienna or Charlottesville, you’re going to have it all and be centrally located in the northeast.
Take Action: We know picking a spot can be tough if it doesn’t somehow happen naturally through your personal/professional networks. If you’d like to brush up on everything that goes into making this decision, refer to our friendly guide on How to Choose the Perfect Location.
Virginia’s rocking a $462 billion dollar GDP. From local and county, to state-level programs, initiatives, networks, groups, and on and on you have no limits. Money flows through Virginia like the Salmon of Capistrano. Just be sure you know how much is needed to get your business off the ground and start there.
Take Action: You can browse our guide on How to Finance a Business to start generating ideas. Keep in mind the email course we mentioned in Step 1 really comes in handy here because planning and finances go together like peas and carrots.
All you may really need as a startup is a basic website, or even just a single landing page with all the pertinent details while you bring your business idea to life. What matters is the world has a way to investigate you, share your news, and engage if they aren’t located in the Virginia area.
Take Action: The first step is finding the right platform, which thankfully there are some great options out there. Head on over to our reviews of the top two in our book (Wix and Weebly) to get a head start if you don’t already have this in the bag.
Whether we’re talking about the digital sphere or the melding of cultures on the ground in Roanoke, where are your ideal customers/clients/users? Be as specific as you can, because each and every one of them are huge reservoirs waiting to be explored. There is no more powerful marketing asset than direct and honest feedback.
Take Action: Incentives drive effective marketing because they’re used to get your community to create valuable marketing for you, to give feedback, and they drive follow-through sales which typically account for the majority of positive margins. How are you using them to drive you brand?
At this point you should be the owner of an official, in-operation and being-marketed business. So please consider Startup Savant as a reliable resource to turn to for tools, insight from fellow change-makers, and motivational content that keeps you chugging along, onward and upward. The good life of a rising entrepreneur.