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Small Business Checklist Item # 2 – Research

We need to expand a little further on the Business name from yesterday. Please make sure that after you pick a business name, make sure you have the right to use it in your state. You can usually check this out with your Secretary of State website. Once you verify that you can get it, go to the register of deeds and fill out a DBA form to secure the name and then do it with the Secretary of State (depending on your business form, which we will discuss a little later)

Ok, on to Item #2. Research, Research, Research…..

So you know that you are good at doing something, or you have a great idea that you want to market. While this is a good start, you need to do thorough research to make sure you have all your ducks in a row. Here are a few things to research fully before you jump in with both feet.

Is what you plan on doing legal? This is a big one as you do not want to start a business and get into it just to find out that you are doing something illegal.  This can cost you big in the long run in regards to money and your reputation.

Who is your target market? This is forgotten a lot in business.  You can ask most small business owners and they usually do not know who their target market it.  This is key as you want to make sure that you advertise your product or service to the right people.  There is no money to waste with incorrect advertising, so target it to whom you believe will purchase your product or service.

Do you have the time? Owning a small business is not a get-rich-quick scheme, so if you think you are going to make millions overnight, please rethink what you are doing.  Small business owners work long hard days and usually everyday of the week in order to build their business.  Do you have the time to commit to such a large task?

Do you know your costs? Take the time in the beginning to research what you plan on selling and how much you are selling it for.  Check your competition around the area and see what they are selling their product or service for.  Can you do it for the same price or cheaper?  If not, think of some creative ways to market your company with some added benefits that are above and beyond that of your competition.  This can sometimes help your customers justify the added expense while purchasing from your company.  Also, make sure that you work out the profit margins, so you know that you are making money on all your sales.  This is key in succeeding in business and it needs to be done first.

How long will it take to get into Black? Build out a report that can assist you in showing when your company might make it into the black.  Most companies will run in the red for a couple of years before the break even and then start making money.  See if your product/service will actually ever make it into the black or if you will alway run in the red.

These items are just a few things to research, but will help you in the long run when starting the business and ultimately being successful.  If you  have any more suggestions for others, please leave a comment below.  Please look out for tomorrow and checklist item # 3.

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