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Tips to help launch a successful business

Family Features | 12/11/2018, 12:59 p.m.
Entrepreneurship is alive and well, even if the face of small business is evolving with the times. Autonomy in management ...

(Family Features) – Entrepreneurship is alive and well, even if the face of small business is evolving with the times. Autonomy in management and making dreams a reality are the reasons most cited by entrepreneurs looking to open a small business.

Nearly half of all respondents in the annual The UPS Store “Inside Small Business Survey” said they’d be optimistic about opening a small business this year. Of respondents who hope to open a small business, top motivators include being their own bosses [38 percent], followed by believing in the power of their own ideas [17 percent] and creating their next career paths [15 percent].

“The American Dream of owning your own business is still very much real, especially when compared to the rest of the developed world,” said Dr. Luke Pittaway, Ohio University College of Business Copeland Professor of Entrepreneurship.

However, how Americans are choosing to open small businesses is where there may be a shift.

“Consumer habits are changing,” Pittaway said. “That’s forcing Americans to consider how they open small businesses, whether it’s focusing more on e-commerce than actual store fronts or focusing on selling to a local community or region instead of a broader national audience.”

Starting a start-up

The process of launching a start-up can throw various unexpected obstacles your way, but there are numerous resources available to support a budding business.

“We understand the challenges of small business owners and offer products and services designed specifically to help and support small businesses,” said Tim Davis, president of The UPS Store Inc. “Small business owners are unparalleled in their passion for their businesses, and understanding that aspiration is critical to running a successful small business.”

This action plan from the experts at The UPS Store can help you get you on your way to launching a successful start-up:

  1. Analyze your target

audience

Start by performing extensive market research to understand your customers’ core necessities. Assessing your target demographic gives you a clear perspective on how to serve the people in it.

  1. Determine a legal

structure

Selecting the right legal structure ultimately determines how you handle income taxes and all government reporting requirements. Many small businesses fall under a sole proprietorship or limited liability company while bigger entities may identify as corporations.

  1. Establish your premises

Choosing the right business setting could be the difference between a cost-effective start-up and a moderately expensive one. Your work space should fall within your monthly budget while still satisfying the needs of your customers.

  1. Determine your budget and expenses

Assessing your available funds enables you to prioritize and assign an appropriate amount to your business assets. This should include necessities for daily operations, as well as secondary expenses, such as traveling and meetings.

  1. Develop a business plan

Think of a business plan as a road map that indicates where your start-up stands and where it is headed. If you need funding, it’s also a great tool to articulate your ideas, philosophies and goals.

  1. Set up a marketing plan

Conduct an analysis of your business’s strengths and weaknesses to devise strategies and tactics that account for challenges and opportunities your business is likely to face. The scale of your marketing plan will likely depend on resources you have available and your target audience, but should feature a variety of tactics. Your plan should include printed materials like direct mailers, business cards, newsletters, flyers, banners and posters, as well as digital to cover things like search and social media.