Starting a business is a big decision. If you’ve never owned a business before, it's a big task to think through all the topics you need to consider as you launch your business. The good news is that StartUp Spokane has pulled together a roadmap for you, complete with the tools you need to move things forward. Let's explore!
Understanding your industry helps you make strategic decisions backed by data. Get a birds-eye view of your industry's trends and drivers with these helpful resources.
Knowing who your customers are -- and where to find them -- is a good first step in determining if you have a good business idea.
So who do you plan to sell to?
OTHER BUSINESSES? If you're selling to other businesses, here are a couple of tools that would be helpful to learn how to navigate.
CONSUMERS? If you're selling consumer-based goods or services, these tools can be helpful in your research!
Knowing your competition helps you figure out how to position your business's value in relation to what is already being offered.
The general recommendation from business attorneys* is to form a corporate entity. The most common route is to form an LLC. If you're interested in going that route, here are some tools that can help!
*We are not business attorneys, so make sure you consult a business attorney for professional advice.
This is very specific based on a business-by-business basis. The best starting point would be the State Department of Revenue because they issue business licenses.
Other permits and licenses to keep in mind depending on your business venture:
Prepare for the worst and hope for the best! The best way to protect your business is to do your due diligence ahead of any disasters or emergencies.
A good first step in protecting your business is to form a corporation. Consult a business attorney for professional advice and also take a look at the "Determine Your Business Legal Structure" tab above.
If your business plan includes opening a brick-and-mortar store, finding the perfect spot is key to your business's success!
Having a list of suppliers for your products and services gives you flexibility and peace of mind that you're not locked in to a single-source vendor.
Funding for startups can be really tough. Most banks and credit unions want to see 2-3 years of historical financial records before they'll loan to a business, which leaves startups in a really awkward spot.
Funding for business can be broken up into three main categories: grants, loans and equity funding. Let's tackle each of those separately.
Grants for for-profit entities are really rare. If you're hoping to find a grant, begin with this article: How to Tell If a Government Grant Offer Is a Scam or Legitimate
If you are a non-profit, there are grant research tools available:
For startups, we are lucky to have several organizations here in our region that will consider making a loan to startups:
For companies looking for angel investor, venture capital and/or private equity support, know that such investors tend to look for high-growth and scalable companies.
If you've made it this far, congratulations! Here are resources that can help you create a business plan and provide structure to your startup process.
There are a number of hats to wear as a business owner. That's a fact. While you don't have to be an expert in all subjects, being able to understand and speak the language can be invaluable. These resources can help you dive into more niche aspects of the business world.