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Strategy Planning Resources

Discover business strategy planning information and articles.

FAQs

The most common business structures are sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), S Corporation, and C Corporation. Sole proprietorships and partnerships are the easiest structures to set up, but offer no protection against debts and liabilities. Each structure has its own advantages, disadvantages, and limitations.

 

Read our expert summary on company structuring to choose the structure that best fits your business.

Before you launch your business, you should evaluate your business idea to see if it has the opportunity for success. Countless companies have failed because they have not met customers’ needs, offered a better product or service than existing ones, or created a profitable business model. Read our expert opinion on positioning your business opportunity statement here.

 

Another crucial step in starting a business is coming up with a business plan. This document includes information such as what your company will offer, how it will be organized, what the target market will be, how it can distinguish itself from competitors, how much money it will take to get started, and when you expect to be profitable.

 

While this is an important part of preparing yourself to start your own business, there are plenty of other steps as well. Our 12-step checklist offers a set of essential things you should do before you launch your business.

 

Additional Resources

What is a Business Plan and Why Do I Need One?

What Are the Main Purposes of a Business Plan?

The SBA's Guide to Writing a Business Plan

How to Write the Financial Section of a Business Plan

6 Types of Business Plan

Common Business Plan Mistakes

While some entrepreneurs are perfectly capable of working from a home office, others need a business location in order to succeed. This may be the case if you need a space that can support certain equipment or provide a working environment for multiple employees.

 

Consult with a real estate agent who specializes in commercial properties to help you identify available spaces. You should consider factors such as whether the location will be convenient for your customer base and offer a manageable commute for you and any employees.

 

It’s best to start small to keep expenses down, then expand when needed. Coworking spaces, which offer a shared work environment and common amenities to startups, can be a good introductory office space. Review our directory of government and foundation organizations to find places that oversee coworking spaces.

An online business can be managed from the comfort of your own home, using a website to connect to customers and track orders. Since the website will be the face of your company, it should be visually appealing, easy to navigate, and simple for customers to buy your products.

 

If you don’t have experience in building a website, hire a professional to assist you with this process. And since the internet is a crowded place, you should have a marketing plan in place to make your business stand out from the competition.

 

While an online business can be easy to set up, you should still follow the same process of creating a company with a physical location. Develop a business plan, structure your company properly, and make sure you’re in compliance with all laws and regulations.

It’s not uncommon for “solopreneurs” to take charge of every aspect of a business, from customer service to balancing the books. In partnerships, dividing responsibilities based on each individual’s strength is ideal. If you have the financial resources, you can hire employees or third-party contractors to manage individual sectors of the company.

 

You can also establish a Board of Advisors to offer expert advice on how to run the company, or a Board of Directors which will have direct control over company decisions. Learn more about these arrangements in our expert summary.

If your business is growing or becoming more complex, you may decide that a different company structure will be more advantageous than your current one. In general, you only need to register the new structure with your state; however, you may also need to update your name if an existing company has already been registered with the business structure you are transitioning to.

 

You may also need to take additional steps such as filing new paperwork, reapplying for licenses or permits, and updating your information with the Internal Revenue Service. You should also inform any vendors, such as your lender and insurer, of the change.

 

Consult with an attorney and/or accountant to make sure you take all necessary steps and are aware of how a change will affect your taxes.

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