Starting a Business
Thinking about starting a small business? We have helped many innovators start their own businesses, including retail sales, bars, restaurants, technology services, designers and inventors, physicians and medical device or service providers, and numerous internet and home-based businesses. Often, the difference between those who succeed and those who fail can be traced directly back to the business planning at their start-up. Those who had a solid plan and followed through on it were almost always more successful than those who impulsively chased after the next great thing.
Free Business Start-Up Consultation
Below is a very general ten-step business plan to get started. When you get to Step Four and know that starting a business is the right decision for you, please contact us to schedule a free initial consultation to see how we can help you put your plan in action. Want to speed up the process? Fill out our downloadable business questionnaire and submit it before scheduling an appointment!
Ten Steps to Starting a Business in Michigan
It is very important to begin your planning early and to be flexible to modify your plan as circumstances change, assumptions prove to be wrong, or any other factor that happens along the way. Business start-ups generally follow this predictable path (Step Four is our favorite):
Step 1: Take Personal and Family Inventory – Is this the right decision for you and your family? Do you have the motivation (and savings) to carry you through the rough times?
Step 2: Choose an Industry and Location of Your Business – What should I do and where should I locate my business? Why do you think this is a good industry location? Are similar businesses located in similar locations, and if so, do they appear to be successful there?
Step 3: Write a Rough Business Plan – How do you plan to make money with your business? Estimate your costs and sales and then project how much profit you can make. Ask yourself whether the return on your investment is a reasonable one.
Step 4: Meet with Your Small Business Attorney and Accountant – Choosing the right small business attorney and accountant will help you see if your numbers and assumptions are realistic. Both advisors have seen businesses that flourish as well as those that flounder and fail.
Step 5: Determine Funding and Modify Business Plan – How am I going to pay for all of this? Do I need to scale back my initial plans to maintain flexibility? What suggestions of the accountant and attorney do I need to include in my final business plan?
Step 6: Identify and Secure Intellectual Property – What type of intellectual property does your business own, and what is the most practical way of protecting it? Intellectual property includes trade names, ideas, logos, processes, vendors, and anything else that you think gives you an upper hand on the competition. Do not share these with anyone without protecting your rights to that information. Your business attorney will help you with a strategy for this.
Step 7: Round Out Your Professional Team – By now, you have a good idea of what you are going to do and where you want to do it, so now you need to start meeting with bankers, real estate agents, land lords, insurance agents, and other professional advisors to start making it happen.
Step 8: Put Together Your Business Team – You may already have a team in place, but it is good to make sure you have someone to cover these four basic areas: Sales, Marketing, Collections, and Compliance. This may just be you, but you should identify your responsibilities in each area and create a plan to stay on top of them.
Step 9: Market and Sell Your Product or Service – Get out there and make your business work for you!
Step 10: Rinse and Repeat or Rethink and Retreat – Periodically review your financial situation to determine (a) whether you are making money; (b) whether your return on investment is worth the effort – hint: a 1:1 ROI ratio was outlawed by the 14th Amendment; (c) determine whether to maintain the status quo, adjust course, or retreat. Meeting with your business lawyer and accountant regularly during the start-up period will help you adjust to the market.