4 Things Every Startup Needs  

When the Great Recession forced many people onto unemployment, Americans began to get creative. It was the perfect excuse to do one of two things: Go back to school or start your own business. Working for yourself has always been the American dream, and what better time to do it when you don’t have the stability of a full-time job? While many startups fail in the first year or two, those that succeed have a few secrets. What do the successful ones have that the failed ones don’t?

First, keep in mind that not everyone is cut out to be a sole proprietor or business owner. However, if you’ve been kicking the idea around for quite awhile, you likely have what it takes. Beyond ambition, drive, business sense, skills and the ability to schmooze in some instances, you also need some very tangible things to get started. Here’s the non-exhaustive list to build your foundation.

1. A written business plan

For many, this is the worst part of starting a business because writing a business plan feels like both schoolwork and real work. However, it’s crucial to provide yourself and any partners with an outline that’s agreed upon. The Small Business Association (SBA) can provide help in this department at no charge. It’s paramount to draft everyone’s roles, especially if you’re starting a business with others, in order to avoid confusion down the road.

2. Business cards

Don’t underestimate the power of the business card or when you might bump into someone who could be your next great client or partner. It’s a traditional tactic, but one that can work wonders. Ensure that it’s quality, professional and with you at all times. In addition, consider apps that let you swap digital business cards.

3. A home base

You might not be able to afford a rented commercial space yet, but even if you’re starting a business from your garage it needs to be properly set up. Having a “business space” encourages you to “go to work” just like you would a normal job. It also helps with separation between work and home so you’re not grinding away 24/7.

4. Quality tools

What these tools are will depend on your industry, but don’t try to start a business with subpar materials. Graphic designers need the best laptops and software, for example. Remember this is a business write-off, so get the best from the start.

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