You’re finally ready to take that plunge, and the great state of Michigan is an ideal place to open a new business. Whether you’re setting up a shop in a quaint small town like Frankenmuth or a thriving metropolis like Detroit, you should take some critical steps to give your business the best chance of success. Every business is different, and no business owner will have the same path to opening day.
However, there are a few critical steps that every new enterprise must take to cover their bases and protect their investment, including:
1. Finalize a Concept:
Before you invest in opening a business, you need to know your concept, goal, and customer base. This includes how you’ll market yourself, how you’ll distribute your product and provide your services, and how you plan to grow and build on your success. Before you open your doors, know your industry and your place in the market and address all important considerations to ensure you don’t have to course-correct.
Having a solid business plan can save you a lot of money, especially when developing your branding and dealing with third parties to design your logos and advertising.
2. Register Your Business:
Before you can legally open your doors, you need everything to be in order with the government—both federally and locally. You must pay taxes, so make sure you file with the IRS for a Federal Employee Identification Number. This helps formally identify a business in the eyes of the law.
Michigan has one of the more detailed and structured business registration laws in the U.S., so make sure you apply for any necessary licenses and permits before you open your doors. This could avoid costly fines and shutdowns later. It’s common for many businesses to need multiple permits, with specific commercial and industrial activities warranting independent certification.
3. Open a Bank Account:
You may have a personal bank account, but this isn’t the account you want to run your business out of. A business should have an independent bank account for several reasons, including greater liability protection for your personal assets and purchase protection for your customers. It also comes in handy during tax season when you need to identify business expenses.
Business accounts can accept credit card payments more efficiently and allow more opportunities for funding. Setting up a business account with a bank will give you access to a line of credit that can be useful if unexpected costs crop up or you need to make a significant up-front investment to get your business started.
4. Obtain Proper Insurance:
This is possibly the most critical step in setting your business up for success. Even if you do everything right, an unexpected disaster could put your business in a tight spot, and insurance gives you a safety net. You should look into property insurance and insurance on any valuable asset you have in the business. However, there’s one type of insurance that’s not only essential—it’s mandatory.
Michigan workers’ compensation laws require any business with three or more full-time employees or with one or more people for at least 35 hours a week to have workers’ compensation insurance. This insurance covers costs if an employee gets injured in the course of the job. This protects the employee and covers you as, in most cases, an employee gives up the right to sue when accepting workers’ compensation funds.
5. Hire a Strong Team:
A business is only as good as its employees. While many small businesses start with a shoestring team of their owner and maybe their family or some close friends, hiring your first batch of employees is a critical step. You should be able to trust these people with the fate of your business, so make sure to interview and vet each new hire carefully.
Ideal characteristics to look for include the ability to think on their feet, a history of commitment, and good people skills. Not every prospective employee has the experience you need for your business, so it’s ideal to have specific skills training plans. This also ensures everyone is on the same page when they first start.
6. Spread the News:
You’re almost ready to launch, but a business is only off to a good start when people know about it. This is especially important for a startup, and it’s better to spend smart on marketing than to spend big. This means knowing your customer base and knowing how to appeal to them.
Targeted advertising, both online and brick-and-mortar, is more effective than mass advertising. Even if you’re operating on a budget, don’t be afraid to start by offering promotions to allow people to sample your product or service for a lower price. This can be a great way to build long-lasting loyalty once they get a taste.
A Good Start Pays Dividends:
A business’ success or failure is often determined before they open their doors. These tips will protect your investment and increase your brand awareness. If you cover all your bases, you’ll have the tools you need to secure your spot in the market.