Are you a Florida resident who’s tired of working for a bad manager? Do you hate the idea of working double-time to build someone else’s dream? Are you ready to take control of your own financial and career future?
If so, then it’s time for you to consider starting a business in Florida. Being an entrepreneur is certainly no easy task, but it’s ultimately one of the most financially and personally rewarding things that you can do.
Create a Business Plan
The first thing that you need to do as a fledgling entrepreneur is to create a business plan. The business plan is what will serve as your guiding north star as you navigate the tricky world of starting an organization.
The beginning of the business plan should be comprised of an executive summary of what the business will do and how it will operate. From there, you’ll go into specifics about each of the business’s operations.
Firstly, what is the product or service that your business will provide? Once you have that up and running, what will be your sales and marketing strategies to get customers? And how much revenue do you anticipate from those customers, and what’s the net profit after you consider the expenses of delivering the promised goods and services to said customers?
All of these questions and more are what a business plan will answer. And in many situations, a business plan will be necessary for you to move forward with acquiring investment or a loan for funding to offset the cost of starting a business in Florida.
Build Out the Legal Structure
When it comes to incorporating your business legally, there are several different options that you can choose in Florida.
First and foremost, you can operate the business as a sole proprietorship. That means that you will be the sole owner, liable for any financial situation but also in full control of the organization. The structure of the taxes that you pay on the profits will mirror the taxes that you pay today.
If there will be multiple owners in this venture, then you can consider a partnership or (preferably) an LLC. An LLC, or limited liability company, allows you to divvy up ownership between multiple folks while protecting the personal assets of all partner-owners.
Lastly, you can also choose to incorporate as a C corporation, which is the structure of large organizations listed on the stock market. This corporation type should really only be used once you grow into a large business with complex ownership requirements, as a C corporation is subject to double taxation.
Manufacture Product or Develop Service
Once you have your business officially created as a legal entity, you can now start manufacturing the product or developing the service that you will provide to customers.
If you’re a product-based business, then there will be a lot that goes into creating a manufacturing process and actually producing the goods. Not only do you need to identify suppliers, transport raw goods, and hire workers, but you also need to write standard operating procedures, ensure that OSHA requirements are met, and much more.
Service-based businesses have it easier from a process perspective. However, honing and developing a service to a high standard of quality takes time. In the beginning, your inexperience may lead to a lower quality service experience than you want to deliver.
The key here is to take the time to really invest in and learn the ins and outs of your customers’ problems. That will in turn allow you to deliver a solution that is highly relevant to them.
Market Your Business
Once your product/service is ready for customers, all that’s remaining is for you to go out there and start getting some paying clients!
Marketing your business and growing sales can sometimes feel like a chicken-and-egg problem. It’s hard to get customers without having previous customers to sing your praises.
That’s why getting your first 5-10 customers is simply going to be a grind. You may have to knock on doors, attend trade shows, or make cold calls. But once you have the first few to the light the way, then if you deliver a good customer experience many more are sure to follow.
One of the best small business marketing tips is to use creative strategies to get the word out. Everything from Nimlok Orlando exhibits to Internet-based contests is fair game and could help grow your revenue.
Gauge the Customer Experience
Once you have enough customers to start accumulating a good amount of data, take the time to really gauge the customer experience. How well are you solving your customer’s problems?
The best way to do this is to take a full-cycle approach. Interview the customer or send them a survey at every stage of the process.
When they buy, query them on the sales experience and how you could have made it better.
When they start using your product/service, ask them if it is matching expectations and if you can improve.
And when the service has concluded or the product is well-used, interview them on whether they would buy from you again. Be sure to use positive feedback as social proof for future customers.
Scale Your Business
Last but certainly not least, once you have your product/service, marketing, and customer experience rocking and rolling, it’s time to start scaling your Florida startup.
As you scale your business, you’ll definitely hit some growing pains. You’ll find areas in your process that are unoptimized for a large volume of customers. You may find an error in your financial documents. You might hire an employee who is the wrong fit and have to start over when they turn over.
Remember that all of these pains are part of a growing business. As long as your bottom line is moving upwards and you are getting more customers, you know that your business is right on track.
Starting a Business in Florida, Made Simple
There you have it! Equipped with this guide to the steps to starting a business in Florida, you should now be ready to take the plunge and begin working for yourself!
For more business advice, be sure to check out the rest of the articles on the website before you leave!