July 30, 2020

Starting a Business During a Pandemic: A Definitive Guide

No matter which business you are starting, a significant amount of planning and financial decision-making and legal activities go into it. The current pandemic situation has created a lot of strain on entrepreneurs and individuals who want to launch new business ventures. The pandemic has made things tough and is leading many people to look online for ideas on "How to start a business with no money” and “How to set up small business” or “entrepreneur guide pdf “in difficult times. 

Steps To Start a Small Business 

Even in the current landscape, the steps on how to start a business from scratch are typically the same. You may have to adopt a different approach, but there are certain aspects that you cannot skip. Here is a definitive guide to starting a business during the pandemic:

1. Market Research is Crucial

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No matter your potential business plans, you need to conduct a right amount of research before venturing into the business landscape. That will help you find appropriate business opportunities, create a stronger base, and set you up for success. Market research is the way to gather sufficient information about other businesses operating in the field and your area. It will also give you insight into potential customers. You can use this information to make smarter business decisions. It will also help you determine how that particular sector is doing during these difficult times and whether it is a viable option during an economic downturn.

2. Create Your Business Plan

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A business plan becomes the foundation of a business, and you need to write one effectively. Whenever you look online for "startup guide pdf," you will always mention a business plan. If you follow an entrepreneur guide book, it will help you go step by step without missing anything important. 

Focus on creating a detailed and comprehensive business plan as it will guide you through all the stages of launching and managing the business. That becomes the basis or roadmap that you need to follow to ensure that you can move forth fairly smoothly and make a success of your venture. The business plan is crucial because it’s the tool you would use while approaching and convincing people to invest in your company or work with you. 

3. Plan Business Funding 

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The business plan will also help you determine how much capital you would need while starting on your business venture. Financial choices and funding are an essential part of a business. During the pandemic, this aspect becomes critical because investors will be more discerning while investing in any business venture. They would want to see how you are different and whether you have the ability and tenacity to weather storms if and when they come up. The various avenues that you can manage funding from include: 

  • Self-funding
  • Venture capital from investors
  • Crowdfunding 
  • Small business loan 
  • Small Business Administration investment programs (Use Lender Match to find lenders that offer SBA-guaranteed loans)

4. Select Your Business Location

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This is another one of the crucial steps to start a small business. Even if you are looking for ways on how to start a business online, you would still need the right business location. This choice would impact legal requirements, revenue, and taxes as well. This is also the time you need to revisit any location choices you might have made pre-pandemic. Determine which locations have been impacted more and why, and that will help you make a better-informed decision about your business location.

5. Choose Your Business Structure

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Consult a business lawyer to guide you in this aspect. The legal structure you opt for is crucial because that will have a bearing on your taxes and personal liability. It will also influence things like day-to-day business operations, benefits, and legal protections. You need to choose one that offers the right balance of these things. The different business structures to choose from include:

  • Sole proprietorship
  • Partnership
  • Limited liability company (LLC)
  • Corporation 
  • Nonprofit corporation
  • Cooperative
  • Combine different business structures

6. Choose a Name for your Business 

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Some amount of market research and creativity is all you need to find an appropriate business name. Pick one that is a reflection of your brand identity. It should sync with the services or products you are offering. If you look at any guide on “how to set up small business," you will find choosing a business name mentioned as one of the crucial steps. Once you have picked the name you would also have to register it and protect it in various ways:

  • Entity name protects at the state level
  • Trademark gives federal level cover
  • Doing Business As or DBA will not provide legal protection; however, you might need it legally
  • Domain name is to protect your business website address

Each one of these name registrations is independent of each other legally. Most small businesses try to use the same name for every registration, however, that isn't always required.

7. Register Your Business

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Get state and federal tax ID numbers- these are the EIN (Employer Identification Number) and are somewhat like a social security number specifically for your business and allow you to pay federal and state taxes.

Aside from these steps, you would also have to apply for all the relevant permits and licenses, and you would need a combination of these from state and federal agencies. The fees and requirements for these would depend on factors like business location and activities and the existing government rules.

If you look at an online guide- Forbes how to start a business, you will also learn that you need to open a business bank account. This account is necessary for you to remain protected and legally compliant while helping your employees and customers. 

Get the necessary business insurance for protection from any unexpected costs of operating your business. These are the basic steps to follow while starting a business during a pandemic. While this may not seem like the best time to invest in and start a business, if you follow the steps and take calculated risks and make prudent choices, your effort and diligence will pay off. 

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