I like this piece called “Entrepreneur Chic” at Latina, written by Kenrya Rankin Naasel. She has a nice breakdown of the startup process into eight steps. I particularly liked the first and second steps. Here’s her list:
- Pick an Expertise. I like this a lot. After deciding what you like, she says:
Next comes your single most important decision: making sure that there is actually a market for the thing you love to do. That’s exactly what Gladys Benitez-Reilly did when she started Viva Spanish! Language Programs, a company that teaches Spanish in schools and organizations in Cleveland. “It won’t feel like work if you’re passionate,” she says. “I took a look at my skill set and figured out what service I could provide that could be profitable and fill a need.”
- Write a Business Plan. She adds:
The biggest mistake [Marcia] Pledger sees people make with their business plan is not writing one at all! “We operated with no real plan for years,” Benitez-Reilly admits. “If we’d gone through the process, we might have defined our own direction, rather than relying on luck.” And don’t just stuff it in a drawer when it’s done. “Things don’t generally go as planned,” Pledger says, “so it’s critical to update it as things change.”
- Make It Official. That’s the name, the registration and so forth. Another quote:
Take care when picking a name. “This is crucial, as it’s the face of your business,” says Liliam M. Lopez, president and CEO of the United States Hispanic Women’s Chamber of Commerce. Ask yourself three questions: Is it easy to remember? Does it give an idea of what you do? Is it already being used? You can figure out the first two with the help of friends; for the third, do a trademark search on United States Patent and Trademark Office’s site (uspto.gov).
- Get Your Financing Straight
- Be Sure to Insure
- Spread the Word
- Know the Customer
- Learn How to Adjust
There are, of course, a lot of other lists around and other step-by-step guides; but this is another useful one. Particularly starting by choosing an expertise, and with planning.