Once you have an idea and a passion, starting a business can feel like a whirlwind. While it might feel like you have to dive in head-first right away, taking a step back to plan and organize can set you up for long term growth.

Before you begin your business journey, here are a few tasks and helpful reminders to check off your list.

Create a business plan. You may think business plans are only for large organizations, but every startup needs to have one. You can write one yourself. Business plans are meant to serve you, the entrepreneur, so there is no wrong way to write yours.

Most business plans include an executive summary, company description, market research, organization, service or product summary, marketing and sales strategy, funding requests and financial projections. You want to outline what you’re offering, where there’s a need for it, how you’re going to show people that you can fill the need and how you’re going to financially support the venture.

Taking time to think through these points can help you set your long and short-term goals and create a more compelling case for financial backers when it’s time to seek out capital.

Don’t overlook this essential first step. Set yourself up for success with a detailed plan that can get you organized and moving forward.

Identify your target market. It’s important to know who you’re selling your product or service to and what they want. Think about who your customer is, what they need and where you’ll find them. It may be helpful to create customer profiles or personas to better understand who you’re trying to reach.

Conduct audience research to identify customer goals as well as pain points and determine how your brand can help. Think about the size of your market and the demographics of your customers—things like income level and age. It’s also crucial to look into where your potential customers are located and how much they might be willing to pay for your product or service.

Once you have this information, it will be much easier to pursue a marketing strategy that is efficient and affordable.

Build a support system. You may be starting this business on your own or with a small team, but that doesn’t mean you’ll have to handle every aspect by yourself. Build partnerships to make your business run more smoothly.

Create a relationship with a bank you trust to secure financing for your venture, should you need it. Find an accountant who can help manage your finances. You may need to hire graphic design or web service professionals to help you get your website and branding off the ground.

Design your workspace. If you think working from home means lounging around in sweatpants on your couch all day, think again. The most productive home-based business owners dress for success and have a professional workspace that enables them to do their best work.

Think about the tasks your business requires you to perform every day, then outfit your workspace accordingly. If your job calls for being in front of a computer all day, consider investing in a comfortable chair and desk, preferably in a quiet room with good natural light. If your business calls for storing and shipping products, think about outfitting a larger room or space in your home to accommodate packages, shipping materials including boxes, etc.

From creating a business plan, to working with partners, to designing your workspace, understanding your needs and addressing them early means you’re taking important steps to set up your home-based business for success—right from the start.

Culled From Entrepreneur.com

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