When you think of a great business idea the excitement is what drives you to want to do everything immediately. But, before you can start your small business there are a number of steps that you need to take to ensure proper startup. The process to start a small business is not an over-night thing, and it does take a while with a lot of careful planning.
In this educational article on starting a small business we are going to show you some of these steps you should follow when starting a small business, as well as how long it would take to start your small business.
How long does it take to start a business?
There is no straight answer to how long it takes to start a small business. Why not? Because every business type is different and unique in it’s own way. And not just the business type, but the person starting the business. Your business location, your industry as well as the complexity of your business can have a lot to do with how long it takes to startup.
If you are just trying to launch a simple business, let’s say from home without the need for an office, no employees, no funding needed, no product’s need to be manufactured you could probably start your business in a few weeks. However if your business that you are planning on starting requires a physical location, if you need to hire employees and get funding, you are probably looking at a minimum of 3 months, and that’s if everything goes well.
Steps When Starting a Small Business
When it comes to starting your small business, careful planning must be done. Here are some of the important steps that you should follow when starting your small business.
Please keep in mind that the below list of steps doesn’t include time to prepare documents, like a business plan and agreements for business legal types, which are important but not directly related to the startup process.
- Finding a location – If you are going to work from home, you can start immediately. If you need a location, it might take 2-3 months to find it. The time to move into a place can really depend if there is anybody else in it at the moment (when their lease is up), if you have to do renovations..etc
- Starting your website, getting a phone number, local business licenses, and permits – Several weeks to a month, depending on whether you must get a variance for a home business or wait for an inspector for permits.
- Applying for business registration – About a month, including time to meet with an consultant or lawyer if you need to and decide on the business type and details. You can apply for business registration before you have a final location, and make that change later.
- Purchase and receive equipment and supplies – Depending on the complexity of your business, this can take several months. You will need a place to put everything, so you must coordinate deliveries with the availability of your business location.
- Determine financing needs and search for funding sources – This step can take many months, so you will need to start this process many months in advance of your planned startup
What takes the most time when starting a small business?
While everything takes time, there are some steps that can take longer, such as:
- Finding a location for your business and getting it ready. First, you must decide on a general area (city or town), then look around to see what is available, then negotiating for the lease or purchase of the building, and then renovating the building to suit your needs. Of course, this assumes that you don’t have to build from scratch, which can take many months.
- Obtaining funding loan. To get your small business funded, you must prepare a business plan which includes detailed financial statements, your marketing plan, and information about your management and operations. Putting together a business plan takes time. For example, you will have to figure out what to buy, how much it will cost, and where to get it. You must prepare income statements and other financial information. The difficult part starts happening when you start searching for funding sources outside of your family, friends and local banks. You could always get a little extra help and use our Funding Database to access over 1,000 funding sources (including government grants, loans and private investors).