Being a start-up doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re a new company. A start-up can refer to a new business idea, product or service — something you hadn’t done before. Our guest contributor today, Terry Crenshaw, gives great tips and resources for any small business start-up.

Everyone knows that the economy is still in recovery mode after suffering through the recession of 2008; no matter what industry you work in, you are almost guaranteed to have felt the sting of the financial crisis. This, in turn, has led to the conservative limitation of overhead on behalf of many companies, naturally translating into the hiring of less staff. For those individuals looking for a job, this has created an interesting culture, as it has encouraged many workers to strike out on their own and pursue their previously stifled entrepreneurial ambitions. While this is very good in many ways, it is also dangerous for those new business owners that fail to prepare for the challenges that they and their brand will certainly face.

Start-ups fail for a number of reasons, but by utilizing the right resources and getting their ducks in a row, new business owners can certainly stand a chance in the tumultuous market. Inc., a trusted business resource, has provided many great resources that can lead you and your new business to success! By following these tips, you can set up your start-up without worrying if you are doing it right.

  1. Conduct a little research. Without market research, you will be flying blind in unfamiliar territory, a situation no business owner wants to face. By looking into the trends, competitors, and overall needs of the market, among other things, you will be able to tailor your business plan to offer a unique product or service – which is what you need to put your company on the map.
  2. What, exactly, will your business do? Many people mistakenly think that an idea is enough in and of itself to get a new company off the ground, but in reality you need a well developed business plan to map your goals and structure your organization in a way that will ultimately contribute to its success. The trick to creating the perfect business plan is to avoid mapping out every detail; you must compose a plan that is flexible if you hope to withstand the changes that the market will undergo over the coming years.
  3. Do you need to learn legalese? Yes, to a certain degree. Those letters at the end of your business’ name on your letterhead are there for more than just looks – they denote the legal aspect of your company. From a corporation to an LLC, and everything in between, you should take the time to weigh your options and choose the best legal structure for your goals.
  4. Are you ready to bring on a team? Even if you can start the business alone, a growing volume of work will force you to hire employees eventually. But you must remember that your team consists of more than you and your sales reps – it’s made up of you, your employees, your accountant, your lawyer, and your marketing partners, to name just a few members. You should take the time to shop around for a reliable accountant, an experienced lawyer, and an effective marketing partner, in addition to a responsible, knowledgeable staff, to ensure that all aspects of your business are ready to take off when you open your doors.
  5. Present your business to the world. Your marketing efforts are what will drive your sales, as you must get your name out there in order for anyone to even know that your company exists. With the Internet being such a popular resource for information, a website is the first place to start. Your website will represent your brand to the world, so be sure that it is of professional quality, pleasing to the eye, easy to navigate, informative, and highly polished before going live.

Start-ups fail often, but the truth is that with a lot of planning they don’t have to. The economy has forced many entrepreneurs to jump in head first, without really being able to set aside the time it takes to develop these important aspects of a business, but if you take care to think these issues through before opening your doors to consumers you will have a fighting chance in the world of business!

About the Author: Terry Crenshaw is a writer for who has focused her attention on what political professionals and their advisors, such as Peter Orszag, have to say about current economic policy. Through her work, Terry hopes to develop the public’s understanding of how politics can influence the economy.