Starting a Business in 2023: A Step-by-Step Checklist

There are few things more exciting – or more daunting – than starting a business, but what better time to start preparing for this next phase than at the start of a new year? With the complications of Covid-19 largely behind us now, 2023 could be a strong year to start making an impact in your market, and start realising a dream.

With that in mind, here’s the must-do checklist for any new entrepreneur who wants to get off on the right foot.

1. Get the business idea clear in your head

You can’t start a business without an idea, and you can’t get a business started the right way without having that idea clear in your mind.

Not just that, but you want to be able to make that idea clear to others. Work on a pitch – simple, not too long, and clear on your goals and what you think will make your business different from all the others.

2. Speak to a professional

There are many, many legal obligations that businesses – even brand new, fledgling businesses – need to fulfil, as well as other legal aspects that you’ll want to consider in order to protect yourself, your business, and your intellectual property as soon as possible.

Speaking with an experienced corporate solicitor as early in the process as possible will ensure you’re only ever working toward best case scenarios, and actively protecting yourself and your business against the worst.

3. Research

You may think you know your market inside out – or that you’re aware of all your competitors – but being certain on all the salient points takes hours of research. Don’t skip this step, even if you think you don’t have the time to waste.

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4. Write a business plan

This needs to be comprehensive and detailed. Don’t just rephrase your pitch a few times and call it a day – start working on projections. How much do you think you’ll need to invest? How much do you expect to start bringing in? How long before you break even or turn a profit? All these things – and more – need to be answered in your business plan.

This guide is great for breaking down all the elements your business plan will need.

5.     Develop a brand

The best businesses have clear and memorable branding that enables them to stand out to customers, and deliver their message consistently across all marketing channels, communications, and face-to-face experiences.

Allow yourself to be inspired by other successful businesses, but don’t be a copycat. Create something unique, and dedicate yourself to that image going forward.

6. Make/source your products 

Whether your business involves selling tangible products or SaaS, you’ll need to make sure you’re ready to start meeting customer demand. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you can meet demand as and when it comes along. To get customers on-side, you’ll want to be ready for them when they come along.

7. Build a website

Very few businesses can thrive these days without a website. Not just that, but the website in question needs to be strong – optimised for search engines, capable of taking the customer seamlessly through the buying process, fast-loading, reflective of your brand, and easy to use, to name just a few.

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This is another aspect that you probably don’t want to tackle yourself, unless you have the relevant experience. Avoid the ‘easy option’ of a website builder. A good website takes a bigger investment of time and money.

8. Register your business

A vital step, and one that you’ll want to get done as soon as possible. Registering a business is relatively straightforward, but you’ll need to work out what the business’s structure is going to be beforehand.

For this, you’ll want to speak with your corporate solicitor. Different structures have different implications for tax (and other responsibilities), so take time to make this decision.

9. Manage your business

Now we get to the tricky part. While nothing so far will prove as easy as we make it sound, actually getting stuck into the day-to-day of running and growing a business will represent the biggest learning curve this process entails.

From fulfilling customer orders to obtaining a business premises, hiring new talent to addressing your short – and long-term growth strategies, running a business takes a lot of dedication, perseverance, and skill.

10. Market your business

No business can thrive (or even survive) if it’s not being marketed properly to prospective customers. You’ll want to continue to make headway in your market, even as you start to get a stronger foothold. From networking to marketing campaigns, this is a lifelong pursuit – even for the most successful businesses.

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