Milestone 3: Launching the business
You have developed a plan, assessed your needs, and have the funding in place to start your business. Now, you are ready to offer your product or services to others! As you prepare for your launch, there are some actions that will ensure your business can legally operate and increase your business’s chances of success.
Evaluate business readiness
Before you open your doors, check the boxes on registering your business name and any licenses or permits required to operate your business. Your business readiness appraisal also includes testing the technology needed to conduct your business, website usability, communication systems, shipping processes, and payment processing. Get some help with your checklist – have family, friends and mentors click through your new website, testing links and looking for errors, for instance.
- Have you registered your business’s name?
Register your business with the Small Business Administration
- Have you or someone else developed your website?
Hire a military spouse web designer or search Google for custom website builders. There are many to choose from based on your budget and comfort level with technology and web design.
- Have you tested your website for accessibility and ease of use?
- User Experience Basics from Usability.gov
- Guide to Accessible Web Design and Development from Section508.gov
- Check your website builder for a 508 Compliance checklist or assessment.
- Are you aware of and/or do you understand the tax obligations and necessary documents you must prepare and/or file?
- Pay Taxes via the Small Business Administration
- Business Taxes via the Internal Revenue Service
- Have you opened a business bank account if necessary?
- Open a Business Bank Account via the Small Business Administration
- Have you evaluated your business insurance needs and obtained necessary insurance if applicable?
- Get Business Insurance via the Small Business Administration
- Have you tested the systems and processes customers and clients will use to contact you and access your goods or services to ensure they work properly and simply?
Ask multiple friends, family, and coworkers to complete an entire cycle of business with you.
- Search for your business on the internet
- Verify and test the phone number, email, or other messaging portal listed on your website
- Make a purchase
- Request a return
- Ensure all processes are working as intended before going live
SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION
Launch your Business
Turn your business into a reality. Register, file, and start doing business.
Google for Startups
Everything you need to move your business forward.
Google My business
Set up a free business profile and easily connect with customers across Google Search and Maps.
All done with this step?
Launch and market your business or self-employment enterprise
As an entrepreneur, it will be your responsibility to reach potential customers or clients. Marketing is essential to your business’s sustainability and growth, and it also gives you the chance to be creative. You have become an expert at seeing opportunities where others see obstacles, so this is your wheelhouse – whether or not you know it! Marketing your business will include creating and posting on social media platforms; developing materials such as business cards, brochures, and press kits or releases; and engaging in other outreach efforts in your community by leveraging your local, online, and military connections. Your ability to hardwire yourself quickly into a new community is going to serve your business well!
Marketing Your Business
SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION
Marketing 101: A Guide to Winning Customers
Google Marketing Platform for Small Businesses
Get free tools to make the most of your marketing, from site and app analytics to intuitive testing and more.
Learn more about online marketing campaigns from Google for Startups.
G Suite for Small Business
Use G Suite for business email, video conferencing, cloud storage, and file sharing. Get all the tools your team needs to collaborate and get more done.
All done with this step?
Continuing with small business mentorship
Maintaining a successful small business is greatly assisted by connecting with the small business community. Maintain your engagement with and continuously seek additional mentors throughout your time as a business owner. Business mentors can offer you expert advice, encouragement, and accountability. By cultivating a variety of mentors, you can also expand your network and identify areas for personal and professional growth and development. The small business community is a supportive network – don’t forget to pay it forward and share your knowledge with other small business owners as well!
A free service that provides you with a business counselor who mentors aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners.
American Corporate Partners
ACP’s free Mentoring Program connects you with corporate professionals for customized mentorships.
Local chambers of commerce
Full directory of local Chambers of Commerce. Find your local chamber here.
The 5 C’s of a “Good Fit” Mentor Relationship
Many entrepreneurs credit their success with having a mentor. A productive mentor relationship develops over time and is a two-way street. Following these five “C’s” can help you determine if your mentor relationship is meeting your needs:
- Context– Find your mentor match according to your desired area of expertise.
- Clarity– Mentor and mentee roles should be defined and both you and your mentor should agree on the goals of your mentor relationship.
- Compatibility– You and your mentor should have shared values and, if possible, similar interests. Your mentor is likely someone who inspires you and offers smart solutions and fresh perspectives. Your relationship should continue to grow with consistent interaction.
- Communication– You and your mentor should agree on the frequency and method of contact and communication.
- Commitment– Mentors and mentees must be accountable to one another. Meaning, they meet when scheduled and follow through with commitments made to one another.
A mentor relationship, when managed properly, should benefit the mentor and the mentee. If your mentor relationship is not meeting your expectations or needs, an honest discussion with your mentor may help you understand why. You can then apply those lessons learned as you seek a more suitable mentor.