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12-Month Guide to Starting a Business in the New Year

12-Month Guide to Starting a Business in the New Year

Thinking of starting your own business? Get ahead in the new year by following these 12 steps.

The beginning of a new year is a great time to try something new. If you are feeling unsatisfied with your current job, it might be a good time to switch up your career. But instead of searching around for a dream job that may be out of reach, why not create your own by starting a business?

Owning a company comes with several benefits – you get to be your own boss, enjoy greater independence, and be more selective with your hours. But building your own business from the ground up can be very challenging. That’s why, for many people, opening a franchise can be more appealing. Choosing a reputable and successful franchisor like The UPS Store can grant you access to resources that guide you in running your business. You will also have an established brand on which to build your business, access to an intensive training program, and marketing materials to assist in your continued growth.

If you have decided to take your career into your own hands in 2017 and are ready to start building your own business franchise, let us walk you through the process. Below you will find 12 steps to follow throughout this year that may help you get your business running by next January.

1. Select a Business/Industry

Once you decide you are ready to start a new business, it’s time for research. Look at consumer trends, markets, successful businesses, etc., to figure out what industry would be a good fit for your abilities and interests.

Those looking to join a franchise will also need to do some in-depth research. There are opportunities to franchise in multiple industries, so decide which is most appealing to you. Narrow down the options to a few and find out what each franchise offers. Take your time exploring the companies, the resources they provide to their franchisees, and what is expected from each franchise owner.

2. Put Together a Business Plan

Before taking any major action, spend some time putting together a business plan for your new company. This will give you an outline to follow for launching and growing the business in the first few years. Per the U.S. Small Business Administration, a business plan generally includes the following:

  • An executive summary explaining the business and company goals
  • A company description noting what your business will do, why it’s different, and who it will serve
  • Market analysis exploring the industry and competitors
  • Plans for organization and management structure
  • Description of services/products

When going the franchise route, find out what materials the franchisor has available to guide you in setting up your location. The UPS Store offers intensive training and support for each of its franchisees, which helps new owners implement a top business model.

3. Figure Out Your Finances

Starting a business, whether a franchise or a start-up, requires a financial investment up front. Review your assets and determine the cost of opening-up shop in your location. Consider what funds will be necessary to set up a lease, hire employees, buy equipment, and cover other startup costs.

When you choose to start a franchise business, make sure you can meet the franchisor’s minimum financial requirements, which may address location costs and liquid assets. The UPS Store franchise costs and fees may vary depending on your location, but financing is available for new The UPS Store franchisees. For those planning to build their business in a small, rural community, The UPS Store has a discounted option that offers lower fees and start-up costs.

4. Choose Your Marketing Methods

You can offer the best service or product in the world, but if no one knows you exist, you won’t get customers. Devise a plan for marketing, including traditional, digital, and advertising tactics. Figure out your product differentiators, define your key marketing messages, and promote both consistently.

A major benefit of opening a franchise location as opposed to your own business is the marketing assistance many franchisors offer. With The UPS Store, franchisees not only get the brand recognition of a well-known company, but also the benefit of national advertising campaigns and marketing tools that help franchisees create their own customized marketing materials.

5. Set Goals and Start Planning 

After you figure out your message and how you are going to promote it, decide what your success looks like. Set realistic, achievable, and measurable goals for your first month, three months, six months, and year. Once you have your goals laid out, consider what you will need to accomplish in the next couple of years and map out how to get there to better plan for future growth. With a franchise, you can speak to other franchisees within the network to see how attainable these goals are and what modifications could help you achieve them sooner.

6. Get Business Licenses, Tax Information, and Insurance

Before you can open the doors to any new business, it’s important to get the required business licenses, set up your taxes, and purchase insurance coverage. Depending on your location and industry, you may have to purchase state and federal licenses or permits to legally run your business. You will also have to file taxes as a business, so you need to get a tax ID and understand your state and federal obligations so you can avoid penalty fees later. Additionally, to make sure the business is protected from accidents, you should consider purchasing commercial property, liability, and workers’ compensation insurance.

7. Find Your Customers

When you have a plan of action and your goals are set, you need to learn about your target customers. This ties into your marketing plan, but it involves a bit of research to find out who your customers are, where they are, the services they need, and what they expect. If you are running a franchise, this is a great time to talk to other franchisees about who they serve and how.

8. Manage Your Money, Time, and Energy Level

As you learn the ropes of business management, create a plan for spending your money, time, and energy. Whether it’s a brand new businesses or a franchise location, running a company requires a lot of all three. Figure out the best way to direct your money and energy into the business. Consider outsourcing routine business tasks and identify ways to delegate simple responsibilities to staff. Then, during the first few months of operation, make a note of any time-consuming tasks that could be done by someone else.

9. Create a Work-Life Balance 

Much like figuring out the best way to utilize your time and energy while working, it’s important to have a life outside of work. Running a business can quickly consume new owners, particularly at the beginning, so it’s important to have a plan in place ahead of time that allows for breaks and personal activities. While a successful business does require hard work and dedication, an overrun owner may lose motivation.

10. Work Your Business Network 

Aside from standard marketing and advertising tactics, use networking to your advantage when opening a new business. Attend events in the community to get your name out there and reach the people you will be serving. See if any old business contacts from previous jobs have resources or advice. When running a franchise business, take advantage of the franchisee community to expand your network and reach others who can help.

11. Train Your Employees

Hire promising and eager talent you can train in the most efficient processes. By the time your employees start working, they should have complete understanding of the products or services the business offers and the systems that are used. Take some extra time to train in customer service as well, as bad interactions can hurt a brand’s reputation. Franchisees of The UPS Store receive comprehensive training before their store opens so they can learn the ins and outs of the business model, how to effectively run the operation, and get advice for training employees.

12. Open the Doors

After a year of preparation and planning, it is finally time to open your doors. If you decide to start a franchise location with The UPS Store in the new year, we are available to help every step of the way. Contact us today for more information and guidance on how to get your business up and running.

We Proudly Support Our Veterans

Participating partners with the VetFran program, The UPS Store offers qualifying veterans $10,000 off their franchise fee to start their new business. To learn more, contact The UPS Store Franchise Development Team.

Ranked for 30 Consecutive Years

The UPS Store has been ranked #1 in the postal and business services category for 30 years and remains in the top 5 overall for the fourth consecutive year according to the Franchise 500 list.

Kristin Howard

Franchisee, Michigan

The reason my husband and I decided to go into franchising and specifically with The UPS Store, is the different opportunities we're given with the business. The UPS Store has name recognition as well as opportunities to expand.

Debbie Adams

Franchisee, Kentucky

What I enjoy most about being a The UPS Store owner is working with my customers. We are the solution specialists for our customers.

Jim George

Franchisee, Illinios

My favorite part about The UPS Store network is the camaraderie with other franchisees. Everybody loves to help everybody else. You’re really part of a family.

Greg Murray

Franchisee, Florida

The interesting thing about The UPS Store is that when a customer walks through the door there's an extremely high probability that they're coming there to do something that is important to them. So at the end of the day, what we do for customers is very important and they are trusting that we are going to do it well.

See the Full Testimonial

Mariana Huberman

Franchisee, Washington, D.C.

One of the things that I love about The UPS Store franchise system is that you're not ever in this by yourself. The franchisees of The UPS Store network are great.

Heidi Morris

Franchisee, Colorado

The thing I enjoy most about being a The UPS Store franchisee is I get to get up, go to work and know that I'm helping other business owners succeed in what they're doing.

Bob Brown

Franchisee, Tennessee

Owning a The UPS Store franchise has changed my life because it's finally given me the opportunity to engage my customers and my staff and be able to take real pride in what I do. As a franchisee, we get faced with solving peoples' problems every day and we do everything we possibly can to try to help.

Marie Jensen

Franchisee, Oregon

My favorite thing about The UPS Store is the variety. I love the variety of customers, I love the variety of services; getting to know the customers, meeting their needs, finding out how we can help them accomplish what they need to accomplish and seeing how happy they are. That makes me ecstatic.

Tad Mollnhauer

Franchisee, Florida

With the products and services that The UPS Store provides we can make a difference in people's lives and that is the best reason for being a The UPS Store owner.

Joy Batchelor

Franchisee, Idaho

What makes being a The UPS Store franchisee worthwhile at the end of the day is the customers. The customers treat us like we're family.

Paul Erchinger

Franchisee, Texas

One nice benefit of owning a The UPS Store franchise for me has been that it gives me the opportunity to be more involved in the community. As I make relationships with others it seems like no matter what the environment is, in one way or another business comes out of that and that's not my objective—it's been a secondary benefit to being involved in the community.

Chris Reminder

Franchisee, Ohio

There are several things that I really enjoy about being a The UPS Store franchisee. First and foremost it allows me to get to know the people in the local community and that is a lot of fun. We get to see people on a regular basis. We get to know their life stories. That's a lot of fun.

Bruce Jones

Franchisee, Kentucky

Since we have joined The UPS Store, our life has changed by just having more time to spend together as a family. We've been very fortunate with the stores that we have and we have a great staff that looks out for our best interest and we look out for theirs.

Lonnie Williams

Franchisee, Oklahoma

What makes The UPS Store so successful is it gives each individual an opportunity to grow with the network and just meet the challenges that are brought to them on a daily basis. Every day gives us a new opportunity to help another person, to help another small business, to answer a question and to solve a problem.

Jeff Graham

Franchisee, Alabama

I love my customers. I love my employees. I love every person, every face that comes into my store. I enjoy every day going into work and I can't see doing anything else for the rest of my life.

Stacie Stigar

Franchisee, Alaska

I think that this franchise is so successful because of all of the resources that are available to us as center owners—we have marketing materials, we have so many different opportunities for help from the home office, and it just really makes for a great franchise.

Don Pollard

Franchisee, New Jersey

I think the thing that makes this franchise successful is a number of things. First of all we have an outstanding system, we have a great product, a great brand, and we're able to attract dynamic people to run these centers and run the business. So I think when you put all that together it really provides for a winning combination.

Mary Ellen Nichols

Franchisee, Tennessee

The thing I love about the franchise is that you have the UPS name backing you but yet you also have the autonomy to make your own decisions to promote.

Laura Griffin

Franchisee, Florida

In the eight short months I've owned my The UPS Store it has really changed my life. I've gone from being an employee of someone else to being an employer of my associates. It's a big responsibility but it's exciting every day.

Sandy Scandrett

Franchisee, Wisconsin

Being a The UPS Store franchisee has improved every aspect of my life. It's very rewarding financially, professionally, and emotionally. I have a large number of regular customers who are really, really appreciative of everything we do.

Kristie Robison

Franchisee, Alabama

I would say owning a The UPS Store location has changed my life to where I have more time and flexibility. In owning your own business you get your store up and running and you get employees that you can trust that are going to help keep your store running. This allows me to attend my two boys' ball games and also travel and do things with them so it has really changed my life for the better.

See the Full Testimonial