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Have a New Small Business Up and Running in 8 Hours Flat

Starting a business isn’t complicated, contrary to what you might think. Sure, growing a business is tough, but getting started is easy. All you need is a foundation – an idea, some basic infrastructure, the product or service, and a marketing plan. You could get up and running in one day if you have the will.
Of course, you won’t be a full-fledged operation. In fact, you will likely end up with several broken processes. But getting started will allow you to test the waters, gain some much-needed traction, and boost your confidence. Also, broken processes can be fixed and refined later. Aim for good enough, not perfection, at least in the beginning.
So if you’ve been putting off launching your own small business because you think it’s too complicated or time–consuming, don’t! You could do it from 9 to 5 –think of it as just another day at the office. Here’s how:

9:00–9:30am Brainstorm an idea

Your idea is the heart of your business. As a rule of thumb, good ideas are the ones that align with your interests, unique skill set, experience, and market demand. It doesn’t have to be unique – almost all niches are saturated. Instead, ask yourself if you’re willing to beat existing businesses at their own game. Then, see if it’s something you see yourself doing for years to come.

9:30–10:00am Research the market

Market research is everything – if there’s one thing you take away from this post, make it this. Unless you can find and satisfy demand for your product or service, your business is destined for failure, like Knox News can confirm. On the other hand, even middle-of-the-road ventures will find their feet if the demand is high enough. Look at existing businesses in your niche and research their growth rate (and customer base) to save time.

blue ballpoint pen on white notebook to build a business plan

10:00–10:30am Prepare a one-page business plan

After your market research, you should have enough data to create a one-page business plan. You can’t make a full business plan in a day – but you can create a reference document (which could be shared with stakeholders). It will give you the clarity and direction you need to move forward. Include the following (rough estimates are okay at this stage):

  • The problem/demand: What you will be doing.
  • Solution: How you will be doing it.
  • Customer: Who you will be doing it for.
  • Competition: Who you will be outperforming.
  • Your advantage: How you will be doing the outperforming.
  • Your business model: How will you monetize your offering?
  • Financials: Your available budget and expenses.
  • Company info: Name, contact information, and brief description.

10:30–11:45am Take care of the legalities

Next, it’s time to tell the government about your new business. Filing the paperwork alone is time-consuming, but possible. You could also use an agency or a lawyer to save time, do it all without errors, and receive targeted advice. Here are important things to do:

  • An EIN: The EIN is your unique business tax number. Apply on the IRS website.
  • Incorporate: Entrepreneurs commonly form an LLC to protect their personal assets, but it’s optional.
  • Your trade name: If you don’t want to do business in your name, you will need a trade name.
  • Business license: You will have to apply for a business license in your county or city and provide an estimate of your projected revenues (it’s okay if you estimate wrong.).
  • Personal property tax: Working from home doesn’t typically attract a property tax. But if you buy business property, you will need to fill out a business personal property tax form.
  • Permits: Check with the local council or government for other permits required to do business in your region.
  • Seller permits: You may need a certificate of resale (at the state tax website) to sell goods.
  • Trademarks and patents: You may want to protect your property with a trademark or patent application (when applicable).
three round gold-colored coins on 100 US dollar banknotes for bank account

12:00–12:30am Take a break!

You’ve probably worked up a sweat. Take a breather, if you need it. When you come back, we’ll finish setting up your business.

12:30–1:00am Get a bank account

Smart entrepreneurs don’t mix personal money with business money – that’s how you run afoul of the IRS. Set up a bank account using your business name. Use any bank you like. You will need to show them your registered EIN.

1:00– 1:30am Set up your work processes using free or low-cost tools

Every product or service undergoes a journey – from conceptualization to purchase. You will need to build up work processes to facilitate said journey – think marketing, sales, administration, customer engagement, banking, product development, and more. To save time and effort, you can automate or speed everything up using apps. Research productivity, bookkeeping, inventory management, invoicing, time-tracking, payroll, and similar (your business type determines your needs).

Apps are huge time and money savers. For instance, if you’re working on a project with multiple people or teams, a document glut is a given. Instead of keeping track of so many individual documents (in different formats), you can use a PDF merging app to keep all of them in one file, cutting time on finding the document you need. You can order PDF files correctly, too, the PDF file merger tool.

1:30–2:00am Buy a domain and build a website

Dedicated business websites make you look professional and credible. They allow customers to research you and get a feel for your products and services. You can create a bare-bones website in 15 minutes using a DIY builder. You could also utilize Designworks NW LLC – we care about your business and can build a beautiful, engaging, optimized site on your behalf at an affordable price.

2:00–2:30 am Set yourself up on social media

Setting up business accounts on a slew of social media sites like LinkedIn and Facebook is a good idea. Again, they make you look professional. Furthermore, they allow you to network and interact with customers and clients, not to mention being great marketing mediums.

2:30–3:00 am Get a brand identity

Branding – defining your brand’s personality and expressing it through logos, slogans, and other mediums – makes you memorable. You need a solid brand to engage with your customers. It’s possible to DIY a basic brand logo and slogan in 30 minutes using an appropriate app.

white printing paper with Marketing Strategy text

3:00–3:30 am Create a marketing plan-of-action

Marketing is creating awareness of your new venture. Ideally, you want a full-fledged marketing plan, which will include concrete goals to achieve. For today, you can make a one-page plan – think up some ways to launch your venture (or take it for a test run) and make a big splash.

3:30–4:00 am Promote and sell

At this point, you should have a basic internet presence and a work process set up to accept orders. You are now ready to promote and sell. Just do it – it doesn’t have to be perfect, and you can hold a huge launch event later if needed. Some suggestions:

  • Call everyone you know and ask them to check out your site.
  • Put links to your landing page on social media (and in every group that you are part of).
  • Place an ad online or in the local paper.

4:00–4:30 am Build a customer database

You may receive a few bites. It may be a good idea to build a customer database, using a suitable app or just an excel sheet. Organize your leads by customer name, contact information, and potential importance (based on their profile).

4:30–5:00 am Consider hiring help  

Delegation is critical, according to Michigan State University. It frees up your time, so you can focus on what matters. Moreover, other people may have the skills you need. Consider hiring people – freelance, part-time, or full-time – to help you set up and grow your business.


If you followed this guide to the finish, congratulations – you’re the proud owner of a promising new business venture! Now comes the hard part – refining your foundation and growing. Keep learning and focus on your goals. It will likely take time to build up traction, but you will doubtless get there if you keep trying.

Cameron Ward – Guest writer, December 13, 2021.