JUMP: The Ultimate Guide to Starting and Growing Your Business JUMP: The Ultimate Guide to Starting and Growing Your Business

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Whether the idea to start your business struck you this morning or ten years ago, you’ve got an itch that needs to be scratched. It’s time to jump in and get started.

Maybe you’re trying to build a new software company that’s bigger than Google. Maybe you want to start your own landscaping company or architecture firm.

But, hm, how will you make the jump from average worker to business owner? How will you turn your brain waves into a company? We’ll show you how.

Remember, starting a business isn’t much different from setting up a lemonade stand. Both require products, prices, some startup cash, a place to stash incoming money, a supplier, and a way to get the word out.

Ok, ok…it’s not that simple, but it’s pretty close. And trust us — it’s not as hard as sending people to Mars.

It’s time to jump. We’re holding your hand.

Creating Your Business Baby

Leave the peculiar baby names to the celebrities. When it comes to naming your new business, there are best practices you should follow in order to set your business up for success:

What's equally important to giving your business the right name is creating your business brand. Your business is a living, breathing organism made up of culture, passion, and core values – AKA your brand DNA.

When you take the time to build a great brand DNA, you won't have any trouble hiring talented professionals to join your team. Remember, "If you build it, they will come"? Same thinking is applicable to your business dream.

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Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

When it comes to running your business, it's nice to have someone who can share both the success and stresses of running the business. That's why we strongly believe in starting a business with someone else. A co-founder can be a key factor in the success of your business.

Here are a few benefits of having a co-founder:

Choosing a co-founder isn't something that should be taken lightly. You need someone you can trust to make decisions, to get the job done, and to provide their expertise. If no one you already know comes to mind and you're searching for a co-founder, we've included websites that'll connect you to the business partner of your dreams.

The people you hire in the beginning stages are also essential to your company's success. If you don't have the funds or space to hire in-house employees, it's important to find skilled freelancers or contractors. When hiring in-house employees, they should not only fit the job description, but they should also fit the mold of the company culture you're trying to create.

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Getting Your Business Out There

The best team and culture in the world won't mean a thing if no one has heard of your business. That's why generating "buzz" – word-of-mouth marketing – is essential and needs to be a part of your marketing strategy. The beauty of buzz is that it lasts forever and is free.

So how do you generate buzz? Glad you asked:

Now that you've created buzz about your business, you need a platform to direct people to.

Enter, your website.

Even if you don't think your business model is the type to need a website, trust us, you do. A good business website isn't something that should be thrown together. A lot of strategy goes into. You want to create a site you're proud of and customers feel they can trust.

To ensure your website is successful, be prepared to hire a designer. A designer will deliver a professional looking site, in addition to a site that’s optimized for high conversion and user experience. If you do decide to create a website on your own, there are a lot of platforms available, such as: WordPress, Woothemes, and Squarespace.

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Products, Pricing & Financing, Oh My!

Creating product packages and prices is tough but important for scaling and recruiting new customers. And no matter what you do, resist the urge to give away freebies. Freebies won't help you measure results.

What can help you refine products and price packages is surveying customers to find out what they love about your business. Surveying the market to see how your competition compares is also essential. Use this data and lock you and your employees in a room for an intense brainstorm session, with the goal of narrowing down your ideas. Then be ready for a lot of price testing.

To build a quality product or service, however, you need money. Not to mention money to pay your employees. Many entrepreneurs tend to look for funding from investors. There are, however, other options:

Regardless of which option you choose, we recommend hiring a business lawyer to protect you as you start the process.

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The Business Necessities

Thanks to the flexibility technology provides, where you work isn't as important as it used to be. For instance, if you so choose, you can have employees spread throughout the country but still connected as if they were in the cube over.

Where you work all depends on your budget, employee location, and preference. Depending on office space availability and working arrangements, you can choose from any of the following working environments:

Although not as fun as choosing your office space, tax requirements, laws, and regulations are essential to running your business. But don't worry! There are plenty of resources and state government websites to help you get through the process of legally establishing your business and understanding the tax implications.

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Time to Take the Leap

Now that you have an idea of what you're in for, it's time to go for it. This guide will take you through each step outlined above in more detail so there are no surprises on your journey. Whether you're starting or growing your business, after reading this guide you'll be ready to take the next step to success.

Grasshopper provides 800 and toll free numbers as well as local phone numbers for businesses and allows them to use a virtual phone system to keep their employees connected anywhere, on any phone with features like call forwarding.