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What You Need to Start a Business in 2024

Thinking of starting a business this year? Here we cover everything you need to start a business — from marketing, business plans, financing, and essential tools.
Happy business owner holding an open sign. (What You Need to Start a Business in 2024 - Guidant Blog)

Are you ready to start a business in 2024? If so, you’re in good company. Nearly 70 percent of those surveyed by Franchise Insights believe that now is an ideal time to start a business — the highest business startup sentiment in fifteen months. According to Forbes, women are also starting more businesses at a remarkable rate.

If you’re full of business ideas (or even if you’re not) and have been dreaming about changing careers from employee to entrepreneur, 2024 is your year.

There’s a world of opportunities and challenges out there this year. With the evolving landscape of technology (think Artificial Intelligence, or AI and virtual assistants on the rise) and online business ideas, economic conditions, and consumer behavior — you’ll want to be well-prepared and informed to launch and sustain your ventures successfully. In this article, we’ll give you a comprehensive overview of the essential steps, strategies, and considerations for turning your entrepreneurial dreams into reality — no matter your business model and personal finances.

Here’s a sneak peek at what this blog will cover: Marketing research in the digital age, creating a strong business plan, determining the right business financing, and discovering invaluable tools for a successful business.

Ready to make your dream come true and start a business? See our 10 Steps to Starting a Business.

What You Need to Start a Business

Confident, smiling business owner crossing his arms. (What You Need to Start a Business in 2024 - Starting a Business, Guidant Blog)

1. Learn About Your Customers

You’ve likely heard the term “market research,” but do you know what it really means? According to Investopedia, market research refers to the “process of evaluating the viability of a new service or product through research conducted directly with potential customers.” From research, you can identify your target market and develop the product or service your customers desire.

Surveys and focus groups are the most common types of market research. You can perform them yourself or hire an outside vendor to complete the research for you. An example of an easy way a small business owner could get involved in market research is by sending out an email survey through a digital service like MailChimp or SurveyMonkey. Your potential customers would then answer a few questions, and you could then take that information and conduct a brainstorming session for your product or service, whether it’s a coffee shop, locksmith, or gym.

Another low-cost way to do market research? Social media. Post about your product or services on your favorite online platforms, such as Instagram, TikTok, Reddit, or Facebook, and see what performs the best.

From market analysis, you can gain key insights from your potential clients and customer base about your business ideas and your target market. You’ll also get a better idea of your market size. 

Ready to boost your marketing strategy? Check out How to Market Your Business Successfully

2. Create a Strong Business Plan

Sketches of components of a business plan. (What You Need to Start a Business in 2024 - Starting a Business, Guidant Blog)

A business plan is, without a doubt, a fundamental part of the process. Not only do you need a strong business plan if you’re going to apply for business financing, but it’s also a smart way to start thinking about your plans — from the conception of your product or service to the financial plan, customer service strategy, and marketing plan.

If the idea of writing a business plan makes you cringe, take heart. You can start small and work in sections, then put them all together into a larger document in the end. Here are a few of the sections or chapters you’ll want to include in your plan, as well as resources to get you started if you’re staring at a blank screen or page:

Guidant’s key components of a business plan:

  1. Cover Page and Table of Contents
  2. Executive Summary
  3. Company Description
  4. Market Plan and Analysis
  5. Organization and Management
  6. Service or Product
  7. Marketing and Sales
  8. Financing Analysis
  9. Funding Request
  10. Appendix

Visit Forbes for more information. And don’t forget to check out Google Docs or Microsoft Word for business plan templates. You’ll be one step closer to creating your master plan!

Want to write a loan-winning business plan? Take a look at our comprehensive guide on How to Write a Business Plan That Will Get Approved for a Loan.  

3. Determine the Right Business Funding for You

If financing is in your future — as it is for most entrepreneurs and small business owners — Guidant Financial can help with that, too. Many prospective business owners need help with startup costs. The business plan is a starting place to lay out all your information so that the financing process is quicker and easier. No matter what types of businesses you’re thinking about, you can pre-qualify with Guidant today.

Remember, you have options when it comes to funding your small business venture. Here are just a few where we’ve done the research for you:

  • Rollovers for Business Startups (ROBS), or 401(k) financing. ROBS is an option if you’re looking for debt-free financing. You can use your eligible retirement funds to start of buy a business or franchise. There are no tax penalties, and you start with cash — rather than debt. Qualifying is easy for ROBS; you don’t have to risk your home as collateral, and you don’t need a high credit score. You do need $50,000 in rollable retirement funds.
  • Small Business Administration (SBA) loans. If you’re familiar with SBA loans, you know they can have lower interest rates and longer repayment terms. Traditional business loans can be difficult to obtain, but Guidant can help with that.
  • Unsecured loans. If you don’t have collateral and quick funding, unsecured loans are another option. They do require a good credit score, but qualification is usually fast and easy, often closing in about three weeks. Interest rates are generally low, too.

Other options are available too, such as portfolio loans, equipment leasing, and growth capital. Each financing option has its own set of pros and cons so it’s important to find the one that is right for you, your business, and your financial situation.

Looking to fund your business? See the 7 Best Options for Small Business Funding

4. Equip Your Business with Invaluable Tools for Success

Smiling woman business owner holding a tablet next to floral arrangements. (What You Need to Start a Business in 2024 - Starting a Business, Guidant Blog)

Now that you have a better idea about market research and a business plan, as well as a plan for small business financing, you can think about the other tools that will help you start your business on the path to success. As you can imagine, there will be a lot to think about, so any way you can cut through the clutter and streamline processes will be a tremendous help to you. The marketing world is full of digital products and services such as social media platforms, design tools, and analytics tools such as Google Analytics. See our Top AI Tools for Small Businesses for more ideas.

Business services such as Guidant’s Payroll, Bookkeeping & Tax, and HR will benefit any small business owner or entrepreneur. The amount of time tasks like payroll and tax preparation can be immense, and you need all the time you can get to focus on your business. By letting Guidant do the work for you, you’ll see the benefits in no time. Here’s a rundown of Guidant’s business services that can help you and your business:

  • Guidant Payroll: Simplify your payday and save time and money with Guidant’s Payroll services. You can choose from core or premium plans, and you’ll have access to a dedicated expert for any questions.
  • Guidant Bookkeeping & Tax: Bookkeeping solutions from Guidant can keep you on top of your finances, and tax services help you prepare for tax season with ease.
  • Guidant HR: HR for small businesses doesn’t have to be complicated. Get assistance with compliance, employment law, and HR paperwork.
  • Guidant Business Valuations: Understanding the value of a business is crucial for major decisions like buying, selling, insuring, or other strategic choices — and Guidant offers affordable, effective solutions.

Does the thought of payroll stress you out? Discover How to Streamline Your Business and Save Time with payroll. 

Start a Business with Ease

Starting a business or franchise is exciting, whether it’s a sole proprietorship business offering social media marketing and graphic design services or a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) or C Corp providing cleaning services or personal trainers. With the excitement comes hard work, but with the business strategies, tips, and resources above, you’ll be well on your way to making a business with a solid client base that not only brings you joy — but brings financial success and independence, too.

No matter what business you’re dreaming up, Guidant can help you make your dream a reality with ease. As a leading provider in small business financing in the U.S. — having funded and supported over 30,000 small businesses — Guidant’s team of experts can help tailor a custom-made financing plan to fit your needs and goals. What’s more, Guidant is here to support you throughout the lifetime of your business with easy-to-use, affordable services ranging from payroll to bookkeeping to HR.

Call us today at 425-289-3200 for a free, no-pressure business consultation to get started — or pre-qualify in minutes for business financing now!

Guidant is our one-stop shop for us to do it all. And I will say that one of the characteristics of Guidant that I really appreciate is the commitment to service and getting it right.”

Tom Gonzalez, Woof Academy

Read the stories of REAL small business owners who work with Guidant.

Need Business Funding? Complete our quick pre-qual questionnaire to get started at Guidant Financial.

Want to Use ROBS to Start a Business?

Our step-by-step Guide to Rollovers for Business Startups is a complete handbook of everything you need to know about using ROBS to start or buy a small business or franchise.

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    Tips to control your future and direct your retirement funds.


    How to earn a salary, save for retirement and be your own boss.

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