This week I want to talk about the Don Ryan Center for Innovation and how its programs can help a new business get started.

Establishing your own business might seem like a daunting process. However, if you are willing to take action, you can turn your business idea into a start-up. Of course, this process will take time and research.

Here is a list of some basic steps you need to begin to establish your new business:

1. The first thing that you must do is to form a clear vision for your start-up. Keep in mind that the best business ideas are those that try to solve a specific problem.

2. Another thing that you will need to do to ensure that your start-up will succeed is to research the market. Among the questions you will need to answer is whether there is enough audience for your product and how much competition you will face. Moreover, take a look at what your competitors are offering.

3. The next step is to determine your target audience. By defining your target audience, you can take specific actions that cater to this audience’s needs, thus beginning to build your much-needed customer base.

4. In the beginning, you will have a lot of questions and doubts. One of the best ways to solve these is to reach out to various industry insiders and hear what they have to say. Their expertise and experience will give you pointers on how to get through this challenging process.

5. Your start-up’s intellectual property, or IP, includes your patents and trademarks. By securing your IP from the beginning, you make sure that you protect your company from all the others that might try to copy you.

6. One more step that you need to take to establish your start-up is to write a business plan. Since you have already conducted market research, you already have the data you need to support your ideas and vision.

7. The truth is that one person cannot undertake all the responsibilities of a business. For this reason, you need to figure out what talents are required for the smooth operation of your business and how large your team should be.

8. Lastly, the most important step is funding your start-up. Figure out how you will finance your project.

All of these steps allow you to build a secure base for the establishment of your start-up.

The Don Ryan Center for Innovation is here to support your start-up and allow you to find the success you desire. The DRCI is a department of the Town of Bluffton. To get started, call  843-540-0405 or email

Lisa Sulka is the mayor of the Town of Bluffton.