Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Share on Reddit Share on Pinterest Share on Linkedin Share on Tumblr According to the Global Entrepreneurship and Development Index (GDI), the U.S. offers the very best environment for cultivating entrepreneurship in the world, ranked No. 1 out of 138 countries. Some of the top cities, including New York, Cincinnati, and Los Angeles rank as some of the best in the world. If you hope you take advantage of that impressive statistic in hopes of creating a successful startup, don’t forget these essentials. In-Depth Knowledge of Your Industry and Market As an Entrepreneur, you not only need to be an expert on what you do, you’ll need to become an expert on what your competitors are doing and what the market is doing. Venture capitalists are more likely to fund a team or founder that’s worked in the industry for years as they’re usually more aware of the competitive landscape, opportunities and particular customer needs that make them more credible. A Well Thought Out Plan As the saying goes, “failing to plan is planning to fail.” It doesn’t matter how great your idea or product is, without a plan, it’s going to fail at the first or second stumbling block. At the same time, you’ll need to be flexible with that plan as there are almost always bumps in the road which means you may need to change things around a bit. Create a Business plan that includes your target demographic and a time frame spanning at least the first year. It should include intelligent projections for where you hope your Startup business will be going as well as all the research you’ve done. Your plan should also include a marketing strategy. As marketing comes in countless different forms, take time to research both online and offline strategies to decide what’s best for your business. A Trademarked Name A trademark can be incredibly valuable should you brand become successful. It provides a business with a unique identity as the character of your brand as well as providing legal protection from being infringed upon. Trademark registration is essential if you’re certain you’ll be using the name over the long haul. It’s the first step toward ensuring customers identify your services or products with only your brand. Think Amazon, McDonald’s, Nike – what would they be without their trademarked names? A Good Website It’s a must in today’s world to have an online presence. A good website will promote more personal customer engagement, building confidence for your brand. It allows you to be visible to the right people, presenting your face to the world so potential customers can seek out information about what you’re offering. It’s like an online storefront – it never closes and can be accessed at any time. Social Media Profiles In addition to a website, you’ll need to create social media profiles on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and the like. It will not only help you build your brand, but it will allow you to engage more effectively with your audience and provide better customer service too. Think of each profile you create as a landing page for your personal brand. It could be the first encounter someone has with your brand, and you want that first impression to be a good one. It should make the visitor want to know more about you and what you do.