Create a business plan
This is the roadmap for your business. It should layout what you expect to accomplish in the one month, six month and one year horizons. You can learn more about creating a business plan on the SBA’s (Small Business Association) website.
Choose the business’s name
This will be a key part of branding a business. Keep a name simple and original. The name should help convey what the business does. For more marketing punch try to have the same corporate name as your URL.
Choose a Legal Structure
Most businesses should form an LLC or Incorporate. Both of these legal structures help protect the owner’s assets from the debts and liabilities incurred by the company. There are also tax benefits for many businesses that incorporate. Learn about different legal structures.
Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN)
This is an essential step before a business can open a bank account, obtain financing, hire employees or establish accounts with vendors. Learn more about EINs.
Open a business bank account
This is the first step a business must take before it can get a merchant service account. A business bank account also makes it possible to take in revenue and deduct expenses.
Determine business license requirements
Every state has different requirements for businesses to operate. Businesses must be in compliance with county, state and federal law. One of the easiest states in which to stay in good standing is Delaware, a truly “business friendly” jurisdiction.
Before you start a business you must figure out how you will fund it. Will funding come from a bank, the SBA or investors? It is important not to underestimate how much starting capital a business needs. Many good businesses fail in their early stages because of cash flow problems.
Create a website
Almost every new business needs a website. A good website can help establish a brand and make a business look professional. It is a good idea to decide reserve a domain name while registering a company name.
Choose a location
This will be one of the most important decisions a business will make. If a company takes too much space then it is possible for the expense to sink the company. Not enough space will limit a business’s growth. If a business does not need physical space then it should consider a virtual office.
Set your criteria of success
It is hard to evaluate the performance of a young business. Before you start think of realistic interim goals. They can relate to sales goals (at six month we must have sales of $100,000) or marketing goals (we want forty unique visitors a day on our website by month three) or any other measure that you think will have a positive correlation with success.
Starting a business is like starting a little war. You want to know where you are going and how you are going to get there. After you determine the greater mission of your business, a humble check list may be one of your most valuable strategic weapons.
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