Starting a business is a long and complicated process. You have to make very important financial decisions and there are various laws you have to contend with as well. It is about planning, preparation and management and you need to get it right if you want your business to be successful. Let’s take a look at the things you need to do in order to have a bigger chance of having a successful business.
✔ Writing a Business Plan
Although the first step is perhaps getting an idea of what sort of business you actually want to run, this is expressed through a business plan. This plan tells you what you want to do, how you want to do it and what you expect the result of this will be. Your business plan is your first strategic document and it will help you get all the other elements of your business, including your finances, together.
There is a lot of free training available that can help you learn the ins and outs of running a business. You can also learn about creating business plans, which is incredibly helpful. Do make sure you take note of where training is available, because even if you don’t need any now, you may need some when you want to expand your business or relocate it at a later stage.
✔ Getting Your Business Off the Ground
Once you have your business plan ready and you feel you are in the right place to actually get started, it is time to pick a business location. There are a lot of things to think about, including zoning laws, and you should also make sure you pick a location that is friendly for the customers you are trying to serve. Location is everything when it comes to creating a business.
Naturally, all of these cost money. Before you sign the lease on your business location, you have to have your finances in order. Make sure you use any government help that is available to you, including venture capital, loans and research grants, which can help you inject some much needed cash into your new venture.
- How to Find a Business Location
- Business Grants: Small Business Start Up Capital
- Explore Loans, Grants and Funding
✔ The Legality
Now, it is time to get started on the law, and this is perhaps one of the most complicated factors of all. It is generally recommended to hire an accountant to help you with this, and you may also want to enlist the services of a business lawyer. The first big decision you have to make is the type of business ownership. The possibilities are partnership, sole proprietorship, corporation, LLC (limited liability company), nonprofit, S corporation and cooperative.
Once you have decided this, you need to officially register your business name. This also means you need to come up with a good name for your business, although it is likely that you have already done this before. Most people know what they want to call their own business before they even know what they want to do with it. You need to register with the state government of the state in which your business operates. You may also want to consider trademarking your business name, which will stop anyone else from using it. The IRS and your own state revenue agency will be able to explain which one you need and what that means.
The next step of the legalities is getting your tax identification number. This is very important in order to make sure you pay the right taxes at the right time. The last thing you want to deal with as a new business is an IRS audit, after all. Unfortunately, the vast majority of tax offenses are committed by mistake, because new businesses simply do not know what they are doing. Although mistakes can be rectified, this can often be costly in terms of both money and time.
Once that part has been arranged, you need all the necessary licenses and permits to actually operate your business. This also includes insurance. You must speak to your federal, state and local authorities to find out which permits, licenses and insurance you need, as this varies. However, some form of liability insurance is almost always required.
Finally, you need to understand your responsibilities as an employer, if you intend to hire staff. This involves such things as insurances and payroll, as well as taxes. Most small to medium organizations outsource their payroll efforts to experienced companies. This may be a good idea, as the various rules and regulations involved with this aspect of a business are incredibly complex. The IRS does not look kindly on mistakes in payroll and this is something you have to get right. This takes real skill and knowledge and it is unlikely that you have this type of education, unless your business is one relating to that field. Furthermore, you probably want to focus on the actual nature of your own business, rather than on all the legalities and taxes involved in employer responsibilities.
- Types of Business Entities
- Register Your Business Name
- Protecting Your Business Name
- Tax Payer Identification Number
- Obtain Business Licenses and Permits
- Employers’ Responsibilities
As you can see, there is quite a lot involved in starting your business. However, don’t let this put you off. These things only have to be done once, after which you can concentrate on making your business a success. There is a lot of help out there for starting entrepreneurs as well, so take some time to look into those details. Although the process may be quite complicated and long, going through it properly will mean that you have a far greater chance of also running a successful business, which is what you are trying to achieve. Also remember that you don’t have to do it alone. You can hire the services of lawyers, accountants, payroll services and other experts to help you out.