Monday, September 23, 2013

How to Start a Business 101

Starting a business can be a scary thought.  Hopefully, your passion and desire far exceeds the fear monster. You can do it! But the question is "where do I begin?" 

Begin with the end in mind, literally.  What do you want to do with this business?  Are you starting it to have a legacy to leave for your kids?  Is it something you are doing just for a short time to make a few extra dollars?  Do you intend to sell the business to make a big windfall?  Answering questions such as these is helpful as you begin, because it lets your know how to structure your organization.  

Here are some basic steps for starting your business. These steps are not exhaustive. Speak with your attorney, CPA and local SBA office in order to seek specific information for your enterprise.

  1. Seek advice from your local SBA office, CPA, attorney or business consultant.
  2. Write a business plan.
  3. Decide on a legal business structure.
  4. Decide on a name and do your due diligence to ensure that you can use it.
  5. Register "Doing Business As" names.
  6. Decide on a Registered Agent.
  7. Protect your company's name using Copyright protection services from the US Copyright Office.
  8. Legally incorporate or register with the City and State.
  9. Obtain a Federal Employer Identification Number.
  10. Obtain a Dun and Bradstreet Number.
  11. Satisfy your business licensing requirements.
  12. Draft internal documents for your business.
  13. Satisfy insurance requirements for your business.
  14. Establish a business presence.
  15. Establish branding paraphernalia.
  16. Open a business bank account and merchant account.
  17. Establish proper accounting procedures.
  18. Get a business credit card.
  19. Identify where to get help.
  20. Complete additional filings as needed.
I know.  The list is long and there is a lot that goes into each step. Also, you do not have to complete the process, in the order mentioned above.  Despite the hard work, if you are passionate about your idea, you will do it.  Have fun while doing it and if the end that you have in mind is to pass something on to your beautiful little ones, then it is all worth it.

If YOU have specific questions about any of the steps mentioned, SHARE or POST your comments below.

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