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First Steps in Business

First Steps In BusinessSo you have this great idea for a business, you make incredible cakes, you are a champion knitter or you can arrange flowers like no one else. You’re ready to start a business, except now what do you do?

Well, there are a few steps, no question. I decided to start with those that are the most important to protect your ideas and make the business official. I’ll be adding on to this article as time goes by, but at least you will have a great place to start!

Congratulations for even thinking about this and reading up on it. Most people keep their great ideas to themselves, or they allow them to die in the “Huh…that would be fun” idea phase.

Start with a business plan. Make sure you know that your business can make you money. It’s wonderful to start up a business just based on your passion, but unless you’re independently wealthy (and if you are, congrats!) you will need your business to make you money.

I would suggest that you start by writing your business plan down. I love this business plan software: BizPlan Business Software.

After you’ve come to the conclusion that you can start your business and make money, you’ll want to get incorporated. The details of that process can be found here: www.allstatecorporateservices.com. This process can take just a few weeks, or you can pay an extra fee to have the process expedited. If you use a service like this, you can sign up right online, or you can call their number and talk to a representative about which kind of an LLC you should start, and what the pros and cons are of different kinds. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!

Once you’ve been incorporated, you will receive a package that will include your “Articles of Incorporation,” your tax ID and a few other official documents. The tax ID number will allow you to open up your business bank account. It’s a good idea when you open your account to look at the fees associated with transactions and any minimum balance requirements. Also, ask about a credit card with award points and lines of credit. 

If you need to get a loan in order to start your business, or you want to bring in investors, the BizPlan software mentioned above will really walk you through what you need to do to prepare for those meetings and requests. Make sure your data is sound and that you’ve really asked yourself the tough questions.

Officially, you are now in business. Yep, it’s that simple. Now, of course there is a lot more to do, but these are the basic requirements for opening up shop. I highly recommend getting an accountant that understands LLCs and the best ways to work through the LLC for your taxes. A good accountant shouldn’t cost too much, and they will teach you about passing your expenses through the LLC to save on taxes. You should also discuss whether or not you should take a salary through official pay checks or if you should draw from the business as you need.

Some other questions to consider are whether or not you need to trademark your idea. For this, we suggest finding a lawyer instead of going through a business like the one we mentioned above. Most of those companies will offer that service, but I’ve found that they aren’t that attentive. It’s best to hire a lawyer, and have them help you through the process. It will cost a little bit more, but it will be worth all the headaches it will save you. If you ask around, you’re sure to find a lawyer that can help you. Go with a personal referral over someone you can find on the internet — just a suggestion.

These are your first steps that are more technical and can be followed across the board. Each business is different and you’ll need to take the necessary next steps after this that make sense for your specific business. I highly recommend finding a mentor and talking to other people that are entrepreneurs. You’ll find that most people are more than happy to talk about what they’ve gone through and lessons they wish people had shared with them.

Again, congratulations on thinking about starting your own business! As you go through your journey, Better Way Moms would like to hear about your journey. Some of your stories may be published here!

Author: Sarah

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