Starting a Small Business
Here are 10 Steps that you can take to start your own small business:
1. Write a business plan
Your business plan is a step-by-step guide that you will follow to build and grow your company. Here is a helpful template that you can use to create your business plan.
2. Choose your “Niche Market”
A niche market is essentially the market that you want to target and sell your products and services to. For example, if you have an affinity for women owned businesses, then focus on selling products or services to them. If you enjoy building websites for small business startups, you should focus on selling web design packages to them.
3. Create a Business Name
There are two types of business names that you can create: Branded Business Names and Keyword Rich Business Names.
Branded Business Name – is unique to your company. Apple Computers, Windows, and Starbucks are examples of branded business names.
Keyword Rich Business Name – as the name implies has “keywords in them. These are great for ecommerce and other online businesses and may be used for other businesses as well. Examples of keyword rich business names are Flowers.com – where “Flowers” is the keyword in the name.
4. Register your business name
After you have selected your company name, you will need to get a “DBA” or “Doing Business As Name”. This is basically the name that you will do business under. You can apply for a “Doing Business As Name” at the local county clerk’s office near you. Registering your DBA name will typically cost no more than $40.
5. Determine your business structure
Here are the most common forms of business structures used: sole-proprietorship,partnership, LLC (Limited Liability Company), s-corp, corporation, or non-profit. Click here to learn more about the differences between these business structures. Note: When registering for your DBA, you will automatically get registered as a sole proprietorship.
6. Choose your business location
Choosing a location for your business is very important. Here are 5 important considerations for choosing your business location:
- What type of location is best for your business? (Home-Based, Storefront,Online)
- How much does it cost to lease or rent office space? How much can you afford to pay every month?
- What are the monthly expenses associated with my office location? (Utilities, Internet, Phone Services)
- Will your office setup allow for scalability and growth in your business?
7. Purchase a logo and branding materials for your business
A logo is used for “brand identification” for your company. Your logo and branding materials will be what people will associate your business with. The fastest way to get a logo for your company is to use a “Ready-Made logo”. These are predesigned graphics that you will only have to add your company name to. Some of the best ready-made logo websites that I’ve seen are:
As far as marketing materials go (letterhead, business cards, etc.), I recommend outsourcing these designs via oDesk.com. There are a ton of very talented freelancers here that you can use to outsource your branding packages to.
8. Get a tax identification number (Employer Identification Number)
Your EIN is the number that will be used to identify your company for tax purposes. Visit the IRS website here to get an EIN
9. Open a small business bank account
Your bank account should be used for all of your business related transactions. Credit Unions tend to have better offers than banks. You may want to consider speaking with a representative from a local credit union in your area regarding opening a small business banking account.
10. Create a website for your company (if possible)
With more than 2.2 billion internet users online, your small business definitely needs a web presence. Websites are very inexpensive these days and can be used as sales, marketing and advertisement resources for your small business. I am happy to announce that I am now offering affordable web design packages for small businesses and startups. Feel free to contact me for more information if you are interested.
Bonus: Promote, market and advertise your small business
Marketing is one of the most crucial focuses that you need to have in order to grow your business. Here are a few ways that you can market your business:
- Social Media (Facebook,Twitter,LinkedIn)
- Internet Marketing (Blogging, Content Marketing, Email Newsletters)
- Offline Marketing (Meetup Groups, Direct Mail, Every Door Direct Mail)
I hope that this information is helpful in getting you started with launching your small business. Cheers!