Follow These Six Simple Steps to Starting Your Own Business
With the economy in a state of uncertainty, it is no surprise that so many individuals are starting to take control of their lives and their income by starting their own businesses. Whether you make hand-made gifts, write how-to e-books, or you want to try to make something more out of your basement micro-brewery, the truth is that getting a business off the ground really does not take that much time. In fact, you can get started by following these six simple steps.
#1 – Start Planning Now
Your dream of being an entrepreneur will remain a dream if you do not start taking action, and there is no time like the present. Start considering what type of business you want to build so you can be excited and passionate about your work day in and day out.
Do you have a favorite hobby that could be transformed into a business idea? What skills do you have that you could build a business around? Start formulating your plans and take actionable steps into helping your business become a reality.
#2 – Start Researching Your Business Idea
The hard truth about being an entrepreneur is that sometimes, a business idea is just not realistic. So before you get too excited, you need to research your business idea to see if it is something that can actually support being a business. In other words, if you want to start a small business, then you need to make sure that there is a market for your idea and that it is capable of providing a revenue stream that’s worth the time you are going to be putting in.
For example, if you are an expert sculptor and you want to sell your creations online, then you should research other sculptors to see how they are doing it, what they are charging, and how they are marketing their products. You also need to consider the amount of time it takes to sculpt your creations. If it takes you a week to finish one, then can you realistically build a business that will support your lifestyle with that type of output, or will your business have to remain a side project?
#3 – Test Your Idea
Before you get too financially involved, it pays to test out the waters to see if your business has potential. You can do this in a number of ways — from having friends and family test your products, to donating your home-made cookies to a charity event and asking for reviews. Whatever your business idea is, there should be a way to test it out before you risk too much of your own money.
#4 – Check Your Credit
When you first start a business, your personal credit is going to be very important because that is what most lenders are going to be looking at should you need to seek outside funding. Therefore, as early on in the business-building process as possible, check your credit and take the steps necessary to make it as strong as possible.
#5 – Remember the Details
There are several details that many first-time entrepreneurs miss when starting their businesses, but missing just one of these can have terrible consequences for your business. When starting your first business, be sure to remember to do the following:
- Contact the IRS to register your business and to see if your business needs a federal tax ID number (if it is sole proprietorship, then you probably won’t be required to have one)
- Contact your county clerk’s office to learn about zoning, licenses, and permits that may be required
- Contact your state’s sales tax department to find out what you need to know about your state’s sales tax
- Purchase an insurance policy capable of covering all of your equipment and any additional liability coverage (if applicable)
- Consult with a tax adviser to learn more about small-business taxation, including eligible deductions, quarterly tax payments, and more
#6 – Start Working on Your Business Credit
Once your business gets under way, building strong business credit will help it grow and foster valuable business relationships. Start by obtaining a D&B D-U-N-S® number for your business. After you establish a credit profile for your business, then you can obtain a small-business credit card (a secured card, if necessary) and try to negotiate terms with your vendors so they can start reporting your company’s business transactions to the business credit bureaus.
These six simple steps will help you get your business off the ground, but where it goes from there is completely up to you. Strive for excellent customer service, high-quality products or services, and continue to build your business credit, and the sky could be the limit.