Ever dream or think about starting your own business? Do you feel overwhelmed with where to begin in order to make your dream become a reality? That’s where I found myself about two years ago when I realized I was ready to launch my business. I was given advice during the process, but had to learn a lot on my own through research. Now that my business has been launched and I’ve learned a few valuable things along the way, I’ve summarized helpful tips and information into 6 key steps you need to know in order to get your business started.
1. Secure A Business Name & Domain:
While you’re brainstorming about the name of your business, I would highly suggest checking for the availability of the domain, as well as the availability registered in the state of Texas. You won’t be able to secure your business name if it’s already taken once you file for your business entity (see step 4). You definitely want to ensure your website address will be available to match your business name to keep everything cohesive from a marketing perspective. You can search available domain names on websites where you want to host your site. To check availability for a business name in the state of Texas, I did a search through Legal Zoom which I later utilized to file for my LLC. For my website domain, I used Squarespace.
2. Design Your Logo:
With my Marketing background, I can’t stress how important it is to invest in paying a graphic artist to create a professional logo for your business. Your logo is part of the foundation to your branding and so many other things in your business. You want to make sure you have good design files for a professional image on things such as your website, business cards, promotional products, printed materials, etc. I actually help businesses with logos and graphic design, so if you are searching for a local professional to help you with that, please contact me at the information below and I would love to work with you!
3. Build Your Website:
Once you have your domain and business name secured and logo designed, it’s time to develop your website. Websites are intended to drive traffic to your site to learn more about you and your services. You always want a call to action on any kind of Marketing piece to direct attention back to your website. If you’re looking to cut cost, check out companies like Squarespace where you can design your own site and choose a template. It’s very user-friendly and you can also purchase your domain from them. You can also set up your business email address that links to your contact page so you can receive inquiries on your website.
4. Decide On The Entity Of Your Business:
I was out of my comfort zone in this particular area and needed a lot of guidance. This is where I strongly recommend hiring a professional accountant or attorney you trust that will help you decide how you want to structure your business from a legal and accounting standpoint. The most common business entities include: Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, Corporation, and Limited Liability Corporation. Deciding on how to form and structure your company is crucial to how you will pay taxes, handle liability, and allocate your financing. Once you decide how you will structure your business, you will then need to file for that particular entity to establish your business. I worked with Legal Zoom to help me file for an LLC. It took about 4-6 weeks for the registration to be complete in the State of Texas and receive my paperwork.
5. File For EIN (Employee Identification Number):
The Employer Identification Number, also known as the Federal Employer Identification Number or the Federal Tax Identification Number, is a unique nine-digit number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service to business entities operating in the United States for the purposes of identification. You must obtain an EIN for tax purposes, and it’s required to open any kind of business checking or credit card. Once you have established your business and decided on your entity, you can go online to www.govdocfiling.com and file for your EIN at no cost. Legal Zoom does offer this as a service, but you can easily file for an EIN yourself and save money!
6. Set Up Your Banking & Bookkeeping System:
In order to open a business bank or credit card, you must have your EIN number. Once you have your paperwork for your business and your EIN number, you can now visit a bank of your choice to open your account. I personally bank with Wells Fargo, so I opened my business checking with them so I could easily transfer money back and forth between my accounts if needed. You will also want to make sure you set up a bookkeeping system if you plan to manage it yourself so you can track transactions in your checking account and business credit card. I personally recommend using QuickBooks Online.
Once you have completed these steps, you are well on your way to becoming a business owner! Of course, you will need to think about things such as social media, promotional products, and a solid business model, but accomplishing these 6 steps will help establish the necessary foundation for your business. I hope you find this helpful with your business owner journey!