Step 1: Determine what kind of business you should start:
– A part-time business, a unique business idea (i.e. a complete new product or service that you can obtain idea protection for), a franchise, purchase an existing business, or buy a license to sell an existing product or service.
Step 2: Write a business plan
– Research your industry, market and competitors
– Create a sales and marketing plan
– Create a financial model and financial plan
Step 3: Get business assistance and training
– First and foremost, find an attorney who specializes in small businesses.
Step 4: Choose a business location
– Determine what kind of physical location and equipment is needed for your business (be sure to consider zoning, tax laws, noise factors, client/visitor accessibility, technological needs, ergonomically correct work spaces, safety and security, etc.)
Step 5: Finance your business and get the financial aspects of your business squared away
– After writing your business plan, you should have a better idea of how much money you will need to start the business and to float the business until you turn a profit. You should also consider how much money you personally will need to survive until you can begin taking money out of the profit. Through these assessments, you will have a better idea of whether you will need startup funding to launch your business or not.
– Get a business bank account
– Buy business accounting software
– Hire an accountant
Step 6: Determine the legal structure of your business
– Decide which business structure (sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, limited
liability partnership, limited liability company) you (and your investors) desire for your business.
Step 7: Register a business name (“Doing Business As”)
– First and foremost, make sure your business name is easily understood and pronounced. (Try a simple spelling test with your family and friends).
– Make sure that the name is available and not currently in use.
– Register your trademark and file your DBA.
Step 8: Get a Tax Identification Number
– Determine which tax identification number you’ll need to obtain from the IRS.
– Register with your state to obtain a tax identification number, workers’ compensation, unemployment and disability insurance.
Step 9: Obtain business licenses and permits
– Obtain local, state and federal business permits. Determine if you need any professional licensing from your state. Inquire about any other permits you may need such as fire inspection or sign permitting. Lastly, determine the proper amount of sales tax you need to collect and obtain a seller’s permit.
Step 10: Understand employer responsibilities
– If you plan to hire employees, obtain an employer ID from the IRS and any forms you and your employees need to fill out.
Step 11: Marketing
– Create a logo and print identity for your marketing materials.
– Bolster your business plans marketing plan.
– Build your website.
– Join networking organizations.
Take a look at our Sample Business Plans and Products.