Where Do I Begin?
The first step in running your own business is to get familiar with what kind of company you want it to be. One helpful and very common tip for small business owners? Create an LLC and register your business in the state you will operate out of.
What is an LLC?
Short for a legal term (“limited liability corporation”), an LLC is a legal entity that is considered a hybrid. This means that you are covered by similar protection of corporations as far as lawsuits and legal issues go, but you also have the added benefit of the pass-through taxation of sole proprietorships and general partnerships.
Ultimately, when you register your company as an LLC, you are providing yourself with legal protection. On one hand, a single person or several members can own an LLC with equal shares in its profit, the tax structure is more flexible to help you come April 15th and best of all: LLC business owners are considered separate from themselves and their products/services, so their personal assets (cars, houses, etc) are usually protected from a company lawsuit.
What Happens After I Register?
Slap your business owner’s license in a pretty frame and get cracking; this is when the real work starts! Now that you’ve made your business legal and are getting things right with Uncle Sam, it’s time to drill down on your business plan.
If you think that writing out a business plan sounds daunting and boring, retrain your brain. If you are serious about making money and being in business for the long run, then a business plan is more than a cute idea — it’s a necessity! When you are figuring out your plan, remember to take into consideration:
- Goals: Where do you want to be in another three months? A year? Five years?
- Budget: From what source will you obtain funds? Do you qualify for a business loan or are you able to pull money from your own bank account? How will you responsibly manage your money?
- Marketing: Since it’s going to be a big deal in the days to follow, figure out a strategy for advertising and selling your business to the world. How can you make money if nobody knows you exist?
Roll up your sleeves and brew a pot of coffee. The easy parts are over, the grunt work is next…and lucky for you, you’re just the grunt to do it!
Take Control of Your Marketing
Marketing your small business is vital to its survival, especially in the beginning stages. While paper marketing has a time and place, remember that digital advertising is queen these days. Sure, you can pass out flyers and brochures and leave business cards at local bars and restaurants, but the biggest marketing strategies are the ones that you find online.
Cat memes and goofy status updates are well and good for your personal social media pages, but what can you post on your business’s pages? Use the platform of 140 characters or less to get the public buzzing about your products, promotions and sales. One awesome strategy is to follow other local businesses nearby and create a friendly business relationship to help one another out.
A Kick-Butt Website
Only 54% of small businesses have a website, which is a shame. You already know based on the way you shop and do research that a website is one of the first places you look to learn more about a company, so make yours easy to navigate and full of helpful information.
Deciding to open up for business is not an easy endeavor if you want to make your small business your life’s work. When you want to create a company from nothing, be sure to follow the correct steps so that all legalities and tax documents are properly accounted for. You’ve got this, all you need to do now is put in the time and effort to make it happen for yourself.