January 28, 2017

Steps to Starting a Small Business

Starting a new business means more than just ownership. Launching your own startup entails dealing with various amounts of paperwork and compliance at the state, federal, and local levels, as well. Additionally, there will come a day when you hope to expand your small business into something much greater.

Below are several helpful resources designed to arm entrepreneurs with a wealth of information on building a new business. Tick off items on a small business or startup checklist, browse industry best practices on forming your own business, or determine for yourself what business structure best benefits your enterprise.

State Guides
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10 Steps to Starting a Business: Video Transcript
1. Write a business plan. Form goals and objectives for your new company. Start with a detailed outline of what you plan to accomplish. This is the first of many steps to starting a business.

2. Set up a legal business structure. Setting your company up as a corporation or LLC are popular entity structures for many small businesses. This protects owners' personal assets from business debts and liabilities. Additionally, incorporating can provide credibility and tax benefits. Let The Company Corporation help you cross this item off your business startup checklist.

3. Obtain start-up capital. Whether you use your own savings or obtain loans, starting a business requires money. The loan process can take months to check off your business startup checklist, so start early. Lenders often request a completed business plan prior to approval of funding.

4. Obtain a Federal Employer Identification Number. Otherwise known as an EIN, Incorporated businesses that hire employees must have one of these. They are issued by the IRS, but The Company Corporation includes this service in some of our formation package.

5. Satisfy business licensing requirements. Most state, county, and local governments require businesses to obtain licensing before they begin to operate. The Company Corporation provides a Business Compliance Package to identify typical requirements for your business activities.

6. Establish a Web presence. A website is an essential item to complete on your small business startup checklist in today's business world of Internet searches and social media. Register a URL that is memorable and relevant to your company and/or industry. Not having an effective website eliminates opportunities for new customers and potential profit.

7. Develop business collateral. Businesses use customized letterhead, cards, and forms with their company name, logo and website for marketing and credibility. Vista Print makes "do-it-yourself" business cards, business identity products, advertising products, and signage a snap.

8. Open a bank account and merchant account. To protect their corporate or LLC veil, businesses must maintain separate business and personal accounts and records. Establish a separate business bank account so that your personal assets are not co-mingled with business funds. Banks may also require an Employer Identification Number (EIN) in order to open a business checking account.

9. Identify where to get help. Know where and when to seek advice from other sources, such as attorneys and accountants, to assist you with specific questions about your business. Establish a board of advisors or mentors to help you along the way. This is one most entrepreneurs tend to leave off their new business checklist.

10. Follow government rules. Operating a business means satisfying ongoing government and legal requirements to maintain the company's good standing. Stay aware of the steps needed to maintain your company's status and take advantage of The Company Corporation's $50,000 Corporate Veil Guarantee, provided at no cost with our Registered Agent service.

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