You’ve Started Your Business, Now What?
10 things to do after you have started your business.
- Set Up Your Business Structure (Legal Entity Creation)
Being a business is often more than just an idea and action. There needs to be a business structure in place for operational and tax reasons.
Decide if you’re going to be one of the following:
- Sole proprietorship: The least complex way to be a business. You personally benefit from all the assets and profits and are also personally responsible for debts and liabilities (lawsuits). Check with your state to see if you need to file a trade name and what licenses you may need, if any.
- LLC: A limited liability company is an entity, which provides protections to the members (owners) and has low requirements for recordkeeping.
- This is a very popular entity for new business owners as the owners are usually not personally responsible for the debts & liabilities but do get the benefit from the profits and assets.
- Additionally, the administrative requirements of the LLC are low.
- Partnership: More than one individual/entity working together. Similar to a LLC but requires at least two people or companies.
- Partnerships are great if you have a business partner or want to work with another company on a big project.
- You can form a partnership or joint venture, which would have a legal operating agreement detailing how the partnership will operate, and limits on the partnership such as earnings percentages and when the partnership will end.
- Corporation: An entity that is owned by the shareholders. The corporation, and not the owner, is held legally liable for any actions or debts it incurs, for the most part. This is a complex business structure and has many administrative, legal and tax requirements.
- S Corporation: A corporation that has pass through taxation meaning the profits and losses of the corporation are not taxed at the corporate level but instead are taxed at the personal level for the shareholders (owners).
For more detailed entity information from the SBA go here.
For tax implications the IRS has more information on these entities, which you can find here.
Note: This should not be considered legal or accounting advice. Contact a legal or accounting professional to see which option works best for you.
- Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS before you register your entity with the state.
– You may need this number for signing up for various things (like a bank account) so get one from the IRS for free here.
- Business License. Being in business means that you need to make sure that you’re registered with the state and/or local government.
– Check with your local city/county to see if you need a business license for what you’re doing. Go here to find out more about what licenses and permits you may need.
Having a website is part of doing business. There are many different ways to get a website. To get started, you can create one yourself or hire a website designer.
If you’re going to create one yourself do the following:
- Register the domain name of your business and get web hosting through a company such as bluehost, ipage, hostgator or squarespace.
- This should cost you under $40 for a year of hosting and the domain name. (Under $100 for squarespace, however squarespace is great of someone with little or no website creation experience)
- Note: Most hosting companies give you one free domain name with your hosting account. It’s as simple as checking if the domain name is available and then adding that to your hosting account.
- If you’re strapped for cash:
- Create a Facebook page for your business. This allows you to share what your services or products are with your customers.
- You can use a free hosting site through companies like Weebly or Wix.
- Social Media Sites/Apps
Social Media is also a part of doing business. If you’re not on social media you’re missing out on opportunities to not only interact with customers but also your peers and community.
- Sign up as your business name AND your personal name on all social media sites, even ones that you don’t plan on using.
- Pick two sites/apps that you enjoy using and your potential customers use.
- Start engaging, following and sharing.
- Create a Facebook page for your business
Facebook is the number one most used social networking site. Having a Facebook page is only second in importance to having a website.
- Facebook is one the best ways to market your business.
- While you can use your personal Facebook page to share your life, including your business, you can’t use it solely for business purposes.
- Also, having a Facebook page allows you to market your business directly to those that may want your product or service, which may end up lowering your advertising budget.
- Phone number/Video conferencing account
- Video chats/conferences is a great way to speak with clients. There are many ways to do this. Check out Google Hangouts, Skype or Zoom.
- If you need to share a phone number for your business and don’t want to use your personal number, get a free Google voice number or get a second phone line using your cell phone account (i.e. sign up for the family plan).
- Email & Mailing address
- To start out get a Gmail account in the name of your business.
- Once you have a website get an email address that ends in your domain name. This helps you look professional and serious about your business.
- If you’re going to be getting mail or you need to have an address for certain things get a P.O. Box.
- You may not really need an office to get started and a P.O. Box is an inexpensive way to have an address for business mail.
- Set up a business bank account or PayPal account for payments
- You can go to your local bank or credit union to set up a business account once you have your EIN and business entity documents.
- A PayPal account is also a great way to accept payments for goods and services.
- Accounting Software
Start keeping track of your earnings and expenses from day one.
- Use Excel for the first few days until you decide on what accounting software you would like to use.
- Decide on what accounting tools you need and choose an application like QuickBooks, FreshBooks or WAVE accounting to name a few.
Awesome!! You’re done with what you need to do immediately after creating your business.
These actions give you the foundation you need to get going on building your business.
You can start working on your business plan & start advertising your business on social media.
Good luck and best wishes for a successful business.