How to Start a Business in 10 steps
Starting a business consist of decision making, planning, and ultimately building your business' credibility. Here's a roadmap to start a business.
1. The quality of being trusted and believed in by business credit bureaus, banks, and your target customers.
The first step to starting a business is making sure your business is Credible in the eyes of the banks, lenders, and the business credit bureaus; Dun & Bradstreet, Experian, and Equifax Business credit divisions. These steps must be in place if you want to be taken seriously by financing institutions.
1. Start with a business name
The right name for your startup can make all the difference. The wrong one could fail to connect with customers and result in insurmountable business or legal hurdles, but a powerful brandname like this is likely going be helpful when marketing yourself as an entrepreneur!
You can find the perfect business name with a little creativity and market research. Once you’ve picked your favorite, make sure to protect it by registering it.
Your full legal business name must match exactly as listed on the corporation records including capitalization, punctuation, and abbreviation. Here are some tips to look for when you are coming up with your business name:
Is anyone else using it?
Is the matching domain name available?
Some lending institutions may frown upon having your first or last name in it.
Depending on your industry, you may not want to include the industry name in it.
Four ways to protect your name:
Trademark name - uspto.gov
Entity name - www.incorporate.com
Domain Name - www.lazerlynx.com
2. Write your business plan
A good business plan helps you navigate each stage of starting and managing your new company. You’ll use it as a roadmap to structure, run or grow your venture successfully!
Business plans can help you get funding or bring on new business partners. Investors want to feel confident they’ll see a return on their investment. Your business plan is the tool you’ll use to convince people that working with you — or investing in your company — is a smart choice.
Need help writing a business plan?
3. Choose a business structure & get an EIN#
Your business structure affects how much you pay in taxes, your ability to raise money, the paperwork you need to file, and your personal liability.
You'll need to choose a business structure before you register your business with the state. Most businesses will also need to get a tax ID number and file for the appropriate licenses and permits.
Choose carefully. While you may convert to a different business structure in the future, there may be restrictions based on your location. This could also result in tax consequences and unintended dissolution, among other complications.
Consulting with business counselors, attorneys, and accountants can prove helpful.
What to register:
Get an EIN# - www.irs.gov/businesses
4. Register your business
Your location and business structure determine how you’ll need to register your business. Determine those factors first, and registration becomes very straightforward.
For most small businesses, registering your business is as simple as registering your business name with state and local governments.
In some cases, you don’t need to register at all. If you conduct business as yourself using your legal name, you won’t need to register anywhere. But remember, if you don’t register your business, you could miss out on personal liability protection, legal benefits, and tax benefits.
What to register:
Trademark name - uspto.gov
Patent your trademark - uspto.gov
Tax exempt - www.irs.gov/forms-pubs/about-form-2553
Most states require you to register with the Secretary of State’s office, a Business Bureau, or a Business Agency.
Get a registered agent
File for foreign qualification
File state documents and fees
Register with local agencies
Stay up to date with registration requirements
5. Apply for licenses and permits
Most small businesses need a combination of licenses and permits from both federal and state agencies. The requirements — and fees — vary based on your business activities, location, and government rules.
You may consider these two licenses:
6. Open a business checking account
Opening a business bank account is easy once you've picked your bank. Simply go online or to a local branch to begin the process. Here are some of the most common documents banks ask for when you open a business bank account. Some banks may ask for more.
Get documents you need to open a business bank account.
Employer Identification Number (EIN) (or a Social Security number, if you're a sole proprietorship)
Your business's formation documents
Decide how to take payments:
7. Get a domain name & build your website
Your business domain name is your piece of virtual real estate. It is also know as your website address.
You must have a professional business email address @yourdomainname. Not a Yahoo, or Gmail type email.
Purchase your website domain name to match or compliment your business name.
8. List yourself with public records and 411 directory
Business phone number must be listed with 411 under the exact business name you are using on your application for public records along with as many web directories as possible.
Web directories can include Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Yelp, Yellow Pages, etc. There are hundreds of web directories. At least get listed on the top 7. You can do this yourself or use a service. Business Directory Listings
Check Public Records to make sure all of your “business” information is listed properly.
Clear your business of any tax liens, judgments, or UCC filings against your company. Check the Secretary of State records online in the state that the record was filed. You can do this at the National Association of Secretaries of State website. UCC Filings Search
9. Pick your business location
Your business location determines the taxes, zoning laws, and regulations your business will be subject to. You'll need to make a strategic decision about which state, city, and neighborhood you choose to start your business in.
Pick your location: spaces/regus links tbd
10. Build Business Credit
Establish a Duns Number with Duns & Bradstreet
Make sure all of the information above is entered when setting up your DUNNS Number.
*Register your Credible business with D&B as a verified business. D&B Verified
Experian & Equifax business credit have to be updated by mail and only after their profiles are automatically created by having an account report to them.