Starting your own business is a huge step into taking control of your financial future. You have the opportunity to create the income that you want and oversee every detail of your work days. The first step begins with coming up with a lucrative business idea that offers something of benefit that is in demand. The next step is to set goals to build your company into a profitable venture. Also, determine the business structure of your company, such as a:
- Sole proprietorship
- Limited Liability Company (LLC)
Developing a Foundation
Once you know the type of company that you intend to own, you must choose a unique business name that reflects your overall vision. You should never select a name that is too similar to another company, especially in the industry that you will operate your business in. The names may confuse customers. Do your own research and determine if your desired business name has already been claimed by a website. Use the online trademark search tool provided by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to determine whether there are similar trademarked names.
After researching and choosing the best name for your brand identity, consider establishing your online presence by registering a business website and social media accounts. Register your “Doing Business As” name with the county clerk’s office. Some states, however, do not require companies to register a DBA within the state. You can also apply for trademark protection to protect your company brand and the goods and services that you provide to customers.
Creating a Business Plan
Your business plan is one of the most important steps to building a profitable enterprise. It details how your short-term and long-term goals will be accomplished. The first part of your plan should state basic information about your company, what you offer and the overall purpose of your business. You will need to outline your budget, including your start-up fees, expected expenses and estimated revenue, and how you will finance your business operations.
Develop a Solid Marketing Plan
You must define your target market and tailor a marketing strategy designed to attract customers to your business. Outline the features of your products or services and how they will benefit your target audience. Research your market, including the demographics and what interests your prospective customers. Describe how your products or services will benefit your customers. Lastly, detail your marketing goals for how you will reach your prospects and attract them to your business.
Complete Additional Legal Requirements to Run Your Business
Check with your state to find out what business permits and licenses you need to operate your business. Your business activities may also necessitate the requirement of registering for federal licenses and permits. The industries that require federal licenses include:
- Firearms, ammunition and explosives
- Fish and wildlife
- Commercial fisheries
- Maritime transportation
- Mining and drilling
- Nuclear energy
- Radio and television broadcasting
- Transportation and logistics
The business structure that you choose will determine which income tax return you must file. You will need to obtain a Federal Tax ID number if you meet certain requirements outlined by the IRS.
Protect Your Assets
Maintaining business insurance gives you the peace of mind knowing that your important assets are protected in the event of a potential lawsuit against your company. Business insurance also protects you from possible mishaps that may occur on your property, which can result in claims for damages from employees, customers or clients. Start-up businesses should acquire basic business insurance before beginning operations that includes:
- General liability insurance
- Property insurance
- Business vehicle insurance
- Workers Compensation Insurance