Starting your own business , especially if it's your first, can be very overwhelming in the beginning. You would be surprised how easy it is to legally start your own business!!! I have become quite the pro these days .... I've lost count of the business I've started up over the years. Lets see.... I had a custom cake business, jewelry business, small boutique, car lot, photography business, and I'm sure I'm leaving something out! Needless to say I love a good startup up lol!!
The process of starting a business can be intimidating at times. Depending on what type of business you're starting there is compliance, HR, taxes, protecting yourself from lawsuits, and the list goes on... but Rome wasn't built in a day and neither will your future business. Take a breath and take baby steps. The worst possible thing you can do is rush this process, more times than not you will make some expensive mistakes so sloooowww down and do it right from the git go.
Lets start with the basics!
Naming your business
Where to start first you ask?? Well naming your business is a very crucial part of your business. Your name will stay with you forever and you want something that will last the test of time. Here are a few questions to ask yourself before committing to anything too quickly.
- What do I want my company to stand for. ( What is your mission statement? Don't have one? Now is a good time to create one. This can help you find clarity and set goals for your business. Check this article out if you need help--- How to write a Mission Statement in 5 Easy Steps )
- What am I trying to accomplish with this business? ( What is your long term goal)
- How big do I plan on growing this business? (How many people do you plan on employing max... 10,50,200,1000, ect.)
- Who is your target market? ( Who will be buying your products or needing your service? )
After you've done a bit of research and goal setting start brainstorming. Make sure your names align with the questions you answered above. Narrow 3-5 names down.
Now you have to check to see if your name is available.
1. Do a quick web search of your name and see if there is a business with a similar/same name. If no one has your name proceed if not go to your next option and repeat. Sometimes this process can take a bit. You might think you have the most creative name but you are competing with every creative person in the world on the web.
2. Check for trademarks. Here is a link to do a quick online trademark search. TESS
3. Now if you plan to incorporate you will have to check with your state filing office to make sure the name is available. In some cases no one is using your name but if it is similar to another business they might deny you. I had this problem with our car hauling business. We wanted Quick Car Carrier but when we went to file our LLC there was a Quick Car Credit and we got denied since they were so similar even though we were in two different sectors of business. We ended up using Quick Carrier Transport Services LLC then got a DBA ( I'll talk about this in just a sec) so we could do business under Quick Car Carrier.
** If you are unsure of the type of business structure you want to set up, check out The U.S. Small Business Administration. They break down each structure for you.
4.If the top two three work out you're in the clear. Now try to lock in a domain name. This is for your future website. I typically use Go Daddy for my domain names. It cost around $20 bucks.
5. Now create your social media accounts with your new name to ensure they are available when you need them.
6. All the above can be done from your computer but you will have to go down to your county clerks office to obtain your DBA or "Doing Business As"name. This is a legal document you will need to open your bank account and might need for other licensing down the road. This document cost under $20 and you will need some type of identification. If you are incorporating you might need additional documentation but call down to your local county clerks office and ask before taking the trip down there.
7. Lastly, apply for your Ein number on the IRS website >>> HERE and apply for your Sales and Use Number >>>> Here both of these licenses are free!!
Now you're legal!!!!! See it wasn't all the hard!
I hope this was helpful in some why! I will post links to some other great resources to help you with starting your business and check back next week for another Starting Your Own Business 101 post! If you have any questions leave me a comment.. I will do my best to answer them and if I can't I will point you in the right direction!
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STARTING A SMALL BUSINESS 101