Initial Business Startup Steps
Many individuals have a good business idea, but find it difficult to actually start their business. They have no idea where to start, raising cash, or if they should do a single or joint venture. All they know is that starting a business takes hard work, dedication, and money. This article will provide initial steps to assist you in determining an initial path to consider. After reviewing this article, remember that Consulting Experts & Associates can assist you in starting your business by providing additional guidance, strategies, and valuable information.
Determining a Need
The first step is to determine if there is a need for the product or service you are planning to offer. The initial step requires you to research the needs of consumers, create an idea, and then work towards a completed product or service.
Entrepreneur Sheri Jefferson, an Educational Loan Consultant, utilized these steps before launching Your Financial Services. While working for a prestigious college, she realized that the financial aid office was operating inefficiently, receiving excessive complaints from students, and the staff was not properly trained. Ms. Jefferson was often frustrated and decided that she had the experience to help colleges operate successfully, and increase the retention rates of students. She launched her business using her personal finances as a home base business with the goal of offering a service that she could improve. Today, Your Financial Services is a successful startup, assisting more than 15 colleges around the country. Ms. Jefferson said “I am successful because I offered a great service that was not being offered.”
Want to start a startup? Keep these tips in mind:
* Research existing patents that may be similar to your idea, using websites like Free Patents Online.
* Start bulletproofing your startup by incorporating to protect your financial interests.
* Create contracts and agreements as you start moving beyond the idea phase.
* Consult with a lawyer to make sure you are taking the proper steps.
Seek out someone with experience in the industry you want to enter to make sure you have a solid understanding of it. Talk to an attorney who is well versed in business law and make sure to take the right steps so you don’t hit any legal snags.
Protecting Your Start-up Legally
Starting a startup involves a lot of risk so it’s important to take the right steps. These entail protecting your own assets and bulletproof your startup to keep it running smoothly. Every stage of starting a startup should be legal. Below is a list of guidelines to follow:
* Incorporate your business because it establishes legitimacy of your business and provides protection of your personal assets (house, savings, etc.).
* Research and apply for a provisional patent . This is a method of protecting your ideas and requires individuals receive permission before using them.
* Ensure that you comply with your state laws and keep good records that are required for your corporation. Running a good business requires you to understand the laws and operate your organization accordingly.
* Determine which type of business contracts you should implement, and ensure that all of your financial transactions, agreements and hiring of employees are in writing. We highly recommend that you have a lawyer review your contracts for your protection.
* Signing up with Legal Sheild is an inexpensive way to have a lawyer at your disposal to review your business contracts and advise you on operating your business.
Some individuals have the experience and desire to start a business venture alone, but some individuals may need additional skill sets and/or time to run the business efficiently.
Starting a startup and turning your idea into a business takes identifying your skills to see if you have the ability to make your dream a reality. If you lack those skills, locate a partner who can fill those gaps.
Participate in a business networking group and participate in online forums. Search out budding entrepreneurs on LinkedIn or at area colleges by talking to professors and students.
Don’t forget to protect yourself and your idea once you start seeking a partner. There are cases where courts sided with business owners’ partners without the owner even necessarily agreeing that the people were their “partners.” Get everything in writing with a partnership agreement and have a lawyer review your partnership agreement.
Creating a Business Plan
Never skip this step when starting a business.
A business plan is your personal road map that helps you arrive at your destination safely. The plan ensures that you follow the correct route and prevent detours along the way by determining potential roadblocks. Consulting Experts & Associates provides you assistance to help you outline business goals, projections, marketing strategies, financing and other important facts as you start your start-up.
Compliance with Tax Laws
Bulletproof your startup by making sure you take all the necessary steps to comply with IRS requirements. There are multiple expenses when starting a startup. These expenses, include paying for consultants and lawyers, purchasing supplies, and operating expenses can be written off on your taxes. Its important to track your expenses and income carefully, and save all of your receipts.
Federal and State tax regulations can be difficult to understand. Hiring an accountant or a tax lawyer are very valuable during this process. The Internal Revenue Service offers the following steps for starting a business:
* Apply for an employer identification number if applicable.
* Select a business structure.
* Choose a tax year, calendar or fiscal.
* Have employees fill out Form I-9 and Form W-4.
* Pay your business taxes.
Following these important steps as you start your startup will help you turn that great idea into a business. For additional advice, read the Small Business Administration’s “10 Steps to Starting a Business.” Also don’t forget the consultants at Consulting Experts have the advice to help you start your startup right.
The Consulting Expert, Dr. Vanessa L. Guyton