It’s official. After months (or years) of going back and forth, attempting to project the future, checking over your financials again and again, and talking to your family and friends, you’ve decided to take the leap and start your own business.
You’re excited. You feel re-energized about life. It’s like you’re a kid again. And then you’re hit with a thought that stops you dead in your tracks.
Okay, What Do I Do Now?
You know where you’re going and what you want your business to be. Soon, you’ll be executing your business plan, tracking results, and revising as needed. But how do you get there? After all, you can’t reach point B without crossing through point A.
So what are the very first steps to starting your business?
Some of this will depend on your business, your personal situation, and how you’re going about it. For example, are you pursuing this full-time? Are you doing it on the side initially? But there are many things that everyone will have to do.
Coming Up with a Name
You’re going to be putting your business name on everything, and you’ll be using it everywhere, so it’s one of the first things you’re going to have to finalize. Unfortunately, in a world saturated with start-ups, small businesses, side projects, and more, finding one that isn’t already established can prove to be difficult at times.
How to come up with a business name could honestly be a blog post in itself. We won’t get into it too much here. Just make sure it’s not taken (specifically in your industry), that it’s pronounceable, and that it’s something people will remember.
Decide on the Legal Identity
You’ll need to decide how your business is defined in the eyes of the law. If you’re starting it as just a side-project, you may consider a sole proprietorship, in which case you are your business. However, your business will most likely go past that sooner or later.
An LLC is a popular option for startups. This protects you and your personal assets, should your business go under or be sued. Other common startup choices are S corporations and cooperatives, though the latter is only applicable in certain situations.
Register for State and Local Taxes
With starting a business, you’re no longer just liable for your own taxes. You have to take care of the business’s taxes as well. This will factor into how you handle your income and accounting, so it’s best to get it sorted out right away. Speaking of accounting…
Get Familiar with Accounting
Chances are, you’re not going to have the luxury of bringing on a fulltime accountant when you start your business. That means it’ll be up to you to get the calculator, spreadsheets, and records together. If you haven’t checked into accounting software, now might be a good time.
You’ll want to start keeping a record of everything business related. Invoices, purchases, bills, etc.
Business Plans, Ping Charts, Check Points, and So Much More!
If you’re starting a business, you need a plan of attack to execute. You need a business plan. And you’ll need to be able to measure your success and track your progress, so you’ll need some goals and charts.
You want to be able to analyze, revise, and track. That is the ART of business.
To learn more about the art of business, check out my book Business is ART, available now. The more things you do correctly at the start of your business, the higher your chances of success will be.