It takes many moving parts to start a business. Often, entrepreneurs new to the experience may feel there is much to be done. What should they start working on first? Should they write a business plan? How about open a business bank account? Or maybe they want to incorporate or form an LLC?
Every small business needs to cross each of these items off their start a business to-do list. There are a few additional items to complete before opening your doors. Let’s take a look at the must-haves for launching startups.
This is one of the first, core documents necessary to start a business. A business plan allows you to glimpse the future of your startup. Herein you will be able to detail the past, present, and future of the company. A business plan allows you to outline goals. Timelines and steps help illustrate how long it will take to reach these goals and what milestones you may wish to establish in the future.
An entrepreneur may choose between two formats for writing a business plan. First, there is a traditional format. This is generally around 30 pages in length and includes many details about the business. You may also choose a lean startup plan. This is much shorter — usually no more than one page.
Is it okay if a lean startup plan is less detailed than a traditional business plan? Yes. Remember that you may always return to this plan and revise it. Over time, you may find you are able to reach specific goals sooner than anticipated. Make note in your business plan when this happens and expand in your plan for future goals and milestones.
The default business entity is a sole proprietorship. It is easy to maintain and requires little paperwork. A sole proprietorship enables the business owner to truly be the boss. However, they are also responsible for everything that impacts the business. If something happens, like an accident on your property or an employee getting hurt while working, your business — and its owner — would be liable for the injury.
When you start a small business, it is advised that you incorporate or form an LLC. Incorporating gives your business with limited liability protection. This separates personal and professional assets. What does this mean? In the event that you are liable for an accident and your business faces a lawsuit, for example, a business entity like an LLC or incorporating as a corporation will ensure the safety of your personal belongings. Assets like houses and cars cannot be touched because of liability protection.
Liability aside, incorporating or forming an LLC has many benefits for business. You may be able to save extra money during tax season. An entity also helps establish credibility. This allows you to look and sound legitimate with existing and potential customers alike.
Does your business have a distinct name, design, or logo? This is its trademark. A trademark must be registered when you start a business.
Why should you register a trademark? Trademarks show the world that your business is unique. The mark helps identify the business to the public. If it is not registered, however, a trademark is at risk of being plagiarized by competitors.
The best way to avoid this from happening is to register a trademark at the federal level. Remember to conduct a name search first. This allows you to see if the mark is available to register. If there are no pending applications, you may register a trademark.
When you start a business, you want to be sure you have the proper licenses and permits that allow you to conduct business. Location plays a key role. A business license will determine if your small business may safely operate in a specific city, county, and state.
The rules for business licenses vary by location. Do not guess as to which business licenses you should file for without understanding the requirements. Contact your local Secretary of State for a full list of applicable business licenses and permits as they pertain to your specific company. In a pinch, you may also reach out to our team at MyCorporation. We’ll help research the necessary licenses for your business and assist with the filing process.
A tax ID is often known as an employer identification number (EIN). The IRS issues this nine-digit number out when you start a business. Typically, a business that incorporates or forms an LLC receives an EIN. This federal tax ID identifies and tracks employer tax accounts. It ensures that your business is collecting payroll taxes.
Where else do you need an EIN? A tax ID is necessary to open a business bank account. It is also a requirement before hiring any business employees. You may also use an EIN to establish a business credit profile for your startup.
Confidential paperwork is a fairly regular delivery when you first start a business. Some business owners would prefer to receive paperwork in private. This is where a registered agent comes in.
A registered agent, or RA, acts as the point of contact between a business and the state. This may be an individual or a third party company. The designated registered agent will accept paperwork on behalf of the business from county and state agencies. They organize these documents. Then, they deliver the paperwork to business owners in a timely manner. This ensures that deliveries are made in a discrete manner. An RA provides entrepreneurs with the paperwork they need on time. This allows small businesses to remain in compliance with the state.
Websites played a key role in 2020. They allow customers to find your business online and engage with the company. A business website also helps your startup to be found online and develop a strong online presence.
If you do not have a website when you first start a business, set one up! You can do it yourself with the help of LogoMaker’s Do It Yourself Website Package. This helps guide business owners through the process of creating their own business website.
We are ready to help you obtain all of these documents. Start a business smoothly in 2021 by contacting us at mycorporation.com.