By: Amanda Lien
Stop and think about the last book you read. Did you become so excited that you skipped a chapter here and there because you couldn’t wait to read what happened next, or did you resist the urge to jump ahead and keep reading at a steady pace? These are ultimately the questions that Jeremiah Flowers, aka “The Enterpriser,” applies to business success.
If you’re the kind of person who jumps ahead, how often did you have to go back and find the information you missed? How could it have been the butler in the coatroom with the candlestick? Clearly, you missed something in your quest to get to the end.
Starting a business, much like reading a great book, is exciting. It’s tempting to try and skip ahead to the end where you’re a successful entrepreneur with complete financial freedom. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works.
The excitement of something new.
Starting a business is thrilling for an entrepreneur. Whether you are a seasoned business person or new to entrepreneurship, the idea of becoming your own boss and starting a business is exciting, but one needs to recognize their true potential.
For many entrepreneurs, starting a business is less about the excitement and more about the challenges new businesses face. In the beginning stages of building a business, there are many obstacles to overcome and it can be extremely overwhelming. However, every entrepreneur can realign from being overwhelmed back into excitement with a few well-placed steps.
Planning and developing.
Let’s presume you have a business idea in mind. Perhaps, you’ve created a prototype product for the business or you’ve tested the service your business plans to offer. Once you’ve gathered enough information to decide whether you have a strong business idea, you’ll want to create a plan.
A business plan is the road map every business owner needs. It will guide you through every step of the process. When done well, a business plan may even lay the foundation for future growth.
Choose your business structure.
The legal structure of your business is one of the most important decisions you have to make. The earlier you decide in the planning process, the more you’ll be prepared for what the government requires and exactly what you’ll be responsible for.
Your legal structure also protects your personal assets. Whether you choose sole proprietor, LLC, or to incorporate your business will affect how much you are personally liable for and how much the business is liable for. Each of these business entity structures harness tax benefits, tax advantages, and/or massive tax liabilities. It’s always a good idea to protect and separate your personal assets from the business right from the start.
Making your business compliant.
Once again, this is where skipping ahead to the end is going to cause you to miss important steps. Your business needs to be compliant with the federal, state, and local tax laws, in addition to having the proper licenses.
If you haven’t yet, name your business and register it. If your business will have any kind of internet presence, you should also grab the URL in the same name as your business.
A key component that is necessary to the business development process is to obtain a Federal Employer Identification number or a business tax ID (commonly referred to as an FEIN). This FEIN enables you to obtain the following: (Keep in mind this is one of the many steps required to solidify your business entity)
- Open business bank accounts.
- File taxes.
- Obtain insurance.
Find the funds.
If people have expressed an interest in investing in your business, now is the time to talk about funding your business with them. If you don’t have investors lined up, you’ll want to look at the other possibilities:
- Using your own personal funds.
- Credit cards.
- Small business loans.
- Business grants.
- Angel investors.
- Personal loans from friends or family.
Each one of these options comes with a set of risks. You may even choose to fund your business through a combination of possibilities. Having a financial advisor can help you decide how much risk to take and the best way to proceed.
Secure your location.
Regardless of if your business is entirely internet-based or not, a physical location is at least some place to send the mail. It also keeps you from using your dining room table as a home base. Having a separate location for your business from your home may also help when it comes to tax time.
Accounting and software.
In the beginning, you may not need a lot of software to run your business. At the very least, you’ll need accounting software to invoice customers, bookkeep revenue and expenditures, track inventory (if any), and pay any employees you’ve hired.
Marketing and branding.
Now is the time to start building buzz about your business and ultimately scale your company, as well. Even if you plan on having a physical location for the business, a website is necessary for a business to hang a digital hat.
This is also when you’ll start consulting with or building your own marketing team. They’ll help you spread the word, gather market research, brand your business across social networks, and take care of digital marketing.
Don’t think you need to do any of this all on your own. A business developer can help walk you through the steps from compliance to knowing when the business is ready to grow.
[Related: Taxes in Retirement: Three Tax Planning Tips]
Amanda Lien writes and edits PR and marketing content for C-level executives, award-winning PR agencies, publishing houses, and more.
Jeremiah Flowers, known as “The Enterpriser,” helps aspiring business owners build their businesses from the ground up with compliance and scalability in mind. He has a new TV show series launching in December 2021. Apply to his Enterpriser Accelerator Program today.