Here we are – you’ve got a great idea to start a small business, something you’ve been dreaming about for a long time and you’re ready to take the plunge. Starting a business can be an exciting venture, but also a little overwhelming! I know when I first started, I was not sure what to do first, what to do second, and what I really needed to do to make sure things were structured correctly for tax time.
Hopefully this article will help you organize your startup process and get you on the right track! At the end, you can download the checklist to print out and help you even more.
- Purchase a domain name. Get a website that is your own domain.You can use bluehost, hostgator, Godaddy, or other web hosts, but it needs to be a domain name, and not a free site that has .wix, or .squarespace in the title.It’s not much $$$, just do it!
- Get your own email address @yourdomain. Don’t use @gmail for your business email. Domains with hosting come with an email address, and get it set up. You’ll look 1000x more professional with a hello@yourdomain email address.
- Register your business. Find out how to register your business with your city, county and state. You need to pay taxes from the get go, and you get business write-offs, too!If you don’t know where to start, find a local CPA and meet with them. The investment will be well worth it, rather than having to pay penalty fees + all the taxes at the end of the year.
- Write down your goals. It’s been proven over and over again, that writing down goals means you’ll be much more likely to accomplish them! Start by writing out where you want to be in a year, then 6 months, and finally write out an action plan for the next 30 days. Find someone who can keep you accountable to accomplish your goals, and schedule to meet with them in 30 days to see what you’ve done.
- Figure out how much time you have. After you come up with an idea of where you want to be, figure out how much time each week you can dedicate to working on your plan. This could vary greatly from person to person, but you need to find what works for you! If you discover you only have 2 hours a week to dedicate to your business, and you were planning on 20, you may need to adjust your goals to accom0date that. Don’t feel bad about having less time than you anticipated to work. We all start somewhere!
- Create your website. Now that you know what some goals are, and where you want to go, you need to create a website.There are plenty of free templates (WordPress, Wix, Squarespace etc) and you can do them relitively easily. Don’t worry about getting it perfect right away, just get something online! This will probably go through several rounds of changes in the first few months, so right now focus on getting the key information up there on how someone can know who you are, what you do, and how you can help them.
- Claim your business on Google. This is getting a little technical, but you should definitely claim your business on Google my Business! Go to https://www.google.com/business/ and start the process (it’s free!) This will help Google recognize you as a legitimate business and help you be found when people search for you.
- Get some photos of you taken! Yes, you’ll need product photos (if you sell products) or portolio photos if you do design or photography, but you also need some amazing photos of yourself! You are creating a business around you and your brand, so don’t be afraid to show your face.
- Open up a business bank account. Open up a bank account under your business name.Get a business credit or debit card as well, and keep all business and personal expenses separate. Your accountant will be grateful, and you’ll be able to keep track of how much money you are actually making in your business.
- Have fun!!!! Why are you doing a new business? Are you do it to bring in money? Are you doing it because it’s a passion and you want to share it with others? Are you doing it to make your quality of life better? Are you doing it for the flexible schedule? Keep your goals in mind always and have fun while doing this business! Yes, there’s a lot to do, but enjoying the journey makes it better for you and everyone around you!