There are several things you need to know when starting a small business. You probably already 'really' started your business but now you want to make it official. Great news. Following are the 8 steps you need to know when starting a business:
1) Write a Business Plan: Every business should have a business plan. A business plan is a written guide or map on what goals your business would like to achieve with regard to marketing, financial and operations, and how to make them happen. There are several parts to a business plan and we will point out some resources later for you to utilize when writing your business plan.
2) Get Business Assistance & Training: There are many opportunities to take advantage of free training and services with regard to starting your small business. A great place to start is the Small Business Administration (SBA), a department of the US government. They have many free resources available from preparing your business plan , securing financing and much more. We will go into more detail a little later on.
3) Choose a Business Location: Depending on the type of business you will need to determine a primary location. First and foremost you will need to determine your business needs. Will you have clients or customers that will need to visit? Do you need a place to store materials? Perhaps you are just planning on having an office in your home? These are things you will want to consider when determining a location for your business. Zoning laws may also apply. Research is key. Contact your local town office or planning agency.
4) Finance Your Business: You have to spend money to make money right? There are government back loans and grants available for many businesses to get started. The SBA is a great place to start when researching financing for your business.
5) Determine the Legal Structure of Your Business: Is your business going to be a Sole Proprietor, Partnership, LLC or Corporation? From an insurance standpoint creating a LLC or Corporation is the best way to go because your personal assets can be protected in the event of a liability law suit. Check with an attorney to find out what is best for you and file the appropriate paperwork with the IRS and your State revenue agency.
6) Obtain Business Licenses & Permits: Get a list of federal, state and local businesses and permits that may be required for your business. Even some that aren't required may help with increasing credibility among your clients.
7) Understand Employer Responsibilities: If you are thinking of hiring employees, interns or even volunteers you will want to learn what is required as a business owner. Many resources are available from the SBA and we will provide you contact information. You should also consult with an attorney, tax professional and insurance agent as well.
8) Protect Your Business: Record keeping is key. There are state and federal guidelines on the number of years business records are required to be kept. The more records and documentation you save will help protect your business. Have contracts and agreements with employees and clients or customers. Have the proper insurances in place, general liability, commercial auto, workers' compensation and statutory disability policies.
Asking questions is the best way to get the answers you need. The SBA is a great place to start - they have a number of free resources available on starting a small business. Here is a short video that will introduce you to the SBA.
We want to be a resource for you. Ask the experts of Tanner Insurance Agency Inc. your questions and we will give you the answers you need. If we don't have the answers we will help point you in the right direction of someone who can. We can be reached through our contact form on our website, via phone at 315-363-0223, via email firstname.lastname@example.org or even TEXT to:315-533-2709.
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