The Practical Side of Starting a Small Business
So you’re thinking of fulfilling a dream and starting a small business. Maybe that dream is fueled by a passion of yours. Or maybe you see a great opportunity that you just can’t pass up.
How do you get started? Probably the first thing you should do is separate emotion from reality. Are you caught up in the romance, intrigue and excitement of owning a business and being your own boss? Are you someone who enjoys the thrill of the chase? Do you envision yourself as being the next Steve Jobs or Warren Buffett? Is the dream just that – a dream – or is it something you can pull off and establish a sustainable, profit-making business?
Now, let’s look at it in another light. Sit down and seriously weigh the pros and cons of starting a business. Would you be better off financially pursuing another career? Are you prepared to hire and fire employees and make budgetary cuts to keep the business afloat during tough times? Do you know how to create a business plan and budget?
Fortunately, there are several resources at your fingertips if you decide it’s time to take the plunge. A great place to start is the U.S. Small Business Administration website (https://www.sba.gov/). The site, which is also available in Spanish, is chock-full of information such as guides, tips, articles and videos. It even provides a step-by-step outline on starting a business. Each step provides specific details for moving the process forward.
Here’s a quick look at each step taken directly from the site (excluding the details, which are available on the website):
Step 1: Write a Business Plan
Use these tools and resources to create a business plan. This written guide will help you map out how you will start and run your business successfully.
Step 2: Get Business Assistance and Training
Take advantage of free training and counseling services, from preparing a business plan and securing financing, to expanding or relocating a business.
Step 3: Choose a Business Location
Get advice on how to select a customer-friendly location and comply with zoning laws.
Step 4: Finance Your Business
Find government backed loans, venture capital and research grants to help you get started.
Step 5: Determine the Legal Structure of Your Business
Decide which form of ownership is best for you: sole proprietorship, partnership, Limited Liability Company (LLC), corporation, S corporation, nonprofit or cooperative.
Step 6: Register a Business Name (“Doing Business As”)
Register your business name with your state government.
Step 7: Get a Tax Identification Number
Learn which tax identification number you’ll need to obtain from the IRS and your state revenue agency.
Step 8: Register for State and Local Taxes
Register with your state to obtain a tax identification number, workers’ compensation, unemployment and disability insurance.
Step 9: Obtain Business Licenses and Permits
Get a list of federal, state and local licenses and permits required for your business.
Step 10: Understand Employer Responsibilities
Learn the legal steps you need to take to hire employees.
The website points out that there also numerous resources available to assist startups, micro businesses, and underserved or disadvantaged groups. These include resources for specialized enterprises, such as:
- Environmentally-friendly “green” business
- Home-based business
- Online business
- Minority-owned business
- Veteran-owned business
- Woman-owned business
The SBA website is just one of many resources to not only help you decide whether starting a small business is right for you, but to also help you getting that business up and running. We have business specialists at BankFive who are ready to assist, too. You can tap into their broad depth and breadth of experience to make your business a successful venture. To learn more, check out the SBA section of our website at http://www.bankfive.com/home/business-banking/small-business-loans.