byJen Zelen

Determine your business structure and register your business

Very briefly, the most common legal structures in the U.S. are:

Sole proprietor- no registration other than a DBA (doing business as) and possibly a local business license, but offers no legal protection for the founder. You should also plan to obtain an EIN so that your SSN isn’t shared widely as you do business.

LLC- Single Member or other- this is probably most common as there is a lot of flexibility for the owner or owners, and if you are the sole member of the LLC, your taxes remain fairly simple with this pass through entity.

C Corp- some businesses, especially those seeking outside investment, might choose this entity type, however it is less common for starting out, and entails more complex tax prep.

S Corp- common in professional services such as consulting, this entity type can save the owner on payroll taxes, but comes with a certain amount of additional tax work.

This is a very simple breakdown and you should consult a business attorney or a Small Business Development Center or similar organization with specific questions about your business.

Plan for funding you need and where you can obtain that.

Many small businesses are funded with savings, a loan from family, or by the owner continuing to work another job while starting off their company. There are also some organizations that offer micro loans or crowdfunding, a couple you may want to check out include

Kiva

Craft 3

Find out who you need to be working with- Every new business needs a few professionals to manage things like tax preparation and legal issues, and frequently social media and marketing. As you research your idea and get ready, be sure to get some names for a CPA, a business attorney, marketing professionals and any other consultants that you might need to get your business up and running. Which leads us to networking..

Find where your customers are and hang out there so you can market to them, and depending on your business, you may be even better served by finding referral partners. Currently this is going to be in virtual networking groups, but there are definitely many out there. Start with nearby Chambers of Commerce or simply search “networking” in your city. When you meet new people in a given group, just ask where else they go to meet clients and you might be  invited to some great online groups that way.

Set up an accounting system, and use it. This is where our expertise lies, so if you are just starting out as an entrepreneur, let’s get in touch!