Get your Business Started in 6 Steps
You are itching to pursue your own venture. You finally started to put some thought to paper to draw up a business plan and outline the financial projections. The strategy is sound and you even conducted some research with prospective clients who provided you with positive feedback. What next?
Taking that leap of faith to start a business is a daunting task. Afterall, you’re on your own with every initiative or task commanding your immediate attention. Naturally you gravitate toward generating revenue. However, there are several things you’ll want to consider in order to lay a strong foundation for your business. We have outlined six important steps to include as part of your checklist to get you started you on the right foot.
Step 1: Establish a Legal Entity
Setting up a legal entity is the most complicated and time-consuming step. A number of different business structures exist, each carrying a different set of advantages as well as tax and legal implications for your business. While most freelancers veer towards a sole proprietorship, do your research to understand to different structures. The IRS website offers good recommendations and advice. Still unsure? Consult with your accountant or lawyer.
Step 2: Set Up a Bank Account
Segregate your business and personal finances by setting up a bank account. Comingling your funds is confusing. Avoid the time-consuming exercise to manually split them out come tax time. Separate financials create better transparency of the performance of your business and more effectively elevate the accountability.
Step 3: Choose your Accounting Software
Integrate your business bank account with accounting software. Not only does the software provide you with a real time snapshot of the performance of the business, most offer an invoicing and payment tool. Automated invoicing will improve your billing processes in a professional manner. A few of the market leaders include Freshbooks, Quickbooks and Wave. Conduct appropriate research to determine which solution is the best fit for you.
Step 4: Licenses and Permits
Depending on your business, you may be required to carry or maintain a specific license or permit. Requirements may come from the City or State level. Check with those relevant agencies, as well as any industry specific organizations.
Be aware that licenses and permits may contain certain criteria in order to remain compliant or maintain the status. For example, certain professions require accreditation and continued education.
A good starting point to obtain a general overview is the US Small Business Administration or your professional association.
Step 5: Marketing Your Business
You should contemplate the marketing requirements to promote your business. Not all businesses require an advertising campaign or even a website. As a freelancer your priority is to present yourself and your business in a professional manner.
- Email Address
An email address that clearly denotes your name and company is a priority. Easily establish a business email through Gmail or, if you have a website, your hosting company such as Bluehost or GoDaddy.
- Social Media
While a social media presence is not critical, your clients will likely conduct online research of you and your professional experience. LinkedIn is an effective platform to establish a professional looking profile to promote yourself.
Step 6: Insurance
Review your insurance requirements. Your State, profession or clients may require you to carry certain insurance products to remain compliant. Typical products for small businesses include Workers Compensation, General Liability, Professional Liability and Cyber Liability. Each product is designed to protect you and your business from different threats. For any specific questions feel free to reach out to us directly!