Ready to start your own business but not really sure where to start? I’ve got you covered! As a brand and website designer, you might expect me to say that you need a logo and a website as the way to start a business and make it legit. But that isn’t true. Those things are going to be important later on, but this post is talking about the things you NEED to make your business a real thing in the very beginning.
These are in the order that I would recommend doing these things when you are ready to open a new business. Let’s get started!
1. Business Name
The first thing you need when you want to start a business is to come up with a business name. This needs to be a name that isn’t already taken by another business. I’m not talking about checking to see if the Instagram handle or the domain name is available. You need to check with your state to see if another business has already registered the specific business name you are wanting.
Another place to check trademarks. You can search the trademark database here. Knowing if someone else has already registered your business name idea or has a trademark for it is important because you can be sued for using that name if someone else owns it already.
2. Register your business name
This brings me to the second thing you need to do when you are ready to start a business, which is to register your business. There are several different ways to register a business. I recommend going to the government website for your state and doing it there. You can also use a service like Legal Zoom to do some of this for you.
After you have registered your business with your state, you can file for an EIN (employee Identification Number) with the IRS. Think of this like a social security number but for your business.
3. Open a bank account with your new business name
Once your new business is legal, you will need to open a new bank account under this business name. It is important to keep business transactions and personal transactions separate. This helps with bookkeeping and tax preparation later on. It also helps you as the business owner stay organized.
If you have any business partners, you will likely need to include them on the bank accounts and any cards attached to the business name.
4. Create a business plan
After you have all of the boring business things out of the way, you can focus on your business plan. There are so many different ways to approach this. Depending on what kind of business you are running, if you have multiple partners or investors, if you have physical products or a large team to hire - this could look very different.
Here are some of the questions you can ask to establish a business plan on paper:
- Who you are as a business (core values, mission statement)
- Who you plan to serve
- How do you plan to serve them
- Who is responsible for what pieces of the business
5. Choose an invoicing system
This last piece may seem like it is in a totally different ballpark, but hang with me! This last tip on things you need to start a business is an invoicing system. I highly recommend having this decided and set up as soon as possible. You do not want to find yourself in the position of handwriting invoices or losing track of transactions and payments.
I have a few options for this that I love. Wave is a great, free invoicing system. This is a perfect one to get started with, especially if you are interested in keeping costs low as you start a new small business. Some bookkeeping software also allows you to send invoices.
My personal favorite way to send and track invoices, along with other things, is CRM (client relationship management) software. This can do so much more than just automate your invoicing. A CRM will help you manage your client process from the time they come in as a lead to the time project is complete. It keeps track of leads, sends proposals, contracts, and invoices. You can also set up automated workflows for your clients!
There are so many great CRMs on the market. I personally love Dubsado as the CRM for my business. Get 20% Dubsado here! The main thing is just to choose a system, CRM or not, and use it!
There you have it! These are the top 5 things you actually need to start a business before you can ever get to the fun things like branding and website design. (*wink wink*)
I hope you learned something helpful from this post and feel confident to start your new small business! It may seem scary at first and like there are so many steps. But if you take it one step at a time, it instantly becomes less overwhelming. You can also learn more about starting a business with the U.S. Small Business Administration.