You have a great idea for a small business; it’s something you can provide to a massive number of people, and you can manage it quite well. So you search the internet for ways to get started, but you find yourself bombarded by lists of requirements that you have to fulfill before you can even offer your services or products. It can be overwhelming to figure out just where to start!
But like reaching any big accomplishment, you have to break the work down into simplified steps and reach small goals that lead to the bigger reward. With starting a small business, here are few easy steps to get yourself going without being too stressed.
Create a Business Plan
Before you can do anything, you need to have a plan of attack. It doesn’t have to map out the entire timeline of your business - matter of fact, it can be just a page long if you want. Just make sure it defines your vision, mission, objectives, basic strategies, and plan of action.
If any of your objectives seem overpowering, you can also break those down into more manageable steps. Your goal is to keep tasks simple and costs, both money and time, as low as possible.
Choose your Budget
Even though you’re aiming for low costs, you still need to set how much cash you’re spending on a monthly basis - this called your “burn rate.” Be realistic about your set budget, especially if funds are coming out-of-pocket, and use it to calculate how long you can be in business before making profits.
Ideally, you should build your business to turn-a-profit within the first three months. But a budget can help if things become a little tight.
Establish a Legal Entity
Do the necessary homework to become familiar with the filing fees for your city, county, and state. You have to file the required paperwork for your business, and it costs money. To be responsible for less advanced expenses and paperwork, you can file as a sole proprietor - doing so can save quite a bit of money while ascertaining the strength of your business.
Be sure to consult with a legal advisor or professional before signing any legal paperwork - what sounds good in the short run, may be detrimental long-term.
You already got your budget set, now keep it away from any other budgets you may have. A big mistake most new small business owners make is keeping business and personal funds under one account. Not only will it make your tax season unnecessarily frustrating, but it’ll also question your validity as a business owner.
Case in point - have a separate checking account strictly for business. All you need is enough for filing paperwork, licensing information, and an initial deposit; most banks and credit unions let you open accounts for free.
Even if your small business has a physical location, an online location is just as important. Getting a website means you’ll also need a recognizable URL address along with a server provider to host your site. There are literally pages upon pages of online resources that further explain the process of getting your site set up.
If your small business was conceived online, you can link your products or services to an online storefront like Squarespace, Shopify, or other ecommerce sites.
Strength of Sales
With the groundwork laid out, you can build up some sales. Businesses geared towards a service can get in contact with other small, local businesses or the local Chamber of Commerce for available resources. For products, you can possibly test them at local swap meets, community markets, or even public events.
Draw people to your business through social media, or you can set aside some money for online advertisements. There are virtually endless possibilities to drive customers to your product or service.
With these easy steps, you test the waters of your business within the market without wasting a bunch of time or money - especially if your venture unfortunately fizzles out. And with owning a business, there comes the responsibility of IRS compliance. If you need more time to file your business taxes, you can e-file for an automatic extension, up to six months, with ExpressExtension. You don’t even have to take a break from your business - download our FREE Express7004 app for iOS/Android devices and e-file your extension on-the-go!
Feel free to contact our helpful live team of professionals, in Rock Hill, South Carolina, for any questions or assistance with your e-filing experience. We’re available by phone at (803) 514-5155, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST, or by 24/7 email at firstname.lastname@example.org.