How to Start Your Own Business
I told Rich at WAU I wanted to write a tutorial which would be of use to members and which might squeeze into Kyle’s Top Ten List where only Veronica seems to compete with Kyle. Kyle and Carson own WAU.
Don’t you think that a max of three (3) tutorials by the same author should be rotated on the list to make room for us less talented tutorial writers?
Just kidding! I decided not to post this at WAU but just on my website.
Kyle belongs there because he is responsible for getting folks started here at WAU and it is his site although many of us claim it as our site. And Kyle and Carson are the most knowledgeable around. We have many other knowledge magnets here and it would be nice if they had the time to write a few tutorials rather than a snile old man like me.
Anyway! Rich asked me to write this tutorial because there is more to business than just building a website. Some of the most successful businesses on the Internet did not start that way. They started from a storefront or home business or other businesses already established.
Rich knows that we are all in business and that if we don’t run our Internet business like a business, we will have a tough time. We have time and resources to manage and we need to know what is going on in the business world. So if we are informed about business than our online business will be more successful.
In this tutorial I am using the SBA format for starting a business. The SBA site is very comprehensive so you will want to go there after you have read this tutorial to get the good stuff.
I hope that you find this tutorial helpful in your thinking about business and your business specifically. We will take them one step at a time.
Internet Business Tool Center
How to Start a Business
Step 1: Write a Business Plan
To turn your dream into a business, you need a business plan.
If you take a free business startup course in your community sponsored by the SBA, your Chamber of Commerce, a business association or your local community college or university, they will definitely start you with a business plan and they will help you prepare it.
Your teacher may be a professional teacher, of if you are fortunate, a retired business man. If you get the later, you will get examples that are real because they come from his experience. If your teacher is a woman, you may get special incites on business that you may not get from a man.
There are many places on the Internet to find an outline for a business plan and also the details that can help you prepare it. Also there are many books on the subject.
Remember this. Your business plan is not a static document. Most companies update them every year. As an R & D and engineering executive, I use to write a five year plan with the details of what we would do in that time period. That gave other managers a chance to throw in their two bits so that the plan could be accommodating to them.
So you may a have a general business plan and also a plan for a specific time period.
Thing change. So will your business plan.
Your business plan should include the following:
Your executive summary is a snapshot of your business plan as a whole and touches on your company profile and goals. It comes last in the plan but you write it last. If your business is already running and you are writing a plan to get financial support, then you will describe your business, the market, the management, current financing and your future objectives.
If you are a new business starting up then you are the most important item. What is your business to be, the market, how you expect to operate your business, how you will market the products and most important, how will this business fit into the marketplace and how are you prepared to manage the business? What is special about your business that will give it a place in the marketplace, and again, how are you uniquely prepared to start the business and then manage it? How does your education and experience fit in here?
Your company description provides information on what you do, what differentiates your business from others, and the markets your business serves. This is really the nitty gritty of your business. You will describe your services and products in some detail. After reading this, a
banker for example, will be able to base his decision on fact if the business is operating or on the perceived merits in your business plan.
Before launching your business, it is essential for you to research your business industry, market and competitors. The general information you need for this section is readily available from the Department of Commerce and other institutions. But if you are starting a storefront business in your hometown,
Organization and Management:
Every business is structured differently. What is the best organization and management structure for your business.
Service or Product Line:
What do you sell? How does it benefit your customers? What is the product lifecycle? Get tips on how to tell the story about your product or service.
Marketing & Sales
How do you plan to market your business? What is your sales strategy? Read more about how to include this information in your plan.
If you are seeking funding for your business, find out about the necessary information you should include in your plan.
If you need funding, providing financial projections to back up your request is critical. Find out what information you need to include in your financial projections for your small business.
An appendix is optional, but a useful place to include information such as resumes, permits and leases. Find additional information you should include in your appendix.
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. You can start with your local Chamber of Commerce. They will lead you to organizations, colleges, state and local governments that will give you free training. It is as simple as that. A call to a junior college or branch of a university in your area will be a good thing to do.
Step 3: Choose a Business Location
Get advice on how to select a customer-friendly location and comply with zoning laws. Notice how often fast-food restaurants are close together. That is where the fast food traffic is. But maybe a location far across town would be good for local customers. Maybe you could have two locations. Notice that fast-food joints are often near freeway exits. If you need local traffic, then location is important. If you are manufacturing widgets that you are going to sell through distributors or directly to businesses, then maybe a location in an industrial complex would be good.
Step 4: Finance Your Business
Find government backed loans, venture capital and research grants to help you get started. Start with your banker who knows all the sources. You may have to go to the main branch of your bank to get what you need. SBA works directly with banks so you will be working with a banker for a SBA loan.
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. If you take a free business startup course, they will show you how to do this and tell you if you will need an attorney.
Step 6: Register a Business Name
Register your business name with your state government. This is easy to do and cost you nothing.
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. You may be able to use your Social Socurity number for your I.D. You can get one directly from the IRS too. I have a business I.D. with the IRS for my wife who has ALZ. We collect long-term care insurance which requires it.
Step 8: Register for State and Local Taxes
Register with your state to obtain a tax identification number, workers’ compensation, unemployment and disability insurance. Your state or community will make this easy for you. Just call and they will send the forms.
Step 9: Obtain Business Licenses and Permits
Get a list of federal, state and local licenses and permits required for your business. This is not as hard as it sounds. Your local and state governments will give you a hand.
Step 10: Understand Employer Responsibilities
Learn the legal steps you need to take to hire employees. This you will learn in your free course.
You can see that starting locally is the thing to do. Governments and communities promote business and they are always willing to help you. And don’t be afraid to approach local business people. They will tell you how they got started and how you can get started.
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