Steps to Starting a Business:
New businesses face many challenges, from planning and licensing to opening bank accounts and creating a company website. Regardless of where you are in the process, Arzo Enterprises can help. Follow each step on our checklist to stay on the right track.
- Do your market research: Just because you build it or sell it doesn’t necessarily mean anyone will buy it. The first essential step is to research your potential market. Who needs what you are offering? Is there space for your product or service in the market or is the market saturated? Is the market national? Is it a niche? Can you define your ideal customers? These are all questions that need to be answered before you even consider starting a business. Too many entrepreneurs have found out the hard way that there was not enough market share for them to capture. Others have realized that their target market audience was far too limited to make their business work.
- Write a business plan. Form goals and objectives for your new company. A successful start to any business requires a detailed outline of what you plan to accomplish.
- Show yourself the money: You can’t start a business without capital. Determine what you have, what you will need and how you will go about getting it. If you plan to seek investor funding or financing, start writing a business plan and practice your pitch. Research the costs associated with your business. Know how much money you’ll need and decide where it could come from. Obtain start-up capital. Whether you use your own savings or obtain loans, starting a business requires money. The loan process can take months to complete, so start early. Lenders often request a completed business plan prior to approval of funding.
- Set up a legal business structure. Forming a corporation or LLC can protect owners’ personal assets from business debts. Additionally, incorporating can provide credibility and tax benefits. Let Arzo Enterprises help you incorporate or form an LLC.
- Hire a good accountant: An accountant will work in conjunction with your attorney and be instrumental in determining the best form of ownership. He can also help you establish bookkeeping and other record keeping procedures that can keep you on track for years. Most important, a good accountant will help with tax planning. “You will also want an accountant who understands the state laws, since every state has its own little intricacies, such as sales tax issues,” Talis says, adding that it’s important for your accountant to be familiar with startup ventures.
- Hire a good business attorney: You don’t necessarily need to have an attorney on a retainer, but you’ll want to hire an attorney experienced with new businesses to help you get started. Your attorney can advise you about such things as drafting contracts, reviewing your lease and determining the right business structure. “A good attorney will know what it is that you are trying to do and help you structure your business in a way that will be beneficial to you,” says Chris Talis, senior partner at Hedgerow Mergers Acquisitions in Teaneck, N.J. The best way to find a good attorney is by referral or through networking.
- Decide on a business structure: Your choices include sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, “S” corporation or limited liability corporation (LLC). Personal liability, taxes, paperwork and regulations vary greatly among the different legal business structures. Your attorney and accountant will play a key role in assisting you in this important decision.
Register “Doing Business As” names. Will your corporation or LLC do business under a name other than its legal name filed with the Secretary of State? If so, it must file a DBA (Doing Business As) name.| | | Next → |