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A Step-by-Step Guide to Starting Your Own Business

Starting a business is no small feat. If you’re looking to open your own small business, you should know that there’s much that needs to be done before opening day. You’ll need to decide on a business structure, retain an attorney, find accounting and payroll services, and file all of the appropriate paperwork with your state. Start with your business plan, and work your way through the process, making sure to give plenty of thought to the services and personnel you’ll need to bring your business dreams to life.

Have a Plan

Your first step towards starting your own small business is to develop a business plan. Your business plan will crystallize the goals of your business, your purpose, your products and services, and your startup and operational costs. Not only will creating a business plan help you clarify your ideas about where your business is going, it will be essential to obtaining funding, overcoming obstacles, and sustaining your business in the long term.

Find the Money

Most businesses have startup costs, and you’ll need to figure out how you’re going to cover them. If you’re like most small-business owners, you’ll need to borrow the money to start your business. However, unless you’re planning to keep your day job, you should also make sure you have enough saved to cover your living expenses for some period of time until your business becomes profitable.

Usually, a bank loan or small-business loan will be sufficient to cover your startup costs. But if you need more money than that, you’ll need to think about attracting investors. Once you have the money, you can start purchasing or leasing equipment, shopping for available business spaces, and brainstorming quirky, cute business names.

Choose a Business Structure

There are multiple legal structures available to the small-business owner, but the best one for you will be the one that suits your needs. If you’re planning to be the only employee and want to assume all responsibility for debts and obligations, you may want to register as a sole proprietor. However, sole proprietorship also means that your personal assets may be forfeit if you’re sued or file bankruptcy.

If you want to start the business with someone, you may consider registering as a partnership. If you want to hire employees and need more legal protections than sole proprietorship can offer, consider registering as a limited liability corporation (LLC).

Retain an Attorney

Even if you don’t choose to keep a business attorney on retainer, hiring one can help you get your business started, especially when it comes to drafting contracts, signing a lease, and other legal activities. An attorney is especially helpful if you’re not sure what your legal obligations are or what business structure is best for your company. He or she can help you tick all the right boxes, and make the best decisions to implement your business plan.

Register Your Business With the State and Federal Government

Registering your business with the state and federal government means that you’ll be recognized as a legal business entity. In addition to filing your articles of incorporation with the state, you’ll also obtain an employer identification number. This will allow you to hire employees, or, if you’re a sole proprietor, it will allow you to maintain a degree of separation between your personal and business identity.

Hire Payroll Professionals

Accounting and payroll tasks are among the most arduous and essential parts of running your own business, but it’s unlikely you have the accounting and human services expertise to tackle these tasks efficiently. That’s why outsourcing your accounting, payroll, and other human services tasks to a PEO payroll company can be one of the best things you’ll ever do for your business. Outsourcing these tasks means they’ll be handled by professionals who understand today’s complex regulatory landscape, so you won’t have to lie awake at night worrying about employee benefits, overtime pay, or similar matters.

Hang the ‘Help Wanted’ Sign

Once your financing is in place, your paperwork is filed, and you’ve lined up your space and equipment and got your attorneys and accountants on board, it’s time to get started staffing your business and preparing for opening day! Start spreading the word about your brand via social media and traditional advertising long before it’s time to throw open the doors, and before you know it, your business will be thriving and your dreams will be coming true.

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