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Baby Business Advice

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Duty Calls: Getting Your State Requirements

Regulations vary from state to state, but yes, keeping records for tax purposes is something you'll need to do. In addition to recordkeeping, there are several state filings and registrations, such as for sales taxes, business name, and any applicable permits or licenses. You can usually find the regulations for doing business in your state online. A good starting place is your state's online website. Look for a "Small Business" or "Business & Commerce" link, and that will give you a good starting point for finding the necessary state requirements. Deciding your form of business -- sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation -- is also another important decision. A corporation usually is the only form that requires state filings.

Going to Market with Baby

Make it easy for your customers to buy from you. Consider starting small and selling locally. Flea markets could work, though your products are probably more fitting in craft and baby shows. Keep an eye out for those events in your area. Consider a cart in a local mall. Leave your biz card at local day care facilities; advertise in local papers; get as much word-of-mouth referrals as possible. Once you get a website up, direct customers to your website for more information, and then expand to mail order as you expand your product base. Your bank can help you set up a merchant account so you can accept credit cards if you wish, or you can use an online service, such as Paypal, to accept credit cards and checks online. Of course, everyone's situation is different, and I always recommend getting advice from your accountant on financial and business structure decisions.

Consider Getting Hands-on Experience First

If this all seems too daunting, consider working as a representative for an established company that specializes in children's products. This will help you get your feet wet as to how things operate in the baby field. You can also make some good contacts in the industry, and perhaps find a mentor who will have special insights into your biz idea.

Discovery Toys carries a line of children's toys and Nest Family carries family-oriented entertainment products. Usborne Books has a great line of books for children of all ages and The Storyteller sells a line of felt products for children. Several clothing companies specialize in children's clothes. Two of my favorites are big enough and Kelly's Kids.

You have a lot of work ahead of you, Lisa, but careful planning early on can help make it an exciting and profitable journey. So you're doing the right thing!

Good luck to you.

Cheryl Demas, Founder and Editor of WAHM.com

Author of The Work-at-Home Mom's Guide to Home Business

This Coffee Talk was inspired by an actual posting in Idea Cafe's CyberSchmooz. If you'd like to dish up some more advice for this person, click here and post your reply today! The more, the merrier!

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