By Kevin Scanlan, Certified SCORE Mentor
How Do I get Started? That’s a question I am often asked when meeting with new clients. While not foolproof, I am sharing a list of steps from the Small Business Administration that I usually discuss with the people I mentor.
Market Research. Is there an opportunity to turn your idea into a successful small business? Who are your potential customers? Are there similar businesses already operating in your service area?
Create a Business Plan. A Business Plan is the foundation of your business, it will help you structure, run and grow your new business.
Funding for Your Business. How much money will you need to start and sustain your business? How will you raise or borrow capital if needed?
Business Location. Your business location is an important decision. Whether it’s brick-and-mortar or an on-line store, the choice you make could affect your taxes, legal requirements and revenue.
Business Structure. The legal structure of your business will impact your business registration requirements, how much you pay in taxes and your personal liability.
Choosing Your Business Name. This may seem easy but you want to be sure your business name reflects your brand and captures your spirit. You’ll also want to be sure someone else doesn’t have the same or similar name which could impact your marketing plan and Internet presence. Once you’ve selected your business name, make it legal and protect your brand. You may need to register your business with the government.
Get Federal and State Tax IDs. You’ll need an employer identification number (EIN) for opening a business banking account and to pay your taxes
Apply for Licenses and Permits. You’ll likely need to register your business with the State of Illinois and probably get a business license from the city or town your business will be located in. Be sure to check for special licenses or certifications that might be needed based on the type of business you are starting.
Open a Business Bank Account. A business checking account will help you handle and account for legal, tax and day-to-day expenses for the business. You’ll also need to track business revenue and expenses. There are several Small Business software packages that can help you do this.
Kevin Scanlan provides SCORE mentoring services at the BAPA office by appointment. If you have questions about opening a business or growing your existing business, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.