How to Start a Business
(all you need to know before you start)
Most people have a business idea in their head but never actually get around to starting one. I am going to show you how you can become an entrepreneur and start a business in an easy step-by-step format. You will learn everything you need to know to become a business owner in 2021 and beyond. We’re going to discuss everything from the initial business idea to registering your business.
What drives people to start their own business? Is it more personal freedom, a better work-life balance, a higher income, or all of the above? There are several benefits that come from being your own boss. However, there are also some drawbacks that you’ll need to consider too.
First, it can mean working all the time. Yes, you have freedom; but it also means responsibility. If you aren’t careful, you can end up working all the time. Second, it can limit your social life. If you are your own boss, you are expected to be available. You may have a hard time getting time off.
Third, it can mean hard work. Most entrepreneurs work hard, and you have to work hard if you want to see your business thrive. Fourth, it can mean failure. Failure is always an option, and some people have a hard time accepting this. Finally, being your own boss means you are on your own. If something goes wrong, there is no one to rely on to solve the problem.
So, are you ready to start your business? Sit down, grab a warm cup of coffee and make notes as you dive deep into this article.
Find the Right Business Idea
Starting an online business can be a daunting task. What do you sell? Who are your customers? Where do I find them? These are all important questions to ask yourself when trying to start an online business. One of the first questions you need to answer is how to find the right idea for your business. Let’s look at some actionable tips to help you find the right business idea.
Here’s what you need to know about problem solving and business. The bigger the problem you can solve, the more money people are willing to pay. But how do you find problems that are worth solving?
Tips for Finding Problems to Solve:
- Get outside. Go where people are and eavesdrop on conversations. Pay attention to the problems that come up over and over again in everyday life. This is a great way to find new business ideas or refine an existing business idea you have already started with a problem you want to solve
- Join different Facebook groups in your niche. Listen to the conversations and take note when someone mentions a problem they are facing. Do different people share the same problem?
- Use Google Ads and keyword research tools. Are there any popular terms that keep appearing over and over again?
- Research your competition. Figure out if others have tried to solve the problem before you and failed or succeeded. Google it! How deep does the rabbit hole go when you search for something related to a specific business idea, like “how to cure acne”? Do some digging around on Amazon and see what comes up.
As you see, there are different ways to find the right idea for your business. The important thing is you listen to what people have to say. They’ll be as happy as you if you manage to find a solution for their problems.
There’s no need to create something completely new, you can also find a new angle to an existing solution. Finally, make sure that this problem has economic potential, and people will be willing to pay for a solution. It’s all about finding problems where money is involved! If people aren’t willing to pay for the solution, then the solution isn’t worth developing.
Find Your Business Type
Choosing the right business model can be a difficult decision. There are many options to choose from, and each has its pros and cons. In this blog post, we will talk about six different types of business models – affiliate marketing, freelancing, coaching and consulting, information products, software as a service (SaaS), e-commerce – to help you come up with the best choice for your situation.
First, you need to know what your strengths and weaknesses are. Do you like working with people? How involved do you want to be in your day-to-day business operations? Are you looking for passive income ideas?
All these questions determine the type of business that best suits your character. Let’s dive into popular business types.
- Affiliate marketing – This is a business model where you promote other people’s products for a provision. This business model is especially suitable for people with blogs and existing audiences. Managing affiliate marketing campaigns requires solid people skills. You can also choose to be an affiliate for different companies at the same time which means you’ll need to set up several accounts on various platforms and keep track of all your links.
- Freelancing business – This is a business model where you provide services to clients or other businesses. This business model is suitable for people with specialties whether it’s programming, marketing, or freelance writing. The drawback is that you have to manage all your clients on your own.
- Coaching and consulting business – This is a type of business where you offer your expertise to other people on certain issues for either hourly rates or monthly retainers depending on the agreement between you and the client. People who are experts in their field can choose this kind of business model.
- Selling information products – This is a business type where you package your skill and sell them as a course, ebook, or webinar. This type of business is typically easier to start because you only need a computer with an Internet connection. It is a great option for people with existing audiences.
- Selling software as a service – This is when your clients don’t own the product, but they get permission to use it. This means that you are providing them some sort of “software” (e.g., CRM). The drawback of this business type is that you first have to develop the software.
- Ecommerce business – This is when you sell products and services to your customers. You can either create the product yourself or resell someone else’s product. This type of business requires a lot of inventory management, shipping, etc., so I would recommend outsourcing those tasks as soon as possible. This business requires a solid understanding of various skills and can seem daunting for complete beginners.
As you see, there’s no right or wrong answer here. It’s all about your personal preferences and strengths. Which business type would work best for you? Which type is most suited for your main business idea?
Do Market Research
The first step in market research is to know your target market. Who are you going to serve? What needs do they have that you can fill with your business idea? You need to get clear on this before you can move forward and start developing a plan for marketing and selling because it’s useless if there is nobody who wants what you’re offering. Once you’ve determined the answer to these questions, then comes the next important step: understanding your industry. Who are the competitors out there that offer similar products or services like yours? How does your business compare to theirs? What makes them different than yours and vice versa?
How do you gather the knowledge about your market and your customers? There are simple things you can do.
You can interview potential clients. Ask them about their needs and wants. Are they having a hard time with a problem they can’t solve? What kind of features are they missing from existing brands in the market?
You can also use one of the online tools that help you find out more about your target audience. Google Analytics will give you an idea about the demographics of your website visitors. And Google Trends can show how popular certain keywords are at a given time.
Finally, once we understand our target market and how we stack up against other players in our industry, it’s time to do the most important thing: position your business.
What makes your product or service better in regard to existing businesses in the market?
How are you different? How is your business better? These are questions you need to answer to gain the attention of potential customers.
Market research is the process of learning why consumers will want to purchase your service or product. If you can present the value you’re providing to your customers, you’ll instantly gain an upper edge compared to your competitors.
Choose a Business Structure
Choosing the right business structure for your new company can be confusing at first, but it’s important to spend some time on this now so you don’t have to change structures later. Let’s discuss how to pick between Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, LLCs, Corporations, and Nonprofits as well as what the differences are among these forms of business structures. We’ll talk about why each form is appropriate for different types of businesses and which one might work best for your specific needs.
Sole Proprietorship: A sole proprietorship is a company arrangement in which the owner is the only person with responsibility for any liabilities or debts that arise from the firm. This implies that all of the company’s profits go to the owner, however, 100% of any financial losses incurred as a result of debt or litigation fall on him as well.
This business structure is perfect for people that wish to avoid administrative tasks and higher fees when registering your company. This allows you to focus on growing your business rather than extensive paperwork and legal compliance. There are pros and cons to being self-employed.
Partnership: A partnership is a non-incorporated business form with multiple owners, similar to a sole proprietorship. Partnerships, like sole proprietorships, don’t have the liability protection of a formal company.
A partnership structure is best for you if you don’t want to start your first business alone. This is also a viable option if you have an experienced partner that can benefit your company with the knowledge and skills they deliver. Remember that all partners have to contribute funds in a partnership structure.
LLCs: A limited liability company (LLC) is a hybrid entity that combines the personal asset protection of a corporation with the flexibility of a partnership or sole proprietorship. The LLC form is preferred by most small businesses since it is easy to run and offers favorable tax treatment.
Limited liability is one of the primary benefits of the limited company structure. You, as an owner, are not personally responsible for the losses and debt of the business. This is a huge advantage: this structure allows you to conduct business without jeopardizing your house, family, or lifestyle.
Corporations: A corporation is a distinct legal entity that is run by its shareholders. Corporations have more formal rules than LLCs, and investors are more inclined to invest in them. The majority of large businesses, such as Apple, Google, and Amazon, are incorporated.
There are several advantages to becoming a corporation, including restricted personal liability, simple transfer of ownership, continuity of operation, easier access to capital, and occasional tax benefits. The benefits you receive from the corporation depend on the specific legal setup of the structure.
Nonprofits: A nonprofit organization is one that is not funded by investors but instead relies on donations. Nonprofits are usually set up to advance a social cause and are therefore exempt from paying taxes. The Red Cross, for example, is an example of such an organization.
Choosing how to organize your business will have a significant impact on you and your business. It will determine how much tax you pay, the degree of risk or liability to your personal assets, and the ability to access various funding sources. Choosing your business structure is one of the first important decisions you have to make when starting your business.
Make a Business Plan
A business plan is a written document that outlines the goals of your company and how to reach them. It also includes information about the market, competition, financial forecast, management team, and more. The goal of a business plan is to help you make informed decisions as an entrepreneur. Every entrepreneur should have one because it helps with decision-making in all aspects of running your company, from marketing to operations.
When written effectively, a business plan can help raise capital, inform decisions, and draw new talent. So, how do you write a simple business plan for a new company?
A well-written business plan consists of five parts: an executive summary, company description, market analysis, competitive analysis, and product/service description. Every section is important but they serve different purposes for your venture. Some are more relevant to certain industries than others so make sure you tailor it accordingly based on the market you’re in.
There are online tools and services you can use to write your business plan. You can also save a lot of time if you hire professionals to write your business plan for you. However, there are advantages to writing your own because it helps you think through all of the details and allows you to optimize every section so that they support each other in getting your idea out there.
Think of your business plan as a step-by-step plan that helps you navigate your company to where you want it to be. It’s like the GPS that guides you to success.
A business plan is necessary if you’re planning on securing financing from investors or banks. Banks want to see numbers that support your business ideas. They want to ensure they are investing in a company that has the potential to grow and expand.
A business plan is also helpful if you are looking for partners or employees who want to buy into your vision because it shows them the bigger picture of where you’re going with your idea. It allows others to see what they can contribute towards making this vision become a reality.
Your business plan doesn’t have to be long. You can write a simple business plan that highlights your strengths and the potential of what you’re creating. Just make sure you include all relevant information about your business.
Should You Get Funding?
Should you get funding for your new business? It’s a question that many entrepreneurs have asked themselves when they are deciding what to do with their idea. If the answer is “yes,” then you should be focusing on finding the right form of funding for your project.
You’ll need a detailed understanding of the costs involved in starting your company. Apart from regular operational expenditures, you’ll have to think about things and procedures you’ll have to invest in once your company is up and running. Some of the costs to cover include buying or renting an office, office equipment, and furniture, the cost of getting a business license, insurance, staffing expenditure, website development, marketing, and bookkeeping.
The largest amount will be needed for paying employees. Usually, small companies have at least two to three employees. In the US, paying two employees for a period of three months will necessitate approximately 10,000 dollars.
Now that you have an idea about the cost of setting up a business, you will have to identify the right funding source.
Investing your savings in the business is one option. You can also get family members or business partners involved. Alternatively, seek angel investors and shareholders. In order to appeal to such experienced investors, you’ll need a strong and unique company concept.
The right form of funding depends on how much money you need to get your business running. The easiest way to start is by covering the costs yourself. If you can’t do that, you should look for investors, loans, or partners. This is especially important in the initial stage when you have to spend a lot on marketing and advertising.
Remember that not all forms of funding are equally suitable for every business idea. In order to get the best deal possible, you should research all your options thoroughly.
Name Your Business
Choosing a name for your business is an important decision. A good company name can be the difference between success and failure. We’ll give you actionable tips on how to come up with great company names, as well as things to consider when legally registering the new business name.
First, we need to understand the main name types. There are four main types of names:
- Descriptive Names – These are just what they sound like. These describe the company’s business in one way or another. Some examples include Big Al’s, Baskin Robbins, and The Washington Post. Be wary when choosing a descriptive name because it can be difficult to trademark this type.
- Evocative names – These are names that represent a brand metaphorically. For example, the name Apple is a symbol of something that’s fresh and new. Amazon represents a huge selection and different items under a single roof.
- Arbitrary Names – These are names that don’t mean anything; they just sound good together or look nice to the eye (see: MTV). Brands often go with arbitrary names because it’s easier and cheaper to trademark them.
- Derivative Names – These types of names are derived from a company founder or product feature (see: Google). They’re easy for the public to remember but they can also be very generic and lack creativity. There’s a very thin line between derivative and descriptive names.
So, how do you pick a name type that best suits your business? Well, it depends on what you’re selling and who your target market is.
For example: If you want to sell clothing that’s targeted towards women then using a descriptive or arbitrary name such as “Samantha” might not be the best option because there are many other brands with the same name. On the contrary, if you were to pick an evocative name like “Genie’s Closet”, you might evoke the right emotions and attract the attention of your targeted clients.
It’s also better to use different name types than your competitors. Let’s say you notice in your market research that most of your competitors use simple descriptive names. In that case, it would be a good idea to pick either evocative or arbitrary names. This way, you’ll make sure your brand is different from the rest and that it stands out. After all, people tend to remember things that stand out better.
After you’ve come up with a list of appropriate name ideas, make sure to do some research and find out if it is already in use by another company or person (i.e., check online trademark databases). If your desired brand is available for registration, go ahead and file it with the corresponding authorities. Checking for availability isn’t always easy, and it might be a smart idea to hire a professional trademark attorney to help with this step.
Another thing you need to think about when picking your business name is domain availability. After all, we live in a world where it’s getting harder and harder to find available .com domains. What can you do if you find out that the name you picked can’t be registered as a .com domain? This is one situation where you should consider using an alternative top-level domain (TLD). You can pick from a variety of TLDs such as .co, .biz, and so on. Another option is to use modifiers. Modifiers are short words we add at the beginning or at the end of names to get available domains.
The last thing we will mention in this article about choosing your business name is the length. Usually, simple names are better than long ones because they’re easier to remember and easier for your customers to spell. But that doesn’t mean you should completely scratch longer names. Sometimes, a longer name is exactly what helps you stand out in the market.
You can simplify the process of coming up with your business name if you use the naming generator we have on our website. It’s completely free to use and will give you an unlimited number of ideas. You can also try other brand name generators online.
Build a Brand
When most people think of branding, they often think about the external aspects of a company. They might even confuse it with advertising. But what is branding really? Branding is all about creating awareness and recognition for your business in the minds of consumers. Building a brand is an important step that many businesses overlook when trying to grow their business. It’s time you took control over your own unique identity.
Here’s the truth – a recognizable and loved brand is one of the most valuable assets a company owns. A Nielson poll found that 59 percent of customers choose to purchase new goods from companies with which they are familiar.
As a small business, you will be competing against big brands with devoted customers and unlimited marketing budgets. That is why you must figure out how to stand out. This is exactly what a well-built brand can do for you.
What exactly is a brand, anyway? Simply said, your brand is defined by a customer’s overall perception of your business. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, uses this analogy: “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” Your brand is your reputation. It’s what people think about your business.
But how do you build a brand? Branding can be broken down into three simple parts – brand strategy, brand identity, and brand marketing.
Brand strategy is the first thing you need to create when building a brand from scratch. Your brand strategy shows how you’re different and better than your customers. It defines your purpose, promises, and shows how you solve problems for people.
You can think of brand strategy as the blueprint for how you want the world to see your business. Your brand strategy is made up of the following elements:
- Brand discovery
- Competitor research
- Target audience
- Brand voice
- Brand message & story
The second part of branding is your brand identity. This is how you want to present your company to the public with visuals, messaging, and experience. It determines how you present your brand in a way that creates the biggest impact.
Your brand identity is what people see. That’s why it’s very important that you present your brand consistently across different channels. The elements of your brand identity are:
- Colors and fonts
- Patterns and icons
- Website design
- Content and messaging
- Print or packaging
The last part of branding is brand marketing. This is defined as the way that your company brings awareness to your products or services. You have to ensure you use the right voice and effective communication to share the values of your company with the world.
You can do brand marketing through different channels like content marketing, paid advertising, SEO, social media marketing, and many more. We’ll dive deeper into them in one of the next chapters.
As you see, people buy from brands they know. That’s why every business owner should make efforts to build a memorable brand. This is the best way to succeed in the long run.
Building a successful brand is not easy, but it’s worth every effort you put into it. It can be hard work with high costs and constant changes, but the final result will pay off for years.
Create a Business Website
Your business needs a well-established online presence. Building your reputation starts with your website, and having an established corporate site will give you the chance to build quality content for those who are looking for solutions or products you can provide.
You can provide information about your company on the website like releasing information about new products or services coming out soon; highlighting old favorites from previous years that still hold up today (or even redesigning some classics); telling informative stories through pictures & videos that engage your target audience, or provide answers to common problems.
A business website can be the first point of contact for potential clients, whether they are in your area or not. You can use your website as an online scheduler where customers can book appointments with you from anywhere in the world. You can also use your business website to provide information that will help you establish your expertise in the respective field. You can even use your websites to access payments and provide support for digital clients. A website will give you a chance to accept payments and provide support via a digital channel.
A modern website gives you a lot of options and helps you run a business. A lot of new business owners worry that developing a website might cost them a fortune. But luckily, that’s not the case.
Setting up a website isn’t as hard as it used to be, in fact, many hosting providers have tailored their service around small businesses that may not be tech-savvy. We suggest going with BlueHost to host your website as they have an easy one-click WordPress installation tool. You can get 60% off hosting and a free domain name here. That’s everything you need to start building a good-looking website on your own.
Additionally, creating a blog on your website is also a great way to attract organic traffic and expand your business. Check out our full guide on the best and easiest way to set up a WordPress blog here.
Register Your Business
Business registration is not required in every state. If you are looking to start a business in the United States, it is important to know whether or not your location requires formal registration. You have to do your own research to determine if you have to register your business. Some cities have income limits that determine when you have to register your business.
Regardless, we suggest you register your business on day one to prevent liability as long as you can afford the registration fees. The sooner you register your business, the better. For example, if you get sued, and you’re already incorporated, your business is the one that will take the hit, not you personally. Of course, LLC isn’t the only business structure that’s available to you. We’ve gone through the most popular business structures in one of the previous chapters.
When should you register with federal agencies?
To become a legal entity, most businesses do not need to register with the federal government., other than simply filing to get a federal tax ID. Small businesses sometimes register with the federal government for trademark protection or tax-exempt status.
If you want to protect your business, brand, or product with a trademark, you have to file with the United States Patent and Trademark Office once you’ve formed your business.
When should you register with state agencies?
If you operate a limited liability company (LLC), corporation, partnership, or nonprofit corporation, you’ll most likely have to register with any state where you conduct business activities.
These are the most common situation where you’re considered to be conduction business activities in a state:
- Your business has a physical presence in the state.
- You often have in-person meetings with clients in the state.
- A significant portion of your company’s revenue comes from the state.
- Any of your employees work in the state.
- Some states allow you to register online, whereas others require you to submit paper records by mail or in person.
In most states, you must register with the Secretary of State’s office, a Business Bureau, or a Business Agency.
You can always hire professionals to do the administrative work for you. But it’s usually better if you’re the one monitoring the process.
Promote Your Business
It’s time to promote your new business! But how? Some people think that they can just set up a Facebook page and post on it every day. Others believe that paid advertising is the only way to attract clients, but you need more than one acquisition channel if you want to succeed. The most common things new businesses focus on when starting promotion are content marketing, social media marketing, and paid advertising. It’s important not to neglect any one channel for too long because they are all equally important in attracting potential clients and leads!
You have to work hard on establishing your professional reputation. You have to show your clients how you can enable their growth and provide them with adequate support. To accomplish this goal, you have to stay active on social media. You need to be present in your clients’ conversations, so having a strong profile is essential.
You also have to provide people with valuable content that can help them solve their problems and challenges. Content marketing will attract new leads while the ones who are already interested in what you offer get more familiar with how you do business and the value you can provide.
Apart from content-based marketing strategies, you can do marketing in a number of additional ways. The kind of business you have determines the strategies you’ll use. For example, starting a lawn care business means you’ll likely do different promotional activities than if you’re starting a food business. Here are some of the most popular promotion ways:
- Pay per click (PPC) advertising on relevant websites where your targeted audience hangs,
- Strategic partnerships with other service providers for the purpose of increasing your market share,
- Email marketing campaigns that engage your existing customers,
- Hosting local events, organizing workshops and seminars to establish your expert reputation,
- Referral programs that encourage your existing clients to bring in new leads,
- Online webinars that serve the same purpose as local events and workshops but are cheaper to plan and execute,
- Podcasts where you share your knowledge and show your expertise,
- Create an ebook and distribute it among clients and prospects,
- Partner up with local media to conduct an interview with leading experts in your company.
There are different ways to promote your business. The most important thing is to stay consistent and keep your audience engaged.
Set The Right Goals and KPIs
You need to set the right goals when you start a new business. Setting goals is one of the most important things you can do for your business. It helps you focus your efforts and see what’s most important to you. Goals are often set in terms of money, but that doesn’t mean they always need to be related to making more money. You could also set a goal for customer satisfaction or employee engagement, depending on what’s most important to your company. Once you set goals for your business, you will have to keep track of progress. To do so, you will need to choose the right KPIs.
Every business is different, and different businesses keep track of different KPIs. But there are general KPIs that most businesses monitor. These KPIs are:
- Leads generated: This is a simple, universal metric that demonstrates the effectiveness of your outreach and marketing efforts.
- The average fee per hour: This one is specific to service-based businesses. How much does your firm charge for each hour of service delivered? It’s possible that after some time, you should raise your hourly fee.
- Repeat business rate: It’s wonderful to win new clients, but you shouldn’t forget about your current ones. A high repeat business rate will be indicative of quality, consistency,, and overall customer satisfaction.
- Annual revenue per billable employee: This is the firm’s overall income divided by the number of employees. This statistic is crucial since it provides you with an estimate of your workers’ productivity.
- Profit margin: The difference between a company’s revenue and its expenses. Although this metric is sometimes used interchangeably with profitability, it has a separate meaning in the context of project management: it refers to how much money a firm makes after all direct costs have been deducted. In other words, the profit margin is the percentage of income that remains after all direct costs have been
As you see, the KPIs you should monitor depend on the type of business you’re running. It’s important to monitor the metrics that contribute to reaching your goals.
And remember that KPIs aren’t set in stone. You can change them as your business grows.
Other Things to Consider
Starting a business or any other corporate entity can be complicated. There are many legal requirements that you must meet before beginning to operate. Requirements vary depending on your location and nationality, but in general, you will need to obtain a federal ID number, a general business license, register with the proper authorities, and get an employer identification number (EIN) from the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Furthermore, you’ll need to get liability coverage. You’ll also have to familiarize yourself with the tax rules that apply to your chosen legal form of business organization. All of this can get a bit complicated. Talk to a legal professional. It’s also possible to hire a lawyer to complete the licensing and registration process for you. Professional assistance can save you time and money, allowing you to start working on your business faster.
Accounting & Bookkeeping:
Accounting for a new company is not an easy task. If you don’t intend to hire a full-time accountant, you should definitely outsource the process. Most accounting firms know how to handle the bookkeeping of modern companies. The same applies to freelance accountants. A freelance accountant will provide dependable and cost-effective services that are a great fit for a new firm looking to start up on a tight budget.
A final thing you’ll need to choose is the accounting software you’ll be using in your company. Client billing and invoicing, as well as online payments, are something you’ll have to deal with on a regular basis. You will need a flexible and user-friendly solution like Xero, for example. Other popular accounting software options include FreshBooks, Quickbooks Online, and Wave Accounting.
You might be able to run your firm on your own at first and outsource elements of your business that you just can’t manage (marketing, website creation, PR).
But as your business grows, you will have to increase the number of people working in the company. While investing in salaries could be costly, it will increase your company’s revenue generation potential and improve the quality of your business.
When hiring new employees, look for experts with enough experience that specialize in their respective fields. Always seek references in order to confirm the experience and the reputation of the person you’re considering for addition to the team.
Remember that hiring is an ongoing process, so when adding new staff members, make sure they are compatible with other employees already working in your company. You want employees that can work in a team and produce quality results.
Youtube Videos that Teach You How to Start a Business
We live in a digital world, and the way we receive information changed in the past years. It’s common to get answers to common questions in video format. YouTube is the second biggest search engine in the world, and you can find almost everything you need to know on the site.
It’s important you know who to listen to when it comes to important information. Anyone can start a YouTube channel, but that doesn’t mean that what they have to offer is worth listening to. You have to make sure you’re listening to authority figures in the business world for information that will help you start your own company.
Some of the best channels for entrepreneurs and business owners are:
- Google Small Business – You will find tips, tools, and resources to help you grow your small business.
- Marie Forleo – This channel provides actionable advice to help you reach your potential in business and life. It’s mostly geared towards creative entrepreneurs.
- Y Combinator – Learn how to optimize and grow your startup beyond what you thought was possible.
- TED – Listen to talks and presentations from world-class experts in different fields, including business and entrepreneurship.
- Skillshare – Learn new skills that will help you grow your business.
The list goes on, and it’s best to do your own research before you take any advice from popular YouTubers.
Here are a few videos we recommend if you want to get the information we shared with you in this article in video format.
How to Start Your Own Business in 2021 by Gillian Perkins
How to Start a Business from NOTHING in 2021 by Ali Abdaal
Startup Secrets: Turning Products into Companies by Harvard Innovation Labs
How to Start a Business In Different US States
Starting a business in the US isn’t easy. Each state has its own rules and regulations. It’s impossible to keep track of everything. That’s why we created a huge collection of articles that explain in detail how to register a business in different states in the US. All you have to do is click in the selected state and search for the information you’re looking for. This can save you a lot of time you would otherwise have to spend searching for information on Google. We hope you take advantage of the tool and start registering your business today.
How to start a business in Florida
One of the first things you need to do when starting a business is decide on a corporate structure. We’ve covered this in detail in one of the previous chapters.
After that, it’s time to start thinking about your business name. Once you’ve chosen your official business name, you can choose to file a fictitious name (also known as a“doing business as” or “dba”). The fictitious name act allows individuals or businesses to operate under a name other than their legal name. There are over 2 million businesses registered in Florida. We recommend you complete the necessary paperwork as quickly as possible to protect your business name.
Keep in mind it’s not free to register a business in Florida. The fees for filing an LLC as of 2019 include $100 for filing, $25 for a registered agent designation, $30 for an optional certified copy, or $5 for an optional certificate of status.
Small businesses in the state of Florida must register for identification numbers, permits, or licenses for the taxes depending on the service that will be provided. As part of the tax process, you’ll need to apply for a Federal Employee Identification Number, and in addition to registering with the Department of State, most businesses must register with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Most businesses pay federal, state, local, and sometimes city taxes. An advantage of acting on small business opportunities in Florida is that compared to the rest of the U.S., businesses in Florida generally pay a smaller amount in taxes.
There are two main licensing agencies for “skilled trades,” The Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) and The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS), but you may not need a license at all.
How to start a business in Texas
The Texas Secretary of State site has all the information you need to decide which business structure to choose for your Texas-based business. We have already covered how different business structures impact your business and your day-to-day operations. In Texas, you will need to go to your county clerk’s office to register proprietorships and partnerships. Corporations need to be registered with the Secretary of State’s Office.
After registering your business, you will need to file paperwork with federal, state, and local governments. To file your federal tax papers, you will need to visit the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website. All legal businesses in the United States are required to file with the IRS. Next, you will need to file state tax papers. In Texas, this is done through the Comptroller of Public Accounts. Lastly, you will need to file local taxes with the appraisal district and tax office in your county. You can find a list of local appraisal districts and tax offices for the counties in Texas here.
In addition to filing tax paperwork, you will need to determine if your business requires any special licenses, permits, registrations, etc. The requirements will vary based on the type and size of your business. In Texas, the Business Permit Office can provide you with information on the types of state permits and licenses you will need to operate.
Once you have registered your business and filed tax and permit paperwork, you will need to check that your business is compliant with both federal and state employer requirements. As you can imagine, there are many laws surrounding employment at both the state and federal levels. The Texas Workforce Commission lists Texas’s employer requirements on its website.
You can check our article on how to start a business in Texas for more information.
How to start a business in California
There are around 3.9 small businesses in the state of California, according to the Small Business Profile of 2018. These small businesses employ around 7 million people, so you’re certainly not going to be alone in wanting to start a small business!
First, we need to decide on your business structure. You can look at the California Secretary of State’s guide to entity types to see which business structures are available in California.
You should also get familiar with California-specific business taxes before starting your business. Knowing how much state and federal taxes you’ll pay is one of the most important things to consider when starting a business.
There’s a lot of things you’ll need to consider when registering a business in California. There are a variety of resources you can use to help with making sure you’re in line with California laws. These include taking a look into agencies like the Employment Development Department, the Franchise Tax Board, the California Tax Service Center, and the State Board of Equalization.
Keep in mind that if you’re going to be selling something physical, then you’ll need to make sure your company is registered to work correctly with the sales tax in California.
In addition to that, make sure your business is prepared for employer taxes in California if you’re going to be hiring any employees. This typically includes things like unemployment insurance, withholding tax, and insurance for those with disabilities.
A federal employer identification number, or EIN, is a unique number that will identify your company and yours alone. It’s a useful tool for making things like taxes, hiring and other business-specific tasks a little bit easier. If you discover that you will need an EIN, the best method is to go through the EIN Assistant provided by the IRS. This system will help you get through your application, though you can also opt to apply for an EIN through either the mail or fax if you choose.
Remember to take your time as you’re creating a plan and going through the paperwork needed to register your business in California.
How to start a business in Ohio
It all starts with your business structure. You can read about business structures on the US Small Business Administration website to pick the best one for your Ohio business.
After you pick your name and create your business plan, it’s time to register your company. This can be a complicated process, so it’s worth making sure you have all the paperwork you need and resources you can use just in case you need a little bit of help along the way.
The process is going to be different depending on the type of company you’ve decided to start. For example, the process of starting an LLC is simpler than starting a corporation. In either of these cases, looking for a registered agent that can help to guide you through it may be useful.
You can find all the information about starting a business in Ohio on the Ohio Secretary of State website. You will have your business up and running in no time if you follow the steps on the website.
You also have to understand the taxes you’ll have to pay. You can find a list of relevant business taxes on the Ohio Department of Taxation website, which will provide all the tax information you need.
One aspect of starting a business is the need for an EIN or Employer Identification Number. This is the number that will be used for taxes and other business endeavors that connect directly to your company.
When you’re ready to apply for your EIN, there are a few methods that you can use for obtaining it. Many opt to apply for it online using the EIN Assistant. This method can be quicker and more reliable, but some may still prefer to apply for it by mail or fax.
Read about the details in our how to start a business in Ohio article.
How to start a business in the other US States
Starting a business in the United States can be complicated. There are different sets of regulations for each state, and it’s important to understand these before you get started. You need to understand federal and state laws to know how much tax you’ll pay and how to hire employees.
Getting help from legal and taxation experts can help you speed up the process of starting your company. Keep in mind that getting professional help isn’t cheap. But it can save you a lot of trouble down the road.
The best source of information for starting a business in the US is U.S. Government Services and Information website. This is where every potential business owner should start their research.
You can take advantage of our article that explains the process of starting a business in every US state. Simply pick the state you want to register your business in, and we’ll provide you with all the information you need to start your business.
How to Start a Business In Europe
Europe is a great place to start a business. It has a large market, which presents an opportunity for growth in the future. Europe also has lots of innovative startups that are doing well because of government support. In general, the process to start a business in Europe is more bureaucratic and requires a lot of paperwork. Europe has many regulations that are not present in the US, like VAT rates, VAT registration, and insolvency rules.
Another thing to note is that you’ll always have to register with local authorities in Europe. The European Union is the governing body for member states, but local laws apply in every country. The EU encourages all countries to meet certain targets for helping to set up new companies, including setting up in no more than 3 working days, costing less than EUR 100, completing all procedures through a single administrative body, and completing all registration formalities online.
You can find relevant information for every member country on the European Union website. Keep in mind that not all European countries are members of the European Union. This means you’ll have to find information for every country on their official government website. We suggest you start your research by Googling “how to start a business in [desired country]” and following the steps listed on official government websites.
To make things even more complicated, each EU country has different tax laws that determine how much tax you have to pay. They also have different bureaucratic rules and regulations. In general, the best European countries for new businesses are Greece, Estonia, and Ireland. The three that are easiest to operate your business in are Denmark, Sweden, and Lithuania. When it comes to taxes, the three best countries are Ireland, Denmark, and Finland.
When taking all these into consideration, the best countries to start a business in Europe are Sweden, Denmark, and Ireland. Sweden offers a large and competitive free-market economy with a smart combination of the sophisticated welfare system makes it a strong, thriving, and intriguing investment opportunity. It has a 2.71 average GDP growth and is of the highest account surpluses in Europe.
Denmark is the country ranked first for ease of doing business by the World Bank in Europe – and very rightly so. Its economic system is similar to its neighbor Sweden – it has a market economy with a strong welfare program. Despite the emphasis put on welfare, it also ranks 7th in the world for being the most welcoming country for capital investment.
In Ireland, the corporate tax rate is only 12.5%. In 2020, it ranked first for doing taxes, according to the World Bank. This provides an incredible incentive for entrepreneurs and benefits those with existing companies by reducing their tax burdens.
As you see, there’s a lot to consider and understand when starting a business in Europe. You can find a lot of valuable information regarding the ease of doing business and taxation in different European countries on this website.
We suggest you also take a look at our Business Name Search index that gives you a detailed breakdown of where to search for business entity names for your specific country. You can also find out how to register your business name and what to do if it’s already in use. Click your state or country to get started.
How to Start a Service Business
No matter what kind of business you start, you’ll have to follow all the steps we highlighted in this article. Your business type mostly affects how you do your plan, calculate your profits, and promote your business.
One of the main advantages a service-based business has over selling products is the costs associated with starting a service business. If you’re crafty, you can start with minimum investments. You can build your own website and create your own logo. This means you’ll only have to pay for business registration fees and the tools you’ll be using to provide the service. Is this the right way to start your business? That depends on your current situation.
Another advantage is that you generally don’t need as many clients and customers to make a living. If you provide an ongoing service, you can build a thriving business with only a handful of regular clients.
The downside of a service-based business is that it’s harder to scale. Finding skilled employees is one of the biggest challenges service businesses face.
What are some of the most popular service-based businesses you could start? The simplest one is to start a consulting business. You can offer different consultations on the things you’re good at. Tutoring is another service business that is similar to consulting. You can try something simpler and start a cleaning business. The great thing about cleaning businesses is that they are always in demand, and everyone can learn the necessary skills. Other services you can offer are interior design, landscaping, or even starting a security company.
A lot of service-based businesses happen online. It’s hard to get consulting clients in the 2020s without having a strong web presence. You need to have at least some basic knowledge about starting an online business if you want to be a successful service provider.
These are all important factors you need to consider when planning your business. Make sure you include them in your business plan so you always have something to return to when you get lost.
How to Start a Business Selling Products
Starting an e-commerce business is similar to starting a service business. You will have to promote your business differently and use different KPIs to measure your success. There’s a lot of things you need to master to run a successful shop, from marketing to keeping track of your inventory. It’s usually best to start small and expand as you grow your revenue.
The main advantage of an e-commerce business is that it’s easy to scale. You will have to hire more storage workers once you grow, but that’s a skill most people can learn. It’s a lot easier to scale an e-commerce business than it is to scale a service business.
One of the downsides of an e-commerce business is that you need inventory. This means you’ll need more money to actually get your business running. The size of your inventory depends on the business you want to start.
You can simplify this process if you start dropshipping or even an affiliate business. These are relatively similar to operating an e-commerce business, but you don’t have to spend money on inventory as you’re starting. You can always expand your dropshipping business as you grow and start stocking your own inventory.
There are different niches and products you can pick when you start your business. It’s important you start with products that your target market wants to buy. That’s why it’s so important you take your time doing market research and writing your market plan. One of the options you have is offering a subscription box instead of selling individual products. This makes your e-commerce business a lot more predictable and less prone to ebbs and flows.
Other businesses that fall into the product-selling category are restaurants and food trucks. These could also be seen as service-based businesses since they also offer an experience, but you’re basically selling an item. This is a business model that’s been around for decades.
Writing an actionable business plan is one of the first things you need to know. Go over the pros and cons of an e-commerce business to see if it’s the right fit for you.
How to Start a Modern Business
The business landscape is changing rapidly. The technological breakthroughs in the past decades made some jobs obsolete while simultaneously giving birth to businesses our parents had no idea would exist.
To give you an example. It was rare for a family to own a home camera or camcorder 30 years ago, but we now walk around with super powerful cameras in our pockets. You can start a vlogging business with nothing more than your smartphone. The barrier to becoming a business owner has never been smaller.
You can even start your own radio station, production company, or a record label, without getting yourself into massive debt, which is what you had to do before the technology became so accessible. You can start a webcomic if you’re artistic and want to share your sketches with the world. Or even sell your original art online.
There are other ventures you can start that don’t necessarily fit into the traditional capitalism-based business model. We’re talking about foundations and non-profit organizations. You have to treat these as a business. You have an agenda that you want to spread, just like how businesses want to spread their marketing message.
We’ve also seen a lot of businesses take a modern approach to old-school business ideas. Microbreweries are gaining popularity, and brewers are bringing back brewing methods that were used a hundred years ago.
The construction industry is another market that has seen a lot of change in recent years. Marketing a construction business is different nowadays than what it was years ago. People love personal branding, and the trend is catching up in the construction industry.
Technology is changing all businesses, even the ones that have been around since the beginning. It’s relatively easy to start a travel agency, a real estate company, or even a day care center. You can even start selling insurance if you want. These are all businesses that used to come with a high bar for entry.
As you see, starting a business is as easy as ever. It’s up to you to take advantage of this fact and build your dream business. If you follow all the steps and implement the tricks we shared, you’ll have an unfair advantage compared to your competitors.
How to Start a Business as a Kid
Let’s start with an obvious question first – is it even legal to own a business before you turn 18 (or 21). The real answer is – it depends. Different countries and different states have local laws that dictate whether you can start a business as a kid or a teenager.
It’s best to check with your local authorities. You will probably need permission from your parents or legal guardians to start a business. Supportive parents understand the importance of business knowledge, and if you take your time to present them with your business plan, we’re sure you’ll get them to sign on to your idea.
Once you understand what it legally takes to start a business as a kid, it’s up to you to develop the business. The process is the same as for any other business. You have to find a solution to a common problem that people are willing to pay for.
Make sure you go over the details presented in this article. If you follow the tips we shared, you’ll have a solid foundation for starting your own business.
We learned everything we needed to know to start a successful business. As you see, starting a business requires a lot of knowledge. Everyone can file the papers and get their company registered, but that’s all worthless if you don’t start your business on the right foundations. It’s important that you take the leap when the time comes. But we generally suggest you spend enough time planning your business to have the best chance of success.
We wish you all the best on your entrepreneurial journey.