First Steps in Starting a Business

For many would-be entrepreneurs, not knowing what to do stops their business before it starts. One out of four Americans have considered starting a business but decided not to, a Gallup poll found. When asked what held them back, 49 percent said they had an idea but didn’t know where to start. If you’re not sure where to start, here are some first steps you can take to start turning your business idea into a real business.

Writing Your Business Plan

A solid business plan is the foundation of any successful enterprise and key to attracting investors. Your plan’s executive summary presents your plan in brief to potential investors. Your market research section explains how you intend to compete. Your marketing and sales section elaborates how you will sell to your market. Other sections outline your organization and management and detail your product and service lines. Your financial projections section should include key financials such as projections on profits and losses, your cash flow, your balance sheet and your break-even analysis. This sets the stage for a funding request section where you explain what type of financing you need and how you expect to repay it, get useful reference here.

The SBA’s site provides online tools to help you build your plan. You can also find resources, including guidance from experienced mentors, on SCORE’s website.

Finding Financing

To assist you in obtaining financing, SCORE walks you through the most common sources of funding and provides tools and resources. Most entrepreneurs use their own savings and credit or borrow from family and friends to some extent. Regardless of how you fund your company you will need to build a solid reputation.  Sites like GMB reviews will give you a snapshot of how your business is perceived by customers.

If you want a traditional loan, you should work toward building your credit score to 700, or you can find a cosigner with good credit. Alternately, if this is challenging, you can approach community-based lenders, to whom SCORE can help refer you. Other options include finding a partner, finding investors, angel investors, equity financing, a Longterm Loans with Unsecuredloans4u and crowdfunding.

Setting up Your Company

In order to obtain financing, you will need to open for fast payday loans. To do this, you’ll need to make some decisions about your business name, your location and address and your form of legal incorporation. You will then need to register your business name with your state, obtain tax identification numbers from your state revenue department and the IRS, and obtain any federal, state and local licenses and permits your business type requires. You should also set up a business website, email address and social media profiles.

Hiring Contractors and Employees

To start operations, you will need to decide whether you plan to outsource to contractors or hire employees. Before hiring, you will need to go through a series of steps to set up your taxes, as detailed in depth on Nolo’s legal information website. While starting you business with new technology, this staffing agency software will make things much easier.

After obtaining your federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) or the equivalent, you must register with your state’s labor department for unemployment compensation taxes. You will then need to obtain workers’ compensation insurance and set up a payroll system to withhold taxes.

You can recruit talent through resources such as networking referrals, staffing agencies, LinkedIn and job boards. Once employers are hired, they will need to declare their allowances on W-4 forms and I-9 forms to demonstrate work eligibility. You must also report hires to your state’s new hire reporting agency, post required notices and adopt workplace safety policies. You will need to create an employee handbook, set up personnel files and set up your benefits program. Each year, you will need to submit your employees’ W-2 forms, along with a W-3 form summarizing your W-2 filings. If you’re using contractors, you may need to use W-9 and 1099-MISC or other forms.

Accepting Payments

With your business bank account and EIN, you can set up your system for accepting payments. If you want to accept credit cards directly, you will need to set up a merchant account. Top Ten Reviews provides an overview of some of today’s leading merchant account services, such as Flagship, Payment Depot and Helcim. Alternately, if you plan to receive payments primarily online and you don’t want to pay merchant account fees, you may want to look into online payment processing services such as PayPal.

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