Last month’s blog introduced steps to starting a business. Today we’ll cover the next five steps, including registration; building your team, choosing vendors, branding/advertising, and the launch.
- Register with the government and IRS
To become an officially recognized business entity, you must register with the government. The details of registration will vary, depending upon your decision to incorporate, form an LLC or just be a sole proprietor. Forming a corporation would require the assistance of a CPA or an attorney. If your business name is particularly unique, you may want to take steps to trademark your business name for extra legal protection.After you register your business, you may need to get an employer identification number (EIN) from the IRS. While this is not required for sole proprietorships with no employees, you may want to apply for one anyway to keep your personal and business taxes separate, or simply to save yourself the trouble later on if you decide to hire someone else. The IRS has provided a checklist to determine whether you will require an EIN to run your business. If you do need an EIN, you can register online for free.You also will need to file certain forms to fulfill your federal and state income tax obligations. The forms you need are determined by your business structure. There is a wealth of information provided at the Small Business Administration website, including a complete list of forms you will need, state-specific tax obligations, federal and state licenses and permits. SBA: https://www.sba.gov.
- Build your team
Unless you’re planning to be your only employee, you’re going to need to hire a great team to get your company on a firm foundation for growth. Your people are just as important as your products. Your role as the leader involves how the team will work together. Finding the talents and strengths of each team member is important and leads to defining roles, division of labor, structuring a process for feedback and enhancing the overall culture of your company.
- Choose your vendors
Most businesses need to rely on third-party vendors to help with the workload. Companies in every industry from human resources to business phone systems exist to partner with you and help you run your business as best as possible. Your B2B partners will often have access to vital parts of your business, ranging from your books, to patented materials, or your clients. It’s important to have people you can trust. You should interview them as you would a managerial employee.
- Brand yourself and advertise
The first step in marketing is defining and building a brand. Brands are built on the strengths of your product or service and showing your marketplace what makes you unique. Continuity is key. Create a logo that’s easy to define and be consistent in using it across the marketing platforms, including your website. Social media and your website are how many people will get to know you. Engage your followers with interesting and helpful information, some inspirational messaging and then selling. How you market is just as important as how you provide your product or service. We like the following equation: Your story + style = brand.
- Launch and beyond
Your launch and first sales are only the beginning of your task as an entrepreneur. In order to make a profit and stay afloat, you always need to work at growing your business. It’s going to take time and effort, but you will be rewarded.Look for industry partnerships that will help both companies. Reach out to other firms or non-profits to partner with. You might volunteer some of your time or products to get your name out there. You might find an influential blogger to talk about your product in exchange for free goods or services. Be creative.
- Now go grow your business
Your business will become one of your more rewarding, yet difficult relationships. Continue to learn new ways to improve; mentor your employees; serve your clients with enthusiasm; and look to new leaders to model.