Do you have a great idea for a product or service?  Are you ready to become an entrepreneur but have no idea where to start? And money….are you concerned that you don’t have the funds to launch your idea? Starting a business is a lot easier (and cheaper) than you think! Below is a starter’s guide to launching your own business.

  • Think of a name and check with your state for availability - Choosing a business name is an important step in the business planning process. Not only should you pick a name that reflects your brand identity, but you also need to ensure it is properly registered and protected for the long term.
  • Chose business entity structure – The business structure you chose will have different legal and tax implications. Below is a quick overview, but check with your accountant or attorney to help you select the most advantageous business structure for you. (However, my opinion would definitely be to incorporate your business!)
  •  Sole proprietor - most basic type of business to establish. You alone own the company and are responsible for its assets and liabilities. You also assume all liability for your company.
  • DBA – if you’re a sole proprietor but don’t want to run the business under your legal name, you can file a Doing Business As (DBA) name.
  • Partnership – single business where two or more people share ownership. There are 3 general types of partnerships but essentially, each partner contributes to all aspects of the business, including money, property, labor or skill. In return, each partner shares in the profits and losses of the business. The liability of each partner varies based upon the partnership agreement.
  • LLC - A limited liability company is a hybrid type of legal structure that provides the limited liability features of a corporation and the tax efficiencies and operational flexibility of a partnership. The company is held liable and your personal assets are protected. This is the most common form of business structures.
  • C- Corp – A corporation (also known as C-corp) is complex and mainly for larger businesses with multiple employees. This entity is owned by shareholders and the company is subject to double taxation. 
  • S-Corp – An S-Corp is similar a C-corp but is taxed on a personal level (similar to an LLC) where the profits and losses pass through to a personal tax return.
  • Register with the state (if applicable) – Fees vary by state and by entity structure (as discussed above) but can start as low as $50. Check with your local secretary of state office.
  • Obtain EIN – An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number, and is used to identify a business entity. Free of charge on www.irs.gov website.
  • Check with state for other licenses or business – Depending on the type of business you have, additional licenses, registration, and zoning may be required. Check with your state to ensure you are in compliance and for application fees.

It’s just that simple! You are now a registered business and can begin operation!
A few other cost saving tips are listed below to get you started with marketing your brand!
  •  Business cards – Utilize vistaprint.com to design and print business cards until you get a budget to hire a graphic designer. Costs as low $16.
  • Website – Buy a domain name to start building a website. Godaddy.com often has sales for domain names starting at $12
  • Social Media pages – It is absolutely free to use social media to market your business. The power of social media is huge!
  • Blog – Blogging is a free tool to market yourself as an expert in your field.

If you have any questions about entrepreneurship, tax implications of business structures, or tax benefits from the IRS, please feel free to contact me!

I hope this was helpful and gave you some of the tools you’ll need to launch your great idea!

“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing”
-Walt Disney