So you're ready to launch your business. Starting a business is exciting and overwhelming. You might be wondering where to start. There's so much to do. Keep reading . . . we've got 8 steps you need to start your business.
Before you start reading, grab your own copy of The Ultimate Launch Your Business Checklist. It's a 5-page checklist for everything you need to get started.
An obvious step one, but worth mentioning since there are a few things to consider.
You might have several ideas or none. If you have several ideas, use the chart below (made popular by Guy Kawasaki) to gauge which idea has the highest potential to be successful.
If you’re in the “I have no idea what to do but I want to have my own business” camp, here are some questions you can ask yourself to drum up some ideas:
As you come up with ideas, use the chart above to see where they land in terms of uniqueness and value. Whatever lands in the upper right quadrant has the highest probability of success.
A lot of new business owners overthink how their business name sounds or if it has some abstract meaning to it and they underthink if it’s practical. Here are the necessary, practical considerations when naming your business:
Your domain is your web address. When you purchase your domain, it gives you the right to put whatever your heart desires on that domain. It does NOT store your data. That’s called hosting and is a separate monthly cost.
You can purchase your domain from a million places. GoDaddy, BlueHost, and Host Gator are all very common. Pick one. And don’t pay more than $20 a year for your domain. If your domain is listed for $2000, you’re getting taken by a domain squatter. Google that term for more info on that.
You need a business email address. Please do not use email@example.com. That’s not a business email address. Go set up an account with Google Workspace for $6/month.
Then get yourself a business mailing address from iPostal1. Do not, I repeat, do not use a PO Box. Google will shadow ban you. I know. I learned the hard way. I had to beg Google to let me back into its graces. It flags you as a scammer.
Last, get yourself a free Google Voice number. Done.
File for an LLC with your local office. The price varies from state to state. It hurts to pay a couple hundred dollars (or more) for a piece of paper. You need it. Do it.
Remember this: an LLC is how you are registered with the state. It does NOT determine how you file for taxes. I won’t go into it here, but I do suggest going to the college of Google to learn the different ways you can file your taxes as an LLC.
EIN stands for employer identification number. While it may sound like you need to have employees to get an EIN, you don’t. It’s the same concept as a social security number. It’s a 9-digit number that IRS uses to identify your business. If you don’t have this, you have to use your social security number when you file for taxes. You want to keep personal separate from business. Trust. And, it’s free.
Also free. You get this number from Dun & Bradstreet. It’s super easy to request and is assigned in a matter of days. The beauty of a D-U-N-S number is you start building business credit.
Again, don’t mix personal with business. Keep it separate.
And now you're ready for the next step of your business.