You have a great idea and now you want to start a business, so you turn on your computer and Google how to start a business.
After just a few minutes, you quickly become overwhelmed by all the different lists and guidelines you find online. Should you just give up and abandon all hope?
You have a great idea and now you want to start a business, so you turn on your computer and Google how to start a business. After just a few minutes, you quickly become overwhelmed by all the different lists and guidelines you find online. Should you just give up and abandon all hope? Before you sink into the pit of despair, here are the 5 things you need to get your business up and running. These steps only take 2-4 weeks, and then you will have a full business up and going.
Pick a name
First, pick out a name that describes your business, is short, and is catchy. People often try to be so unique or creative with their business name that they overcomplicate it. Unless you want to spend a lot of time and money to create a brand, just come up with a name that describes your business. You will want to keep it short so that when you get your web domain (see the next step) people won’t misspell your name or forget it.
Second, secure a web domain for your business name and build your website. To secure a web domain, you can go to a service like GoDaddy.com and see if “thenameofyourbusiness.com” is taken. If the exact name is taken, don’t be discouraged, there are a lot of websites out there. Try an abbreviation, or putting another word with your name. For example, if your business is named Cutecrafts but cutecrafts.com is taken, try something like mycutecrafts.com. Just remember, keep the domain name short and easy to spell.
Once you get your domain name secured, go to an E-Commerce platform provided. I personally like Shopify because it is easy to use, but there are others. Most platforms have a beginner’s guide to building your website. Your first attempt at building a website may not be as professional as you want it, but you can always work on that later or hire a website developer to take it to the next level once you start making sales.
Form an LLC
Third, form an LLC for your business. Why do you need an LLC? An LLC protects you from being personally liable for your business. If someone sues the business or wants to collect a debt, the LLC can shield you from putting your home and savings at risk. To form an LLC, I suggest you go to a business attorney to make sure everything is done right. Nothing is worse than having a deal fall part with an investor because they get scared off when your LLC is not set up correctly. If you are really strapped for cash, then use a service like legalzoom.com to set up your LLC.
Forth, find a manufacturer for your product. If you are selling a product that doesn’t need manufacturing then skip this step. Depending on your product, manufacturing can be the hardest part. If your product is complicated, you may want to find a local manufacturer you can work with to get a small quantity manufactured. As the amount of orders you are receiving grows, you will want to explore continuing to make it in America or taking it oversea. Made in America can be a great selling point and can create jobs.
Going oversea may save you money if the products is a low margin or low cost item. If you decide to go overseas, a great manufacturing resource to get a quote for overseas manufacturing is Alibaba.com. At Alibaba.com, you can find manufacturers for lots of different products, get quotes from multiple sources, and decide which one best fits your needs. Depending on where you produce your product overseas, be prepared to deal with language barriers.
Finally, talk with an intellectual property (IP) attorney to determine whether you need any patent, trademark, and/or copyright protection for your business. For some businesses, it is not worth the investment. For other businesses that have invented something new and unique or are building a brand, intellectual property protection is a must. A good IP attorney will be able to provide you with guidance as to what protection you may need for your business.
Still feeling a bit overwhelmed? Just take things one step at a time. If you can complete these 5 steps you will have everything you need to start a business. Then it is up to you to get out there and sell, sell, sell.