Starting a business has become easy and convenient in the United States. You can operate from home in your pajamas even. While that is true, this is just the beginning. Running a business takes a lot of effort, time & energy but the satisfaction of being your own boss, time management and flexibility has proven to be such an attraction to start one.
You as the business owner will be the driving force as you set the tone and direction of your company. The success of your business will depend on so many factors including your management style.
Determine what kind of entity you are setting up
In the US, you have a few choices. You can be a sole proprietorship, an LLC, an S Corp or a C Corp. It is best to speak to an attorney for the legal set up of your company. Why do I suggest this?
If you treat setting up a business seriously by spending the money to set up an entity, you avoid thinking of it as a hobby. It is also important to check with the city requirements in terms of permits and business license where you will be operating your business.
Know your target audience or clientele
If you are planning to sell a product, look at similar businesses, research on their pricing, look at your source of materials and labor and work on a markup so you can make a profit. The general rule of thumb is 1/3 labor, 1/3 overhead and 1/3 profit. Then begin with a website. Social media strategy and presence on the internet has become so vital nowadays. Use the right tools on social media to gain traction.
Set up a good accounting system
Start with opening a business bank account and a business credit card as soon as your entity is set up. It encourages you to have a smoother flow of transactions and easier bookkeeping because your business transactions are properly segregated from your personal transactions.
Create a business road map
This is one of the crucial step if you want to start a business in the US or elsewhere. This will be your guide to your business journey. It can be a simple write up of 10-15 points you want to accomplish with the timeline you set. It could include your immediate plans, hiring, marketing strategy moves, etc.
Because having a new business can be very overwhelming, a road map will help you get organized. And remember, do one thing at a time and complete each task so you are not in over your head and things are not left hanging.
Lastly, make sure you are familiar with all the deadlines: federal and state tax filing deadlines, payroll tax and sales tax reporting deadlines.
It is important that you are not delinquent with any of these filing requirements so your business runs without interruptions or any liens on your account because of missed filings or payments.
I have been a business owner for 13 years now and I would not change a thing. Sure it is not easy, but the joy of serving clients and the flexibility it allows to raise a family has become a far more important factor for a balanced life.
Your drive will make or break your business. Make sure that it is the kind of business that you love to do, that it has potential for profitability. Have the proper mindset and focus. It will be hard at first and it could be a long journey, but do not easily give up, persevere and you will reap the fruits of your labor.
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Sharon Masler is the president of Masler & Associates, CPA. She has 25 years experience in finance and accounting. Her background includes planning and performing audits, reviews and compilations of financial statements, primarily for medium-sized, privately-held companies in manufacturing and distribution industries.