opportunity to be profitable. You'll want to look at things like consumer trends, current markets (local,
national and international), industry knowledge, competition and future growth. To get started, there are
free market research tools that you can access online, such as FedStats, "Statistics of U.S.
Businesses" from the Census Bureau and the Small Business Administration's Office of Economic
Research. Who is Your Target
neighborhood (for example, if you plan to run a group home, day care, commercial cooking business
out of your home).
operate your business as a sole proprietor or do you want to set up a partnership or corporation?
What is the difference?
city and state, and also the type of business you're starting. You can go into your local office, or
some cities allow you to download applications right from their websites. Do you need to copyright your work or obtain a patent or trademark?
finances separate with a separate bank account. This also enables you to write checks from your business
account and accept checks made out to your business name. Interview and compare several banks to find
the services you want. Business bank accounts are not necessarily any more expensive than a personal
Create a business plan. Planning your business before you start is important,
especially if you need to secure financing. Business plans can be simple or complex, depending on
your business. Business planning software makes the process easier. Bplans.com has over 500 sample business plans that
you can view online for free.
Also, creating a business budget can make managing your business much easier: Set up a Home Business Budget.
Apply for a Federal Tax ID Number
You get a Federal Tax ID Number, or Employer ID Number (EIN), from the IRS. You can apply through their
website, by phone, fax or mail. For fastest service, apply online. It can take up to five weeks to get
your EIN if you apply by mail.
The EIN you receive is your permanent number and can be used for business tasks such as opening a
business bank account, applying for a business license or filing a tax return. (You can also get
information at the site about business income tax, self-employment tax & paying estimated taxes.)
If you don't know if you need a Federal Tax ID Number for your business, answer these questions. If you already have a Tax ID Number, but have misplaced
it, you can call the Business and Specialty Tax Line at (800) 829-4933 and have them look it up for
decide to purchase software, you can save money if you buy a versionn that is a few years old rather
than the latest version. There usually isn't much difference.
documents of any kind, you can get low-cost online assistance from a variety of qualified legal services for small businesses.
find an insurance agent, you can use the IIABA (Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America). You can also get
free business insurance quotes and information online.
a toll-free 800 phone number, a multi-line phone system, VoIP or add an additional
phone number to your existing service. You can even find online conferencing services for cheap.
method. See how you can design your own professional business cards online >> Free Business Cards. See also: 30-50% off Postcards, Brochures and
more Design your own marketing pieces online - templates are provided and the printing is done for
online, a website can be a way for customers to find you and get information on your business. Save
money by creating your own website with simple online design programs, or outsource the job
to an affordable website designer.
save money, you can sign up for a merchant account with PayPal for free. There are no monthly fees; you
pay only per transaction. Payments are made through their secure server, so you don't have to have your
business. This can mean free publicity for your business instead of paid advertising, and you can even
write your own press release.