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Monday, June 7, 2010

Home Business Start Up Checklist

Before you do anything, you want to research your market to make sure that your business has the
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
Market?



  • You may need to check zoning requirements for your business to make sure you can operate in your
    neighborhood (for example, if you plan to run a group home, day care, commercial cooking business
    out of your home).




  • Register your fictitious business name with the city or county clerk. Will you
    operate your business as a sole proprietor or do you want to set up a partnership or corporation?
    What is the difference?




  • Obtain a business license from your local government office. Requirements vary by
    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?





  • Open a business bank account. You'll want to keep your personal and business
    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
    account.





  • 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.




  • Obtain any necessary business financing. Getting a business credit card an help you establish business
    credit.




  • Register with the state for collection of sales tax, if applicable.




  • Register with the city/county for local taxes.





  • 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
    you.



  • Get a payroll book, accounting software or hire an accountant to handle business bookkeeping. If you
    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.




  • Lease or buy commercial space for your business. Information on commercial leases. If you need to put together contracts or legal
    documents of any kind, you can get low-cost online assistance from a variety of qualified legal services for small businesses.




  • Meet with a local insurance agent about business insurance requirements and options. If you need to
    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.





  • Get a business phone line. You may be surprised to find out how cheap it can be to set up
    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.




  • Order business cards. Often overlooked, business cards can be a very efficient and low cost advertising
    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
    you.





  • Buy a domain name and get a website. Even if you don't sell any products or services
    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.




  • Set up a credit card merchant account. If you're handling transactions online and want to
    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
    own.





  • Hire employees, if applicable. Get more information




  • Submit a press release to your local paper and online distribution service about the opening of your
    business. This can mean free publicity for your business instead of paid advertising, and you can even
    write your own press release.
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    Desiree
    (224) 944-9443
    desireerichardson@marykay.com
    http://www.marykay.com/desireerichardson

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