You’re in a great space right now, you’ve established the business you will start and it’s time to move on to the next step. You must take realistic steps to really get your business off the ground. Here are 5 tips for some work that must be done on the backend for you to be successful.
1.) Establish a name for yourself. You can use your own name. However, you can also create a name that is unique to your business. If you go with the latter, you will need to register your trade name with the county recorders office where you will do business. There is a minimal fee, but it’s painless and takes just a few minutes of your time. In my county, it was only $7.
2.) If you choose to use a trade name/dba (doing business as), you will want to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN). This can be obtained through the IRS website for free. Don’t let anyone trick you into paying for this service. Again, it’s painless and only takes a few minutes of your time. If you’re hung up on the process, just give them a call. This will allow you to open a bank account in the name of your business and keep your personal finances separate from your business finances.
- Here’s a link directly to the page on the IRS website: https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/apply-for-an-employer-identification-number-ein-online
3.) Speaking of finances, this brings me to my next tip. Establish a system to keep track all of your finances. This may be out of your comfort zone or even scary to think about but it’s crucial. You could create a simple Excel spreadsheet to track incoming and outgoing finances or you can opt for accounting software. FreshBooks is an amazing bookkeeping system and very easy to use. You can keep track of your expenses, track time, create invoices and more, and it’s online. You can even set up your bank account through the system to allow for easy payments straight through the invoice your customers receive.
- While they do offer a free 30 day trial, there is currently a fee of $15 a month to use the software. This will allow you to bill up to 5 active clients. The fee increases to $25 a month for up to 50 active clients. Trust me, it’s well worth the money if you don’t have an accounting background. I never tried QuickBooks myself, but from what I hear, FreshBooks has a much easier learning curve. Their link: https://www.freshbooks.com/
4.) On to step #4. Open a bank account just for your business. While you can intermingle your personal finances, I would strongly recommend against it. It will be much easier on you come tax season and allow you to keep things more organized. You will need your EIN number before you head to the bank so keep that in mind with this step.
5.) Last tip and one of the most important in my opinion. Sit down and create a marketing strategy for your business. Do not aimlessly promote yourself around town. While you may get clients, they may not be your ideal clients and you may end up wasting your time, efforts and money. Be precise about who your customer is, know where they are and understand where you need to be.
- Know which social media platforms to utilize, understand if email marketing is for you and which system you will use, should you place local ads in your community and if so, be specific about what places. This step may take a little longer but will be well worth it in the end. Check the blog next week for more in depth tips on building your marketing strategy.
Although these are not the only steps to start up, they are 5 very important steps you don’t want to ignore. If you feel stuck on something, please feel free to contact me and I’d be happy to help you out and get things moving along.
Best to you, Shante