Tips for Starting Your Own Business
It can be daunting to consider the idea of starting your own business. It’s important to learn and plan as much as possible before you launch your site. You have your product or service, there is setting yourself up as a legal business and setting up the bank account, there is the accounting, invoicing, and much more to deal with. There are lot’s of services aimed at helping you speed up your business setup, but many of these things you can do on your own.
Starting Your New Business
Many things go into a successful business, from the brand, to the value proposition, to the quality of the product or service, maintaining client relationships and staying focused on growth all at once.
Selecting a Name for Your Company Brand
The name of your company is important, maybe it will be named after you, or you’ve selected a great name that you know rocks. Silly names and logos may give the feeling of small-time or local, and that can be an advantage or disadvantage depending on the market and the future. Consider an intelligent name that will look and sound good far in the future when your company has matured. Maybe keep it broad in case you add services to your lineup down the road. This is important when selecting your domain name for your website as well.
Registering Your Business with the State
When the time comes that you feel you’re ready and have a solid product or service to provide, it may be time to register your business with the state. Depending on your niche a business license may be required. For construction or tree services, a license is required through the state as well as certain insurance coverages. For marketing services and web development, like myself, there is no license required. The first step, if you are a Floridian, is to go to the state’s website www.SunBiz.org where you can do a name search to see if the name you’ve selected already exists, or if it’s available you can then move forward and pay the $125.00 fee directly to the state by credit card. From there you are officially a business owner / CEO of your new company. But then there is receiving funds into a bank account, and to receive funds in your business’ name – you need an EIN or Employer Identification Number. To get your EIN you will need to contact the IRS and go through their process. Once that EIN has been issued to you, THIS is what you need to register a business account at your local bank. Then you can take checks made out to you or your business and deposit them into your business account. Even if you accept payments online
Get Your Own 1-800 Phone Number
There are a number of cheap options for the 1-800 numbe for start-up business owners. One option is called CallRail, and can be integrated with your Google Analytics to track goals in your website and marketing efforts. Finding your own 1-800 number is also easy with a company called Kall8.com. You can select from different combinations of phone numbers that may match your company name or brand in a way. Then you can have those calls forwarded to your mobile phone, and they have notification “You have an incoming call” – to which I know to answer “ProDeveloper, this is Phil.” versus “Hello?”. Little nuances like this can help your business look more mature and smart than most startups.
Business Cards for You or Employees
Many new business owners will inevitably need their own business cards. For fast services we suggest companies like VistaPrint who are easy, but take forever to deliver the product and are only slightly competitive on pricing. Strongly consider giving your business to a local print shop, and also consider having your cards designed by a professional designer – they can add an extra touch of excellence to your brand when you are networking.
Networking in Your Niche
Lot’s of businesses rely heavily on networking, online and often in person. There are lot’s of networking groups both locally in the Tampa Bay area – really most larger cities. LinkedIn is also a great option for online networking. There are local and niche-related groups you can join and see what other business owners are doing, and how they are promoting themselves online. Don’t join these groups and start spamming immediately – listen, get to know others. Then after time your posts will garner more viewers and increase your brand effectively on the largest networking group online.
Website and Web Marketing
Your web presence and web visibility are a must-have for most businesses, whether online only or brick-and-mortar businesses. For local traffic, be sure to sign up for free for Google Business. They send you a card with a code to verify your business location – and voila you can begin showing up on Google’s local search maps in search results. Get five or more reviews as fast as you can, it will help bump you to the top of the list for those map results.
Your website is the face of your business nowadays, and it has to be great. It’s like a super business card that can help you build your brand. A bad website can lower a potential customers trust in your services. A great site can help create a sense of security, and can help build your brand. There are many options for web development like Tampa Bay’s ProDeveloper, and other free options like Wix. But these basic options may reach a plateau on what you need from your site – so we suggest building your websites with WordPress, a highly flexible platform that has plugins and solutions for nearly every business market.
Domains you can acquire all over the place, but I still suggest GoDaddy for domain purchasing to my clients. I do not however suggest them for a professional hosting platform. Nowadays I prefer using a company called SiteGround that is solid, deliver fast speeds and content deliver – which is crucial to making Google happy.
Another aspect of your website will be it’s mobile friendly layout. About half or more of traffic across all platforms is now mobile – so you want a site that is ‘responsive’. Responsive web design build ‘changes shape’ depending on whether you are viewing it on a desktop computer, tablet or mobile phone. Being mobile friendly is also a huge part of making Google happy.
Accounting and Invoicing
Small business owners need to have solid solutions for their accounting needs. Even if it’s just meeting the basic needs, having your ducks in order as far as accouting is invaluable. Quickbooks is a popular solution for small businesses but other cheaper solutions exist like InvoiceAsap or PayPal for invoicing.
I hope these tips on starting your own business will save you a lot of money, as well as your time. Focus on making money more than focusing on running a business, streamlining your operation and staying organized is key to running a intelligent, long lasting small business.