The First 5 Steps to Starting Your Own Business
Before we jump in, I want to talk to my business owners for a second.
I’m talking about those of you who’ve already started selling your products and services.
You may think that this video isn’t for you – that you’re too advanced for this post.
Have you ever been driving along, minding your business, bopping to your favorite jam, only to realize you missed a turn and now you’re driving North instead of East? And you don’t know what’s in “North” because you’ve never driven North before.
And now you’re lost.
I’ve spoken to a lot of business owners who’ve missed a step or two just like that while setting up their businesses legally.
And I don’t want that for you. #DontBeThatPerson
Watch the video or read the list below and check to make sure you’ve successfully completed each step.
*Please note that I am not a lawyer and this isn’t legal advice. It’s a practical guide to creating a solid foundation you can build your empire on. Consult with a small business lawyer to get specific, targeted legal advice.
1. Discover what your Secretary of State needs from you to register your business.
Every state in the United States has its own Secretary of State (SOS). Sometimes that person is called something else, like the Secretary of Commonwealth.
Doesn’t matter what their called.
What matters is that you can call this person’s office up to get all the details on what your state needs you to do to become a registered business.
Requirements differ across states, so what I did to register my business in Georgia, isn’t the same as what you would have to do in New York.
Your SOS website should have a list of requirements posted, BUT I recommend calling up the office and speaking to a human being.
Be sure to describe the type of business you want to start, what you’ll be selling, and were the business will operate (basically, where your business address will be).
2. Register your business.
There are several business types you can choose… LLC, Sole Proprietorship, C-Corp, S-Corp, etc.
And each type comes with it’s own registration process.
Your SOS website can help you here.
They will have written up descriptions of what each type is.
But if you’re still in doubt, get in touch with a small business lawyer and they’ll walk you through it.
Most of my clients choose an LLC, but do the research and choose what works for you.
3. Get a business license
Once you’re registered, get a license to operate your business in your city/county (wherever your business address is).
A lot of my clients think that once you have your LLC, you’re good to go.
Now that your business exists in the eyes of the government, you need permission to sell goods and services at your location.
The type of business license varies by industry and location. You may even need a permit for some things (like, signage).
Enter [your city] + “business license” to find the Business License Division for where your business is located. For example, “Atlanta business license”.
Again, call the office and speak to someone.
I had to go through this step twice because I went to the wrong office. *shrugs*
4. Go to irs.gov and get an EIN (tax ID) for your type of business.
This step is sort of optional… but probably not.
Not all businesses need an Employer Identification Number.
But I decided to get one since I treat myself like an employee and hire people to help with the business. I also chose to get one because of how I file my taxes.
This is a free process, I’ve seen websites charging for it which is just… 😒
I got my ducks in a row (see steps 1-4), applied for an EIN for $0.00 and got one the same day.
5. Set up your business bank checking and savings account.
Yes, even before you start making money.
You want to start separating your business dollars from your personal dollars from the very start (or as early as possible).
It’ll raise fewer flags for the IRS and it’ll make filing your taxes easier.
Every penny you make from your business should be depositied into your business bank account first.
Once it’s there, pay the business first (deposit a portion into a business savings account), then pay its employees (that’s you!).
This step involves a small, but mighty, mindset shift.
You’re going to go from “I closed a 6-figure deal last month” to “My business got a new client worth 6 figures.”
Which of these steps have you taken? Am I missing any?
An Easy Way To Get Started
Now that you know what 5 steps you need to take in order to build your small business.
It’s time to take action.
It’s time to get started.
I created a great way for you to organize all your thoughts and actions in starting and growing your very own business.
Introducing The Get Started Kit!
What you’ll find in this kit:
- How to quickly choose a business idea when you have a million of them.
- Where to go to register your business with your state.
- How to easily track your potential Strategic Partners.
- An easy start to connecting with future partners AND to getting more Yeses!
- What to do next to get my (Christiana) help with building and growing your online business strategically.
Make sure you never miss a thing:
How can I join the show?
There are two ways to join CDATbusiness:
(1) Apply to appear as a guest on our show.
(2) Offer to sponsor episodes.
As a guest: you’ll 1 or 2 pre-production calls to get your questions answered and finalize your film schedule. Then the production team will meet you on the day and location of your choosing to capture your story. Apply to be a guest here.
As a sponsor: we offer a wide variety of customizable services. From Instagram stories to fully produced video. We’ll go the extra mile to make sure our viewers get to know your business. Apply to be a sponsor here.