Starting a business can be an exciting venture for any budding businessperson. You want to make money doing what you love, and you want to work for yourself with your own hours and your own rules. But you have no idea where to start, or how to legally begin working as a business. What steps should you take?
First, come up with your product or service
You can’t sell anything if you have nothing to sell. Sit down and really think about something you enjoy doing, be it making something or doing a service. Be realistic with yourself as you think this through; not every idea is profitable and some of them may take months or even years to come to fruition. If you want to start a business now and skip the time investment, selling a simple product or service is probably the best route for you.
Here are 55 good business ideas that are inexpensive (if not free) to start up.
Design a business plan
Even if you’re not going to present to investors, you should draft a business plan for yourself. There are multiple services and tutortials online that will help you draft and polish your business plan so that if you ever do decide to seek investors, you have a polished product ready to offer.
If you’re really stuck on this step, consider seeking the advice of a professional or another entrepreneur.
Decide how you want to conduct business
If you’re working alone, for yourself, you are probably considered a sole proprietor in your business. This means that though you don’t need to take any legal steps in order to conduct business in your area, you may want to talk to your local government in order to copyright your business name so that no one else may operate under it. You may also want to invest in insurance policies for yourself, your home, and your vehicle, especially if you commute as part of your work. Some of those costs may be tax deductable.
If you plan on hiring employees or co-founding a business, there are some legal steps you may need to take in order to provide benefits and tax information for your employees. Seek the advice of a professional or your government to find out details (US resources / UK resources)
Design a logo and register a domain
Now that you have your company basics in order, you can focus on the smaller details like your logo and website. In the current business atmosphere, not having a website for your business is generally frowned upon and can even do you a disservice.
If you’re not the most talented artist or creative thinker, consider investing a little in a design firm that can create a custom logo for you to use on business cards, your website and more. You can even make vinyl stickers for your car windows.
That same design firm probably has a branch that works in web design, so to keep things consistent, consider paying a little extra for them to create a custom, professional website that will really wow your customers. Remember, often times your website is the first impression for your consumers, so be sure to make it a good one.
Starting your own business is fairly logistical once you have your idea down--though thinking of your business’s main product or service can often be the trickiest part.
Image courtesy of Myanmar-entrepreneur.