The ongoing pandemic greatly impacted not just our way of life but also our source of income. Many ended up unemployed, and those who managed to save up enough money took the risk and started their own business. If you are currently thinking of starting your own small-scale company to financially adapt to the new normal, here is a guideline that can help a budding entrepreneur like yourself.
Have Your Business Name Registered
Before you start advertising your business to your friends and on social media platforms, the first thing that you need to do is o register your chosen name. Generally speaking, this process lets you know if another business has that name and prevents others from using the same name that you have. According to the United States Small Business Administration, there are basically three ways for you to register your name:
- Entity Name – this one protects you at a state or local level and usually depends on your chosen business structure and the location where your head of operations is in. The entity name is how your local state will identify you, and some states require you to have an entity name related to your chosen industry. To register for this, check with your local municipality for the list of requirements.
- Trademark – trademark provides you protection at a federal or national level. It doesn’t just protect your name, but also your services and products. It prohibits anyone from using the same name that you have under the same industry in the United States. Trademarked business names are often subject to trademark infringement lawsuits, so make sure to cross-check your name with the United States Patent and Trademark Office database.
- Doing Business As or DBA – DBA is also known as the assumed name that you will be using in the state, city, or county that you’re in.DBA doesn’t offer any protection. However, it allows you to operate under a name that is not the same as your legal name or business entity name. It is also useful when applying for a business bank account and federal tax ID number (EIN)
- Domain – this one is the most useful to make small business owners nowadays. A domain name is the URL or website address that you will use to market your business online. It is the best way to protect your brand and name on the internet.
Get a Business License
If this is your first time, it is always best to ask a lawyer to make sure you are on the right path. But generally speaking, a majority of up-and-coming businesses are required by law to have some business license. It is the paperwork that proves your business is operating legally within your jurisdiction and industry.
It also shows that you are complying with local, state, and federal guidelines. There are many types of business permits depending on your industry and location. The most commonly applied for are:
- Permit to Operate – grants you permission to operate inside the city and state that your business is located. In some cases, you need to get two separate permits from the state and city offices since they have individual laws, jurisdiction, and regulations.
- Zoning and Planning Permit – every municipality has its requirements depending on the type of business you have and the particular zone you’re in. This permit proves that your business will not disrupt the local community or neighborhood.
- Home Occupation Permit – since you will be operating at your own house, you will need a home occupation permit. This type of document is available to almost all types of residence. If you live in a condominium or apartment complex, the zoning office may ask you to limit the visitor or customer parking to specific hours.
- Tax Permit – A federal tax identification number (FEIN) is required when you open a business bank account, apply for a business permit and when you file for tax returns. The FEIN is composed of a nine-digit corporate identification number that works the same way as your Social Security. It is also how the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will track your financial activities and taxes.
Invest on Equipment
Now that your legal documents are in order, the next thing for you is to complete the equipment you’ll need for your business. The things that you need will depend on the services that you offer, but there are a few items that every small business are suggested to have:
- Computer and Storage – we are now in an era where everything is mostly stored digitally. Since you will be running a business, you need to make sure that your computer can keep up with how you will operate. You can also invest in the best mini PC in the market cause it is packed with an incredibly high storage feature and allows you to connect multiple networks simultaneously.
- Mobile POS System – Many customers today are more comfortable paying electronically than cash. Digital payments are considered to be safer and more convenient, especially nowadays that physical contacts are limited.
- Power and USB Strips – chances are, you will be using multiple electronics simultaneously, and as always, safety is important. To avoid a high surge of electricity, you can use a power strip and USB that can accommodate several gadgets simultaneously. These types of gadgets are usually compatible with US and EU outlets. You can also use the USB port to connect to an external hard drive.
After covering the basics, you can begin marketing your product. You can either use traditional media or boost your brand’s presence online by taking advantage of social media platforms. Whichever way you choose, have enough patience and continue the hard work. One way or another, your business will eventually reach its full potential.