By Gerri Detweiler
Perhaps you’ve got a hot idea for a new business and decided it’s time to turn a dream into reality. Or you’ve given up on finding your dream job and decided to create your own. No matter what your motivation for launching your own business, the journey ahead is no doubt both exciting and scary. Where do you start?
The first thing you’ll want to do is lay a solid foundation for your venture. Here’s a step-by-step list to get you started.
1. Choose a business name. Think this one through carefully. Not only do you want to make sure it will be unique and memorable, you’ll also want to make sure it is legally available. Just because there are other businesses with similar names doesn’t mean you can’t use it, but be careful. If your business name is similar to another business — particularly one in your geographic area — your business credit profiles could get mixed up with one another. While you are at it, check domain names, social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.). Do a Google search. Before you make your final decision, consider a trademark search to avoid any legal challenges down the line. If your business name is too similar to another, you may not be able to register that name when you create a legal entity. (See step 4.)
2. Choose your business address. It’s OK to register your business at your home address, though some owners choose to use a service such as a UPS store to give their business a location separate from their home address. Keep in mind there will be situations — such as filing a tax return — where you will have to provide a physical address for the business.
3. Get a business phone number. You may not have to get an expensive business landline from your local telecom, but you do need a number to give out to clients and customers, and it should sound professional. You may be able to use a service like Google Voice or get a virtual business telephone service or answering service. (more…)