10 Essential Steps to Starting a Business
YAY YOU! You’re taking the first steps to launching the business you’ve been dreaming of! I know how you’re feeling right now. When I started my agency 13 years ago, I felt scared, overwhelmed and excited all at the same time.
That said, my first advice is: don’t start with your logo. Yes, I know I’m running a branding agency, but a logo is far from the first thing you need when launching a business. Your branding the icing on the cake.
Sure, everyone wants to start there because it’s fun, exciting, and speaks to our heart space. But while your logo and branding are essential in starting a business, I often have to walk new clients through some necessary things to consider BEFORE you step into the world of branding.
To help you get started, here are 10 important steps to take before launching your brand:
- Register your business name.
The first step in starting a business is to register your business name, which ensures that no one else can use the same name for their business. Check the availability of your desired business name through your state’s Secretary of State website. Sometimes this results in some required tweaks to the name you had in mind, so stay flexible!
- Grab that Domain and find a hosting provider for your website.
Once you have your business name, it’s important to secure your website URL. This makes it easy for customers to find you online. You can purchase your domain name through a variety of providers, and you want to be sure to also grab some variations of your name. For example, we own colorfulcreativeagency.com but we also grabbed: thecolorfulcreative.com, colorful-creative.com, and others. And don’t forget that your domain doesn’t have to be .com. We also own colorfulcreative.net and colorfulcreative.design to name a few!When choosing a hosting provider, consider your needs and your technical abilities. We love Delivery Path because they not only provide hosting, but you can purchase your domains from them. They also back up and maintain your website for you, so you don’t have to worry about updates to software on your site, and they’re super easy to communicate with, plus so many other benefits.
- Decide what type of business you will be.
There are several different types of business structures to choose from, including LLCs, corporations, and sole proprietorships. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to do your research and choose the structure that’s right for your business.
- Register with the IRS – apply for your Tax ID.
To legally operate your business, you’ll need to apply for a tax ID number from the IRS. This is also known as an Employer Identification Number (EIN), unless you are a sole proprietor and plan to use your social security number.
- Set up a business email.
Having a professional email address is important for building trust with potential customers and to avoid hitting people’s spam. You can set up a business email address through a variety of providers, such as Google Workspace (which is what we use) or Microsoft 365.
- Open a business bank account.
Separating your personal and business finances is important for keeping track of expenses and taxes. Setting up a business bank account can also help you establish business credit.
- Track your expenses.
Keeping track of your expenses is essential for managing your finances and preparing your taxes. QuickBooks is a popular accounting software that can help you easily track your income and expenses. And if bookkeeping isn’t your thing (it certainly isn’t mine!), consider hiring a bookkeeper or an accountant that can help track and reconcile your books. We LOVE our bookkeeper/virtual assistant, Gigi Sampson!
- Get any licenses or insurance you will need for your business.
Depending on the type of business you’re starting, you may need to obtain licenses or permits to operate legally. You’ll also want to consider getting insurance to protect your business and assets depending on the type of business you have.
- Create a content marketing plan and sales funnel.
Developing a content marketing plan and sales funnel can help you attract and convert customers. This involves creating valuable content that addresses the needs and pain points of your target audience. This is a fantastic piece of the puzzle to have a plan for before you start your branding process.
- Now the fun part — create your brand!
Finally, it’s time to create your brand. This involves creating a brand strategy (you can read more about this on my services page), developing your logo, choosing your brand colors, and establishing your brand voice. Your brand should be consistent across all of your marketing materials and customer touchpoints. And that is where we step in!
Starting a business can be a lot of work, but taking these 10 steps can help you start off on the right foot. By establishing a strong foundation, you’ll be better equipped to build a successful and sustainable business. And when you’re ready, we’re here to help!