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You did it. You finally formed the business you'd been dreaming about for ages. Congratulations!
If you've already formed your LLC, corporation, or non-profit, we're going to assume you've done your research, made a business plan (here's a great guide to business plans from Entrepreneur if you need a little help there), and determined how you'll finance your new venture.
New business owners often get to this point and wonder...now what? Sometimes there are so many steps that the smaller stuff can seem overwhelming or get forgotten.
Today we're going to share some basic tasks to add to your to-do list to get your business started off right.
Once The Incorporators Ltd. helps you form an LLC, Corporation, Partnership, or Non-Profit...
Buy a domain name.
In fact, we'd suggest checking to see if the domain name is available prior to finalizing the name of your business.
Your web presence is such a huge part of business these days - any type of business - that you want to ensure that you're able to get the URL you want.
If you find that your domain name is unavailable, you may want to consider adding an extra word to your business name, utilizing your corporate status by adding "llc" or "corp" to the domain or consider an alternative extension like .co or .store.
Open a bank account.
There's no doubt that it's a wise choice to maintain a separate bank account for your business. We enjoyed this helpful article on the subject, from Quickbooks, The Importance of Keeping Business and Personal Finances Separate.
"As your business grows, however, creating a clear boundary between your personal and business finances—and maintaining the supporting documents to prove that separation—is crucial to staying on the right side of the law."
And from a day-to-day perspective:
"Keeping your business finances separate also reduces your legal liability and can help you manage your tax and business bills more efficiently."
Banks will often require a Certified Copy of the Articles of Incorporation/Formation or a Certificate of Good Standing (sometimes called a Certificate of Status). We can obtain those for you (even if we did not form your company or are not your registered agent). They can be ordered here.
Set up your books.
One of the most pivotal parts of running your own business is maintaining financial organization.
Luckily, there are so many options for managing your business finances these days including many that cater specifically to small businesses.
Beyond Quickbooks Online, other options include:
Each of the tools listed above has dozens of tutorials on their respective Youtube channels with hundreds (if not thousands) of independently created tutorials available.
Create a website.
If this sounds like the most overwhelming step, don't worry! There are many tools available to make building a simple, functional website easy. You don't need to know how to code and you don't need to be a tech expert to create a beautiful online home for your new business.
Selling a service or physical product directly from your site? Try Shopify or 3dCart Stores. Each of these options takes care of hosting and payment processing for a monthly fee. Choose from dozens of free website templates (designs) for each or upgrade to premium templates for an additional fee.
Looking to build a more informational website? Try Wordpress.org (not to be confused with Wordpress.com) and purchase a customizable pre-made Wordpress theme from a site like Themeforest or Studiopress. To use Wordpress.org you must host your website by purchasing hosting from a company like Bluehost.
Prefer a custom website? Hire a web developer via Upwork.
Set up social media accounts.
Just as we mentioned with the importance of a good domain name, you may want to consider checking for and reserving your social media handles as soon as you decide to proceed with officially starting your business.
A good rule of thumb is to try to make sure the handle is the same on every platform. Sometimes that's just not possible but if you're able to do so, it makes it easier for your clients and followers to find you on each platform with ease.
Our favorite platform is Twitter, where we share great articles (like this one) for small businesses and entrepreneurs.
Consider a professional logo.
Depending on your industry, you may want to consider having a professional logo made by a graphic designer.
Sound too expensive? It doesn't have to be.
Start with some inspiration from Logojoy. Jot down some ideas about what you like in a logo. What fonts catch your eye? What colors fit your brand? Even if you're not in the market for a new logo, it's a fun tool to play around with.
If a custom logo is beyond what you're ready for, another option is to purchase a pre-made logo from a designer via Creative Market.
Have business cards made.
This is such a simple step that might slip through the cracks and you won't realize you need one until you don't have one. Don't let that happen to you!
If you've gone ahead with a professional logo, use a service like Vistaprint or Moo to create gorgeous business cards. Even if you don't have a logo made, the design templates offered (particularly at Moo) are stylish and professional.
This list is certainly not complete but is a great starting point for many new business owners.
Have you done some of the above tasks but haven't yet incorporated or formed an LLC? The Incorporators Ltd. would love to help you protect your personal assets and gain legitimacy in your industry. Learn why Delaware might be right for your business or go ahead and form an LLC or start a Corporation. Our simple forms take just minutes!