by Desha Elliot, CEO and founder of PB7APP
There’s benefits to making your small business legitimate. Yet many small business owners are unaware of the whys and hows. Often times, business owners are busy doing what they love and when they begin making profit, it doesn’t even cross their minds that what they are doing can be an established business. What may be in the basement today and can one day take over a whole building, but again, it starts with legitimizing your business.
These are must-dos to move your business from the garage to the skyscraper:
Take a moment to understand how you will structure your business.
LLC vs. S-Corp. When you understand how to legally structure your business, it sets you up for ways to distribute income, tax obligations, and tax benefits that come with your company’s legal structure. Seek advice from a legal professional. Here’s a good read to get a quick overview of which one works for your entity- click here.
Map out some goals you want to set for your company.
And set aside deadlines for when you want to achieve them. These goals you set aside for your company help guide the steps you take, the customers you serve, and team members you may want to add for the advancement of your business.
Apply for federal employment identification number (FEIN/EIN).
This free application is performed through the IRS. This number is necessary for filing taxes, applying for credit, doing payroll, etc. When the business is small, people start out only paying themselves, but in an effort to separate your personal income and your business income you will need to begin with applying for this EIN. This process may take you approximately fifteen minutes and it’s free. Start the process here.
Register your business in the city and state where the business is residing.
Visit your state’s Secretary of State site, as well as visit the city/county office. Businesses may have to pay city and state taxes, as well as obtain certain permissions from your city to hold your business operations in certain areas and provisions. Registering with them, helps you to understand those provisions and eliminates fines for non-compliance. Fees start at least $100.
Utilize low-cost technology to further establish a media presence and keep up with the pace of the world.
Creating a simple website that shows what your business offers, making a social media page for your business, and having an online merchant page (Paypal, Stripe, etc.) to obtain online or on the go payments, can elevate how others can learn about your business and pay for your services. Establish a do-it-yourself website with websites like WIX. Want to accept payments anywhere you go and get a free credit card reader? Sign up for PayPal.
If your business is owned and operated by a specific group minority, women-owned, veteran owned, economically disadvantaged – make sure you get the federal, city, and affiliate group certifications.
Many of these applications are free or a few hundred dollars. On the applications, it asks for your EIN, a website, your tax history, and because you followed the previous steps you have these items set-up and ready to submit. To be certified within your specific group may prove beneficial in opening up contracting opportunities for your business. When my marketing business was established for being women-owned, I received an invite to put in a proposal for an airport bid, and I still continue to receive these invitations because my established business has specific certifications to classify and I have signed up to receive notices for opportunities that are specifically open to a business like mine.
Stay affiliated with organizations and groups that have seminars, classes, and courses to help you successfully navigate your business.
There’s always a continuous learning as a small business. Your business is small enough to quickly learn and have the potential to learn, even how to do the fundamental things correct. Organizations like the Small Business Administration or SCORE have classes to teach you marketing, how to use accounting software, how to use social media for your business, and even offer mentor assistance.
Now’s a better time than ever to have your own business. By doing these fundamental things you set you business on the path to being able to grow in size, credibility, and opportunity.
Desha Elliot is currently CEO and founder of PB7APP, an E-learning app that improves GPAs for student athletes. She has also created and delivered brand awareness and loyalty for over millions of consumers among many Fortune 500 companies and small businesses under her Drdesha,LLC firm.