Believe me, I know how it is. The idea has been itching at you for months, perhaps years, and you just want to know a little bit more. Maybe you told a family member or a few friends and they thought it was a good idea. Could you do it? Could you start a home business? Well, my friend, this is how you find out. I will give you all of the hints and clues that I have mustered myself along the way. These are tips and tricks and just a general path that I wish had been laid out for my business. Whether you have a generous start-up or are just trying to fake it until you make it, finally a somewhat basic plan is laid out for you. I hope it helps you realize your dreams because, honestly, that is why we are all here.
Webhosting, CMS and domains, oh my! Getting started in your home-based business can be fairly easy or just another hurdle to leap depending on the cash flow that your business has acquired. If it is low like most, then there are things you will have to learn. You’re going to either spend money or time but you knew when you got into this that it wasn’t going to be so simple. There is so much information out on the internet but fornow we are talking about basic information.
Let’s go to the beginning… what time of business do you want? There are Sole Proprietorships, Partnerships, Corporations and Limited Liability Companies among others. All have different pros and cons that can help you decide who exactly owns your business, what role they will take and what the business will be about.
Now you must put your money where your mouth is. You can choose which business structure best suits your needs and then apply for the appropriate business license. Yes, you must now choose a name and make sure that it doesn’t exist elsewhere, whether you are applying foreign or domestic (in-state only). Each state has different fees and each license costs differ but your state’s websites will have information about everything you need to know.
**Hint** Why don’t you go ahead a step and check your business name with domain names (.com names, etc.) that are available. Since, these days, websites are the storefront of your business you will want to make sure that your name is associated easily with it. Going to a site like GoDaddy and searching your business’ name is the easiest way to do this. Don’t worry about the pricing just yet, that will come later. If your name is taken and you want to buy it, those options are available, also.
Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Really deciding on a logo or working on your website first is just a limited game you are playing because one cannot function properly without the other. You have the basic “About Me” set up for your company but now it gets down to the nitty gritty decisions.
Your business’ logo can be created by you, but if you aren’t designer-inclined you may want to go with a professional. You want something clean, crisp and not too distracting. Logos can go for a few hundred dollars or a few thousand, so I would suggest for you to have an idea of what you want and shop around. This will go on your business cards, letterhead, not to mention your website. It will pretty much go on anything that your business touches. Make sure you love it.
As for the website, check out some domain registrars’ pros and cons from our friends at Nola Edge Creative Solutions. Once you have decided which registrar (who you will rent your .com name from) to go with, you will have to check out webhosting (think of it as renting a parking space for you website) and which sites are best for your brand. They also differ in cost and services and each have pros and cons.
We will continue Part Two soon, which will include tips on opening a business account, how to get the best content for your site and how much that will cost and most importantly, how you will get paid for your products or services. Being a small business owner has its perks and www.SBA.gov has amazing tools for you to utilize and make your life a little bit easier. For more information about small businesses, check out the rest of our blog and Like us on Facebook!