It’s been very interesting opening this new business. It’s not hard, but there are a lot of steps and pitfalls. Let me summarize what I’ve done so far, and some resources I’ve found valuable.
This is site that really got me thinking about starting my own business. Great podcasts, lots of resources, a helpful community, and a radio show.
Great audio podcast and website. Resources like the Home Business Startup Checklist guide you through the steps. I’ve found the advice clear and useful, and the presentation professional and inspiring.
Before I talk about the steps I went through, you should understand a few key things:
- This is a home based business
- This is a part-time venture for now
- I have no employees
- I will not be borrowing money
- Make a few key decisions.
- Pick a name, and make sure that name wasn’t already in use.
- Choose the business type. I chose to form a Limited Liability Company (LLC). I used LegalZoom to do that for me. They also handled my IRS paperwork and working with the State of Washington to get my Business License.
- Register the domain name so I could setup a website, I used HostGator.
- Decide on the technology to build the website, I’ve chosen WordPress.
- Create a brand identity (logos, colors, taglines, etc.). I’m working with designers on 99designs. You can check on the logo ideas here please let me know what you think.
- Get a physical address (not a PO Box) for they company that is not my home address. All business correspondence goes there. I did this with the UPS Store.
- Get a bank account for the LLC and keep all finances separate. I opened mine with Wells Fargo because they are very close to the UPS Store and they integrate with QuickBooks.
Here are the things I need to do next:
- Meet with a book-keeper or accountant to get my books setup and understand what I need to do as a business owner to keep the finances separate, pay taxes, and have the business pay me (when it makes money).
- Meet with a lawyer to understand who should own the tools I already have (me, or the LLC), how to insure them, licenses, permits, etc.
- Decide if I need a separate phone number for Upper Cut, and which 800 Service to use. I would love recommendations!
- Get business cards, and brochures.
- Potentially get magnetic signage for the truck.
- Build a network of customers, advisers, suppliers.
- Build more content for the website.
- Schedule time in the shop to build!
So far this has been fun, and I look forward to the next steps!
-- Matt Gradwohl, Upper Cut Woodworks, http://uppercutwoodworks.com/