Small Business Tips

Throughout the years I’ve had a couple of small businesses. Yeah, it can be a huge headache and a bit overwhelming, but there’s a couple of tips I thought I would share with you to help ease the pain!

1. Get a computer.
This should be obvious. Everything is done online and through email these days. Make sure you download all necessary software (legally), set up your email account, and back everything up often! You might also want to think about investing in an external hard drive to store your larger documents and keep your backup files.

2. Form an LLC.
If you don’t want to be liable for any company debts or liabilities, you will want to form an LLC, Limited Liability Company. This can protect your family from any unfortunate events relating to your company. You will need to register your LLC with the Secretary of State and the fee varies per state. You can easily apply for the LLC yourself online, or use a website like LegalZoom.

3. Obtain an EIN.
This stands for your Employer Identification Number. This number will come from the IRS and is used for tax purposes. If you do not obtain an EIN, you will need to use your social security number instead.

4. Open a business bank account.
It’s best to keep your personal and business bank accounts separate. You will find it much easier to do your taxes and see exactly how much you’re spending and making each month.

5. Sign up for a PayPal account.
So many transactions these days are made through PayPal. All you need is an email address to create an account! Then you can link up your bank account, credit card or both to make and receive payments.

6. Purchase accounting software.
You will need to keep track of all your invoices for your small business. Buying professional software is a great way to create your invoices, keep track of expenses, track your sales and keep all of your records for tax season. I use QuickBooks for my accounting software, but have also used Peachtree it the past.

7. Hire an accountant.
Yeah, there’s some questions about small business taxes you just can’t answer. Ask a professional. They’ll be able to help you analyze your accounting software data that you’ve collected, help with your business and tax planning for the entire year, offer personal finance advice in relation to your business, see the trends in your growing business and help plan for the next step, and so much more.

Also, since you will be paying your own taxes make sure you are taking at least 20% out of each paycheck and putting it into a separate account! Yes, you may end up paying more or less than 20%, but at least it’s a start for savings. You will have a lot of write offs and most companies don’t make money in their first year (or second…or third).

8. Trademark your name.
This might not be necessary for your company, but if you have a catchy name you might want to protect it.

9. Marketing 101.
To ensure your company stands apart from the rest you will want to invest in some marketing. One of the most important decisions you will make for your company is your logo (which will probably be one of your first decisions as well). Color schemes, fonts, icons, etc. … this will set the tone for the rest of your brand. Choose wisely and research your options for graphic designers, who can help design your business cards, website (very important!), brochures and anything else you might need to succeed. Remember, put your best foot forward. Perception is everything.

Oh, and that iPhone cover above? It’s just a clear case with something I designed in Photoshop on the inside (see tutorial here). Yep, just normal laser printer paper that I cut to size with a pair of scissors.

10. Spend money to make money.
Ah, this is probably the hardest pill to swallow.  Almost all of the items above require money. It’s costly to start up a small business, but the end result can be a successful company with the most awesome boss in the world… YOU!

These tips don’t only apply to bloggers, but any small business that you’re trying to get off the ground where you plan to make some income. Good luck to you!

Email

LIKE THIS POST? FOLLOW ALONG FOR MORE…

Comments

  1. says

    I can not agree enough about #7 hire an accountant. I kept hearing people tell me to do this but I didn’t know anyone that was an accountant and so I kept trying to do it on my own. I stressed myself out trying to wrap my head around every tax rule and law out there trying to understand if it applied to me. I finally got an accountant a year after I opened my business and it has been a huge burden off my shoulders. Great tips!

  2. says

    This is GREAT information! Although I already have a small business there are steps that I still need to take and this list is awesome! I have a question for you, since it seems like you’ve done this before, if you don’t mind. When it comes to the LLC thing via LegalZoom, do you know the real difference between the economy, standard, and gold services they offer? I want and need to set up an LLC but don’t want to pay for something I don’t need, and I admit I know NOTHING about the whole LLC thing. :) Thanks again for sharing this information with us!

    • says

      THanks so much Kim! As for the LLC, I would suggest doing the cheapest package. You should be able to add on an EIN number separately so you don’t have to purchase the Gold package. Also look into MyUSACorporation.com. I actually used them for my most recent LLC and they were fabulous to work with! I think my total price for that was around $200. Hope that helps!!

  3. says

    Fantastic list! I would add…before selecting your catchy name and spending any money on business cards or advertising, check FIRST to be sure it’s not a registered trademark. You an use the U.S. Patent and Trademark website’s TESS system to check if the business name you want has already been registered by someone else. If it’s already registered, move on. You don’t want the legal hassle if that other person or company finds out you’re using their trademarked name.

    The Trademark search is here: http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/gate.exe?f=tess&state=4010:aiv6vo.1.1

  4. says

    This is a great post. Admittedly, I already know I should do all these things, yet I haven’t done any of them. Not one. Except that whole spend money to make money thing…I’ve got that one down :) I have to tell you, I have always admired how organized and put together you and your blog are. I’m a bit of a disorganized mess (as I think most creative types are) and am learning as I grow. I really never thought I would need to do any of this, but here I am! Thanks for writing it all out and making a checklist for me!

    • says

      HA! I know what you mean Ashley about knowing and not doing. You are so kind too for the nice words. Good luck with your blog and let me know if you ever have any questions! Can’t wait to see more from you :)

  5. says

    Wonderful! Thank you for answering my question, I want to do the “right thing” but not pay too much for something that isn’t right, if that makes sense. I think another big reason to do this is to have access to buying in bulk, I think I really need to look into doing that and most all companies want you to have an LLC. I’ll looking in the other company too. Thank you, I really appreciate it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *