An effective business plan describes the nature of your business and how you intend to achieve specific goals.
Put Your Plans on Paper
A record number of new businesses started up in 2020
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, 600,000+ new businesses open annually across America, and the year 2020, which brought us COVID-19, was no exception. Even as the pandemic spread and many small businesses across the country began to lay off workers and/or close their doors altogether, a record number of brand new businesses were opening up.
While at first glance, launching a new business in the midst of a pandemic seems counter intuitive, it actually makes perfect sense. Numerous studies have shown that the majority of people who open their own businesses don’t do it for money; they do it for control. They want to be their own boss. And what better time than in the midst of a worldwide health crisis to take charge of your destiny?
With that in mind, here are eight essential steps to help you get started in a business of your own.
1 - Choose a structure
Four options are available to you: sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation or limited liability. Selecting the right structure depends on the type of business you envision and whether you intend to have employees or go it alone. See dba Florida™ for descriptions of each.
2 - Choose a name
What will you call your business? The most obvious choice is your own name. But you might also consider keywords that relate to what you do or where you are located. Look to pop culture and to friends for ideas too, keeping in mind that the best names are:
- Concise – fewer than 10 letters for easy recall, log-ins and tweets;
- Flexible – in case you expand to new product lines or locations later on; and
- Original – search uspto.gov or trademarkia.com to be sure no one else is already using the name you’ve chosen.
And don’t forget: If you plan to conduct business under a name other than your own, you must file a Fictitious Name registration application with the Florida Department of State, Division of Corporations. See dba Florida™ for details.
3 - Choose a location
Selecting the right site for your business is every bit as important as deciding on its name. As you explore the possibilities and narrow your choices, ask yourself:
Is the area zoned for my type of business?
Will I feel safe in this neighborhood?
Can I afford the monthly rent?
Is this site occupant-ready or will renovations be needed?
Are surrounding businesses complementary or competing?
Is there a readily available labor pool I can draw from?
4 - Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN)
To pay federal, state and local taxes, you must have an official federal ID number. If you are operating as a sole proprietor with no employees, your Social Security number is sufficient; otherwise, you will need an Employee Identification Number (EIN). It’s free at irs.gov/businesses/.