In today's world, more and more people are looking to start their own businesses. Working for yourself has many benefits, such as setting your own hours, being in charge of decisions, making a name for yourself — and for some, living out a dream. But like any profession, being a successful entrepreneur takes hard work and commitment.
What Sort of Business Should I Start?
There are two basic types of businesses: service-based and product-based. If you don't already have an idea in mind, ask yourself these questions to help you make a decision:
- Am I ready to keep track of inventory? Storing, organizing, packaging, and keeping track of multiple items can be a challenge for some people. You also must have a bit of room for all this at your business location, whether that is your home or an office.
- Do I have a special skill or talent that others need? If you are great with numbers, love to clean, or have a passion for teaching struggling kids, you can turn that into income.
- Can I find a problem many people have and create a solution? Some of the best products are simple solutions to everyday problems experienced by many people.
How Should I Market?
In today's business landscape, virtual marketing is the way to go. Inexpensive web tools can help you create and maintain an email list to send interested parties information on your product. When wondering about a product or service, many people go straight to the internet for a website or social media pages. Begin by focusing your marketing efforts online, especially in spaces where you can advertise for free.
Many businesses also find success with referral programs. Ask your customers to tell their friends and family about your business, and offer a small reward, such as a discount or referral fee, when a new customer mentions them. Word of mouth is some of the best free advertising in existence.
Who Can Help Me?
As you begin your business, you're going to need help. You may want to hire employees or work with independent contractors to get jobs done. It's important for you to focus on growing and running your business, so letting experts help with the workload is often wise. For example, someone who specializes in bookkeeping could maintain your financial information, or a web designer could create a website for you that's not just cookie-cutter but modern and dynamic.
You can also look for service-based help even from the onset of your business. For instance, you can work with a formation agency to set up your LLC in SC, SC S corp, or other business entity. An LLC is a safe bet for most entrepreneurs, as it protects your personal assets from your business’s legal matters, or you may decide on an S corp so you can claim tax deductions on company financial losses and pay less in self-employment taxes. Whatever entity you choose, an online company will charge less to file the paperwork on your behalf than a lawyer will.
You'll also need to make sure you get a federal tax ID number or EIN. This is how the IRS tracks payroll and other taxes, and it acts as an identifier for your business with the IRS and on other important paperwork. Plus, when filing any annual, quarterly, or monthly taxes, you'll be set.
How Do I Get Started?
Once you've done some thinking and decided what to do, the only thing left is to jump in. Put yourself out there and begin making a name for yourself and your business.