Guest Column: Nine steps for turning your idea into a business
Published 7:12 am Sunday, May 9, 2021
By Kim Preston
You have a great idea for a new small business. Congratulations! Now, what do you do to turn that idea into a legitimate business? To celebrate National Small Business Week, May 5 to 11, 2021, here is a checklist with step-by-step actions to get you started.
- Choose and register your business name. Check with the Secretary of State’s office where you plan to set up shop.
- Decide on a legal structure: Sole Proprietorship, LLC, Partnership, S-Corporation, etc. You may want to consult with an attorney and accountant regarding the legal and taxation ramifications.
- Visit irs.gov for important information for small business start ups. They have publications to assist you in starting and running your business, including understanding a Federal Tax ID number and filing procedures.
- Obtain a Federal ID Number (EIN).
- Determine if you need to register your business with your state’s Department of Revenue.
- Determine if you need a Data Universal Number System (DUNS) Number. Most potential and existing U.S. government contractors, grantees and loan recipients are required to obtain a DUNS Number for U.S. government registration purposes. It verifies the legal name, physical address and trade style of each location and is key to starting the Central Contractor Registration process.
- Make sure you have all the licenses and permits you will need. Check with your local (city, county) authorities regarding zoning regulations.
- Determine your insurance needs. Discuss all your insurance needs (liability, property, etc.) with an agent who is familiar with your business industry.
- Secure funding and prepare your finances. Make sure you can maintain positive cash flow and obtain financing. Consult with a local accountant or bookkeeper to assist with setting up your books correctly.
Kim Preston is the Rural Enterprise Assistance Project director at the Center for Rural Affairs.