"In the words of Simon Sinek, 'always start with why,'" said Glenn Gutek, CEO of Awake Consulting and Coaching. "It is good to know why you are launching your business. In this process, it may be wise to differentiate between [whether] the business serves a personal why or a marketplace why. When your why is focused on meeting a need in the marketplace, the scope of your business will always be larger than a business that is designed to serve a personal need."
"A lot of startups tend to spend money on unnecessary things," said Jean Paldan, founder and CEO of Rare Form New Media. "We worked with a startup that had two employees but spent a huge amount on office space that would fit 20 people. They also leased a professional high-end printer that was more suited for a team of 100 (it had keycards to track who was printing what and when). Spend as little as possible when you start and only on the things that are essential for the business to grow and be a success. Luxuries can come when you're established."
To become an officially recognized business entity, you must register with the government. Corporations will need an "articles of incorporation" document, which includes your business name, business purpose, corporate structure, stock details and other information about your company. Otherwise, you will just need to register your business name, which can be your legal name, a fictitious "doing business as" name (if you are the sole proprietor), or the name you've come up with for your company. You may also want to take steps to trademark your business name for extra legal protection.
Have you ever thought about what happens to all the old CDs and DVDs we used to use to listen to music and watch films? Well, the answer is, often nothing. For those who have only just started using the internet to download, purchase, and listen to music, their CDs are wasted. If you know how to transfer this media to a computer, you could be doing the tech-phobic and those with little time on their hands a serious favor. Offer your services on forums, social media or flyers. You may even end up with customers with more general tech needs on a long-term basis.
Check to see if your chosen name is available. Before you submit the Articles of Organization, you should check to see if your chosen name is available/acceptable under state law. You can do this by conducting an online search for business names that are already registered with the Department of Financial Institutions using the database provided.
"Be prepared to adjust," said Stephanie Murray, CEO and founder of Fiddlestix Candy Co. "There's a saying in the military that 'no plan survives the first contact' meaning that you can have the best plan in the world but as soon as it's in action, things change, and you have to be ready and willing to adapt and problem solve quickly. As an entrepreneur, your value lies in solving problems whether that is your product or service solving problems for other people or you solving problems within your organization."
Get an Employer Identification Number from the IRS. If your LLC has more than one member, you will need this number so your LLC can pay federal and state taxes properly, hire employees, and open a company bank account. You can apply for this number: (1) online; (2) by contacting the IRS at (800) 829-4933; or (3) by completing and mailing in Form SS-4 to the address listed on the form.
The governing document of the LLC is called an operating agreement, and it is within this document that the members lay out all important provisions, such as standards for LLC governance, ownership parameters, and rules around member changes (adding or removing members, or what happens in case of death or incapacity of a member). The operating agreement is an internal document and is an agreement amongst the members or owners, which means it is not recorded with the state.
An LLC that does not want to accept its default federal tax classification, or that wishes to change its classification, uses Form 8832, Entity Classification Election (PDF), to elect how it will be classified for federal tax purposes. Generally, an election specifying an LLC’s classification cannot take effect more than 75 days prior to the date the election is filed, nor can it take effect later than 12 months after the date the election is filed. An LLC may be eligible for late election relief in certain circumstances. See About Form 8832, Entity Classification Election for more information.
Tasks like naming the business and creating a logo are obvious, but what about the less-heralded, equally important steps? Whether it's determining your business structure or crafting a detailed marketing strategy, the workload can quickly pile up. Rather than spinning your wheels and guessing at where to start, follow this 10-step checklist to transform your business from a lightbulb above your head to a real entity.
Unltd or Ultd (Unlimited/無限公司): similar to a limited liability company (Ltd) but whose members or shareholders do not benefit from limited liability should the company ever go into formal liquidation. It is not a requirement under company law to add or state the word or designation Unlimited (無限公司) or its abbreviations (Unltd or Ultd) at the ending of its legal company name, and most unlimited companies do not.