Guest blog featuring Marissa Perez
Advice and Tips on Becoming an Entrepreneur
Becoming an entrepreneur is an exciting transition for most, but is not without its stresses. It can be a steep learning curve for people setting out on a new venture, but with the right plan in place, starting your own business can be a smooth process.
When you decide it's time to take the entrepreneur leap, there are some details you'll want to iron out. First of all, determine where you'll be doing business. Will you be based in a brick-and-mortar, can you do business online or both? If you're service-based, will you travel to your customers, or will they come to you? What type of digital security and cybersecurity will you use to help keep your customer's data away from prying eyes? Determine what would work best for you and what you can afford as you start out.
If you need to set up an office, consider using your home as a base. You can often get tax deductions for a home office, and it will lower your start-up costs. However, if your home isn't an option, look for co-working spaces until you can afford your own office.
Every business needs a plan to lay the groundwork. Your business plan can be written in one of two ways: either a traditional plan, which typically is highly detailed, or a lean business plan, which will be more simplistic but with high-level focus, including key elements only.
If you're seeking investors or lenders, you'll want your business plan to be as detailed as possible in order to get funding and support. There are also small business grants available to help entrepreneurs get started, so investigate local and national government funding options.
Nearly every business needs some technology to get started; a PC or laptop and internet connection will usually be enough at first. Be sure to spend time building a slick website and develop your online presence, including building your social media to connect with customers.
Determine your business structure
Another key step is determining your business structure. Businesses usually fall into one of a few categories: sole proprietorship, partnership, C-corporation, or S-corporation.
Sole proprietorship is the most simple form of business and is also the most common. It is a business that is owned and run by just one individual, and you are entitled to all profits and are responsible for debts, losses, and liabilities.
If you're starting a business with a colleague, friend, or family member, you might want to set up a partnership business structure. In a partnership, it's best to lay out the ownership split and details carefully in a document known as an operating agreement. That way, if the business relationship goes south, you can have a plan in place for how to proceed.
For entrepreneurs set on starting a corporation, it's important to understand the differences between S-corps and C-corps. While they are similar, the biggest difference is in how they pay taxes. S-corps don't pay tax; instead, the company owners report revenue as personal income. C-corps pay tax on both revenue and personal income.
Fortunately, there are services that can help you in this department. For example, if you want to set up an LLC, many companies will help you get your legal paperwork squared away.
Hire a consultant
It's common for many businesses to struggle in the first year, whether it's finding new customers, learning accounting, or determining reliable ways to be profitable. It's a good idea to hire a business consultant . This person's specialty is to help with things such as marketing, HR, IT, or security assistance. In addition to a business consultant, a project management strategizer can help you find your footing as an entrepreneur, which will make a big difference as your business takes shape.
When you decide to take the leap into entrepreneurship, be sure to take the first steps and do some research before you launch. Decide how and where you'll do business, whether it's out of a brick-and-mortar in town or via e-commerce. Determine what business structure is right for you, and develop a business plan to help you get funding and get started. And if you still have questions, hire a business consultant to help guide parts of the business that are challenging for you.