Starting a small business can be overwhelming enough to make you want to spike your morning coffee with 100 proof tequila.
But that’s not to say you shouldn’t bother launching your business idea. In fact, the hard work of getting going should mean you’re doing something meaningful – something that will help a lot of other people while providing you with a comfortable (dare we say lucrative?) income from doing work you love.
A lot of people ask me what the first steps are to starting a new business. You might think I’m going to launch into a long tome about mindset and finding your ideal customer and defining your value proposition, but no – the 3 most important first steps to take before you start a small business are way simpler than that.
Really, stupidly simple. But essential.
Don’t Launch a Small Business without Doing these Three Things
- Register your business name. Can’t decide on a name? That’s okay. Register something. You can always change it later, or register a DBA (Doing Business As) entity once you’ve determined your branding. In Canada you can get started on the Industry Canada web site (though names also need to be provincially registered) and in the US, the Small Business Administration can guide you through the process. As for whether to register as a sole proprietor or some type of corporation – that’s a question you need to answer with the help of an accountant or a local small business resource office, but that shouldn’t hold you back.
- Open a business bank account. Once you have a registered business name (with some identifiable number to go with it), you’ll be able to get a business bank account at your local bank or credit union. Do this right away and put some money in the account, even if it’s just $100. You need to get into the habit of separating your business and personal expenses right off the bat, so it’s important to take this step as soon as you can.
- Buy a domain name (at least one). If you can’t get the .com for your exact business name, you could try adding the word “shop” or “store” or some other relevant description to your business name and purchase a .com like “shoprenegadeplanner.com” or similar. You could get a .ca domain if you’re in Canada, or one of the vanity domain extensions that are available now. Buy a domain name that is easy to remember and easy to spell, so when you’re famous and being interviewed on podcasts all over the globe, people will easily understand what you’re saying when you state your web site URL. You can buy more domains later and redirect them to each other, so what’s important right now is that you park a place on the internet for your business to exist. Webnames is a great service to help with this.
The Best Part Is, These Things are Incredibly Easy
In fact, they’re probably the three easiest actions you’ll ever take as a business owner. So why do so many wantrepreneurs delay these steps?
Because completing them makes your business real.
They tell a really important entity (that is, the government) and another incredibly important organization (that is, the internet) that you’re serious about this thing. That you’re committed. That you agree to fill out a stupid amount of paperwork to do your business taxes every year.
If you haven’t done these three things yet, then I challenge you to get them out of the way (they can all take less than an hour of your time if you’re super efficient about it).
Then leave a comment on this post and ask me ONE big burning question you have about how to start your own business. What’s the NEXT thing you need to know? I’m working on something that will give you all the answers and I can’t wait to share it with you – but I need your feedback and input to make it as great as possible. So please leave a comment below!