Setting Up Your Small Business In Five Easy Steps

Setting Up Your Small Business In Five Easy Steps

If you are ready to set up your small business on the Internet, you might be wondering where to start.

It may take about one month to do the research and perform the tasks needed to begin your online business. Review these five easy steps for starting your online business.

1.Write a Business Plan

Before you do anything else, write a brief business plan. Search the Internet for business plan examples. A business plan is a perfect way to take your business ideas to the next level. By entering your ideas into a business plan document, you are developing an outline for the tasks involved and making key decisions upfront as to your specific business ideas to take your business to the next level. An effective business plan might include a timeline so that you are performing the research and tasks involved over a reasonable period.

Depending on the size and nature of your business, below are some recommendations for the sections in your business plan:

Table of Contents

Section I—The Business Profile

Description and Purpose of Business

Customer Base

Business Trends and Earnings

Section II—The Vision and Experience




Section III—Communication

Section IV—License Permit, Business Name, Insurance, Office Location

Section V—Financing and Accounting

Section VI—Marketing

Section VII—Competition / Resources

Appendix A—Timeline

Completing a business plan document will serve as a guide through the startup process. You may also need the business plan document to refer to when applying for permits, licenses, or other legal documents.

Search the Internet for business plan template

2.Apply for Employer Identification Number and Certification

Visit your state’s Small Business Administration (SBA) for information about what you need to do to set up your business. At a minimum, you will usually need a certificate number along with an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for tax purposes. For a small online business, it is a matter of completing a few forms, and that’s about it! You will receive your tax information in the mail, and then at tax time, you will be required to report income, etc. Most states require easy electronic filing for each quarter.

The SBA includes several links for anyone starting a business. It is a great place to start and identifies various considerations specific to the type of business you are starting and whether or not you are working as an independent contractor. The SBA also includes a link about creating a business plan.

Search the Internet for small business administration

3.Set Up a Web Site

There are three major considerations when you are deciding on a website for your small business. First, you will need a web host. Second, you will need to register for a domain name. Third, you will need to decide whether you want to create your website content and design or use a pre-designed template.

Web Host

The web host is the company that provides server space and Internet connectivity for your website. Search the Internet for web hosts and compare their services and costs. (Some of the websites do this for you, but be cautious as some of them are working together.) Many of the web hosts offer all of these services (web hosting, domain names, and design templates) as one-stop shopping. This may work for you, but review this document before you decide. How you create your website content is a factor in whether or not you use one company for all of these services.

Domain Name Registration

The domain name often called a hostname, is the label used to identify your website along with a URL (Uniform Resource Locator). Together these make up your website name. Search the Internet for domain name companies. If you have an idea for your website name you can enter this name into their search fields to find out if the domain name is available. Most of the search engines will return other suggestions if this domain name is taken in the world wide web. Also, consider extensions other than.COM which are organization-related: GOV, EDU, MIL, ORG, NET, and INT. Expect to pay $3-10 per month for domain name registration.

Web Site Design

There are a few different options for setting up your website design. You can create your design using a software program such as Adobe DreamWeaver and upload the design to your website, or you can use a pre-designed template offered by web hosts or domain name registration companies. It is important to compare the services offered by these companies so that you have the flexibility in setting up your site the way you want it. A computer-savvy web designer can save money by creating their content, while the novice user may wish to pay more and fill in the blanks on a pre-designed template. This method is the easiest but generally the most costly. Expect to pay $5-25 per month or more for web hosting with web page design services.

Other Considerations

Look at some websites to get an idea of the content you will need for your business. More than likely, you will need to pull some information from your business plans such as your bio and a description of your services. You will likely need a shopping cart along with a PayPal account for receiving payment. You may need the ability to include images, links, music, a blog, and connections to social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

Note: There are some free services and do-it-yourself options for setting up your website if you are computer savvy.

4.Order Business Cards

Business cards are possibly one of your most valuable tools as a new business owner. One of how to market your business is to pass your professional business cards to potential customers everywhere you go. Like the design templates offered by web hosts, many online business card printers offer pre-designed templates for helping you with your design, or you can upload your design created from a software program. Research online printers to ensure they offer these services.

Search the Internet for business card templates and business cards online printers

5.Promote Your Business

In addition to business cards, the Internet provides a multitude of opportunities for marketing your business. Social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are possibly the biggest, but there are hundreds of companies that do public relations, and many of them are free!

That's it in a nutshell. Do your research on these topics to get the specifics you need for the type of online business you are starting. Give yourself 30 or 60 days to pull everything together and then begin promoting your website.

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