Three Initial Steps to Opening Your Own Business

You are thinking about opening your own business.  Or maybe, you already have.  You want to be your own boss.  You want to decide when you will work and when you will not.  You want more control over your time, your earning potential and ultimately, your life.  You want to make more money, and spend less on overhead.  Congratulations!  Owning a business is one of the hardest jobs you will ever love.

There are more than 480,000 businesses in the state of Indiana.  Of those, an astonishing  99 percent are considered to be “small” businesses.  Seventy-six percent of those businesses do not have employees.  The remainder employs almost 50 percent of the workforce. Small businesses generate 50% of our nation’s gross domestic product.

People open their own business for a multitude of reasons, some which have already been stated.  Many gurus on the Internet will tell you that starting your own business is the “only” way to make serious money.  But at the end of the day, the primary reason most people cite for actually opening their own businesses is to be their own boss. 

Small businesses are in every industry, from accounting to engineering, to design, to the law, home improvement, real estate,  retail, healthcare – you name it, a small business could probably be created to serve the industry.

What do you want to name your company?

So where do you start?  Chances are you already have an idea for your business.  You know what it is you want to do, what it is you want other people to pay you for.  The next decision is coming up with a company name.  It could be something to do with your primary service “Painting On Call,”  or it could be something less specific like “Jones and Sons.”  You could use initials, terms specific to your industry, or any number of ideas.  Come up with a list, write them down, think about them, tell your friends, see if any name jumps out at you.  You can also do a check on the Secretary of State website to see if the name you have chosen is already taken.

Where will you work?

You also need to consider where you will work.  If you operate a painting business, you will obviously spend much of your time at your client’s space, completing the job.  But you will also need space to keep your accounting records, make any phone calls, and receive mail.  That place could very well be a file cabinet in the corner and a spot at the kitchen table.  The important thing is to think of this as part of your planning so that your business information is all in one place and not scattered around the house. 

If you will be working in an outside office, take the time to tour several options and find out how  office space is priced in your area.  Consider things like how many employees you have now, and how many you anticipate having before the end of any lease term.  Look at each space critically to ensure there is enough room to set up as many work stations as needed.  You will also need to remember space for copy machines, printers, and fax machines.  Remember that file storage will also be important.

If you are watching costs carefully, there may be a used office furniture retailer in your area.  These retailers often have office furniture that was originally leased, and returned when the term expired, or furniture that was no longer needed for whatever reason.  Usually the furniture is in good condition and can work for a time.

Setting up your business contact information

You need a phone number for business customers.  If you are leasing office space, you will want to look into the options for a land line that are available.  You may also want to consider cell phones only, depending on the nature of your business. 

If you work out of your home, you may want to consider options that do not require you to carry two phones or to install a second line.  Google provides a phone number serve that has a second number ring directly to your existing number.  In the event you do not answer, the clients are sent to a separate voice mail.  This allows you to utilize one device for both your personal matters and your business clients. 

You may also need a separate email account for your business.  You can utilize a free mail service, or you can set up an account through a web host provider.  Once your email is established, add a signature line to your outgoing messages identifying you, your company, and your contact information.  It is very easy for your customers to find this information again later if it is part of your email signature.

If you work out of your home, or if the nature of your business is sensitive, you may want to establish a PO Box for your business. This directs all mail to the post office box, and also is the general address you can give to anyone. 

Want more info?  Check out Proper Planning Predicts Perfect Performance  on Amazon today!

ABOUT KJD LEGAL

Established in 2012, KJD Legal provides strategic legal consultation services to families and small businesses. Kathy Catlin Davis, Esq. has more than nineteen years of experience in the real estate industry, and has been a practicing attorney for more than eleven years.

Find KJD Legal on Facebook here and connect with Kathy on LinkedIn here.  You can also follow KJD Legal on Twitter.

DISCLAIMER:  This post provides information.  The contents of this post are not legal advice.  Information about the law is different than legal advice.  Legal advice is the application of law to an individual’s specific circumstances.
The information in this post is not a substitute for and does not replace the advice or representation of a licensed attorney.  Purchasing and reading this book does not establish an attorney-client relationship.
The author makes no representations or warranties, express or implied.  The author makes no claim as to the completeness or accuracy of the information, given that the law is always changing.