So you’ve decided to start your own business. Congratulations! Now, what? Making the decision to venture off on your own is just the first step in a long, hopefully, life-long venture. So start off with what it takes to make your small business real.
Make it Legal
Many small businesses start off as a side hustle or consulting. But if you want to make your small business real, you need to make it legal. Start by registering your business name. This will require you to choose a legal structure; sole proprietor, partnership, corporation or co-operative. There are advantages and this post by the Canada Business Network can help guide you. Registering your business will also require you to get the necessary licenses and permits and to protect any intellectual property.
Make It Credible
Making your small business real requires making it credible. Obtain a business mailbox that is different than your home address. Get a PO Box if necessary. In addition to a business address, you’ll need a business phone number. This can be anything from a free Google Voice number or an inexpensive phone system designed for small businesses, like Ooma. Like your business address, your business phone number should be all over your website, on your business cards, invoices and search sites.
Make it Visible
If your small business doesn’t have a website, make one. Now! In a few hours, you can create a good WordPress site for free. You’ll need content for an “About Us” page, some descriptions and features and benefits of your services and products, and some beautiful images that will make the website pop. If you have customer testimonials, include them! And don’t forget to include a way to capture contact information like a form plug-in, so you can execute email marketing campaigns.
In addition to your website, invest in printed marketing materials like business cards and a simple brochure that you can take with you to client meetings. Finally, create social media accounts to make your small business real. Not every business needs to be on Twitter, Instagram, or even Facebook. But every business needs to have a company page on LinkedIn.
Starting your own business is not an easy decision, but taking these next steps to legitimize your small business will help set you up for a sustainable venture.