There are few things in life as exciting as starting a new business, whether you’re opening a coffee shop, retail boutique, or consulting firm. This checklist will guide you through the complex, but rewarding, process of starting your own business.
Step 1: Choose a Name
First things first, it’s time to choose your company name! If you’re having trouble finding the right name, try out Shopify’s Business Name Generator. Just enter a word that describes your business and it will automatically generate dozens of names for you to choose from. A great service to confirm whether or not someone is already using your desired business name is Incfile’s Business Name Search.
Step 2: Select a Structure
Each business structure comes with different advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to do your research and determine which one is right for you. We highly recommend speaking with your accountant to determine which option will be best for filing your taxes.
- Sole Proprietorship: A business that has a single owner who pays personal income tax on any profits earned.
- Limited Liability Company (LLC): A company that combines the tax benefits of a corporation with the structure of a sole proprietorship or partnership.
- Partnership: A business formed between two partners, with each person equally sharing the profits and liabilities.
- Corporation: An organization which is legally separate and distinct from its owners, but retains many of the same legal rights as individuals.
- S-Corporation: A corporation that meets certain IRS requirements that enable it to be taxed as a partnership.
Step 3: Create a Business Plan
A 2020 study from Quickbooks found that nearly 70 percent of business owners recommend creating a business plan before starting a company. If you’re not familiar with the concept of a business plan, it’s a detailed document that describes the goals of your business, as well as how you’ll accomplish the goals and in what timeframe.
After creating your plan, Merchant & Marine Bank’s Greg Hodges recommends consulting with a professional to solidify the details before moving forward. If you’re near the University of Southern Mississippi, a great resource for expert guidance is the Trent Lott National Center.
Step 4: Find the Right Banker
Once you’ve got your business plan ironed out, it’s time to open a bank account for your company. In order to track your expenses and earnings, it’s important to create separate checking and savings accounts from your personal accounts. This will help to simplify your bookkeeping and keep your finances squared away.
If you’re looking for a banker that will put your needs first and provide you with top-notch business advice, we invite you to start banking with us. Our commitment to helping small and mid-sized businesses succeed is unmatched, and we offer a variety of banking solutions designed to help you succeed. Here are a few of our favorites:
Our team is here to help you accomplish your business goals, no matter how ambitious. To learn more about our extensive selection of banking solutions, contact us today. One of our team members will be happy to assist you.