If you’re reading this article, I’m guessing that you have an itch. You know, that soul scratching itch that keeps you up at night. That same itch sometimes turns into a little voice in your head that’s screams that you should work for yourself. Perhaps you’ve spent the better portion of your life working but never being fully content working for someone else. Deep down you know that you like to be in control and you know that you’re only truly happy if you’re the person making all of the calls. My friend, you have the itch of the entrepreneur.
So what’s stopping you from launching your own business? My guess is a lack of knowledge. Fortunately, being the well-read individual you are, you’ve found your way to the right web page. Read on to learn how to start a small business after college graduation.
Step 1: Write a Business Plan
If you’re truly looking to launch your own business, the very first step is to come up with a business plan. A business plan is exactly what you think it is: it’s a plan for your business; it’s your roadmap for success. Although every business plan is inherently different, each business plan has similar qualities. They include:
- An executive summary
- Financial projections
- A company description
- Market analysis
- Company structure
- The product or service
- Marketing and Sales plans
Step 2: Choose a Business Location
You need to decide where you want to open up shop. Are you an internet based business where you only need a laptop to get started? Are you a brick and mortar business that requires a hard location? You need to figure out exactly where you are conducting your place of business.
Step 3: Build Your Finances
Ahh money, you seem to always be in demand! If you’re going to launch any business, it’s essential that you have the capital to give life you your business idea. Most young entrepreneurs rely on personal savings as opposed to banks since banks are typically reluctant you give loans to recent college grads. However, if you look hard enough, you can use the internet to meet venture capitalists and online vendors. Raising capital is typically the number one problem young entrepreneurs face. Fortunately, a good business plan can help positively influence your lenders.
Step 4: Determine the Structure of Your Business and Register Your Business Name
Well, are you an LLC? Are you a Corporation? Are you a sole proprietor? Perhaps a partnership is up your ally? Different legal structures for your business offer different advantages. Choose what make sense for your vision. After you determine you legal structure, you need to officially register your business name. You can accomplish this by a visit to your county clerk or to the state government.
Step 5: Register for Taxes
It’s been said that the only thing that is guaranteed in life is death and taxes. That being said you need to register with the state to receive your tax identification number so you can file your state and local taxes. Isn’t paper work fun?
Step 6: Acquire the Necessary Business License / Permits
Don’t you love more paperwork? Yeah, me neither. Depending on your business plan, you will need to file to obtain the proper state and in some cases federal licenses / permits. Do your research to determine what applies to you as each business is different.
Step 7: Open Up Shop and Start Making Sales!
Well, hopefully your fingers aren’t worked to the bone filling out the proper paper work. It’s now time to open up shop and start making money! Congratulations! You should be proud of yourself. It’s time to put your degree from University of Southern California to good use!