Getting your business started could be a daunting task but it does not have to be. In this article, I shall share simple steps on how to start an online home business. First and foremost you should already kinda have an idea what your business should be. The business you have in mind is online, right? If not it is OK, too. You can still follow these steps for any type of small business just to get started.
What’s in a Name?
Now that you know what you want for a business, come up with a name for that business. It does not have to be perfect, witty, or even trendy to get started. Otherwise, you’ll never get your business off the ground. Come up with a name that is simple that represents you and/or your business.
HTTP://Namemesh.com is a great website that could help you generate some more ideas of a name that fits your need. When finding a name, you can ask yourself: Is it easy to remember? Is it simple? Does it fit my type of business?
Wealthy Affiliate is also another great online company that could take you step by step in getting you started for your online business with dedicated community supports and mentors.
Register your name, permit, license
Once you found a name for yourself, you can register the name at your local city, local county, and possibly state. Before you can even register any names, you will need to do a search to make sure that the exact name has not been taken by someone else.
For me, I live in Maitland, Florida so I registered my name under the state of Florida, city of Maitland, and county of Orange County. The Florida state website is sunbiz.org. I searched the records for my name, if it doesn’t exist then more than likely it may not exist locally in the city and county. It is also helpful to search with https://Namemesh.com for a website domain name as well. It can also be your domain name online but it does not have to be.
Another thought to remember is what type of business you would like to have. Is it a DBA (doing business as), an LLC, a Partnership, a C or S Corp? Each of the entities has its advantages and disadvantages. I shall save this comparison for my next article. To open a new online business, you may just need a DBA which is the simplest and as you grow you can change.
As far as an online business license or permit, you may not need one depending on your type of business. You will need to obtain a business license which is the same as Business tax Receipt for Florida. I have to register with both the city of Maitland and Orange county and pay annual business tax Receipts for both. For city of Maitland, I registered online and for Orange County, I registered in person – SunTrust Building, 16th Floor, 200 S. Orange Avenue, Orlando, FL 32801. When you are at the business tax office, verify any other business license you may need to have for your type of business.
For a DBA depending on residence, you may require advertising at least once in a newspaper within the county where your principal business is located. You may or may not need to show proof of the advertisement. I shall write an article about this in further details. Keep an eye out for it when you visit next time.
Open a business account at a bank with the new registered business name. Be sure to bring the registered paper work and share it with the banker. They will want registration proof.
The bank could be your own bank, credit union, or any local bank in your city. Shop around for the bank that best fit your needs. For me, I normally look for a bank that provides free simple checking account, preferably a local bank. It is good to establish a relationship and support your local merchants. Sometimes the bank that you already have a personal account with can be helpful as well. However, keep your personal account separate from your business account for clarity during tax time.
Would you need an accountant to help for your business? Eventually, yes. If you do not have an accountant already, it is good to keep an eye out for one. They will help sort out your finances in the long haul once your accounting gets complicated.
At the beginning, you can start with a simple spreadsheet to keep track of expenses and income. Stay in a habit of having paper trail and file them accordingly. You never know when you would have trace back to an expense or an income for future tax reference.
Business ID, Insurances, Permits, etc
Your business identification can be your Social Security Number (SSN) or an Employee Identification Number (EIN). You can apply for EIN online through the federal government IRS website. It is free. The primary reason for the EIN number is to keep your SSN private and avoid identify theft.
As far as insurance is concern, it depends upon the type of business you will be operating. You may not need it when you first start. However, as your business grows, it is good idea to re-assess if insurance is required.
Are you selling a product? You may need a seller’s permit called a certificate of resale. It prevents double taxation. It exempts you from paying taxes when purchasing a product for resale. You will then collect sale tax for the state on that item. Here is the IRS website for a list of all the states with procedures and policies related to taxation.
Each city and county will have different requirements to open a business. When you are registering your business, remember to ask if you need to have any other additional permits for your business. They will let you know or point you to the right the direction.
Setting up an online home-based business is simple. You can have your new business setup within several hours give or take your travel time and the time you are waiting in line. The longer process is finding a business that you are passionate about and coming up with a business plan to make it work.
If there are any questions or concerns, please share them in the comments below. I will do my best to answer them or direct you to where you can find the answers.