10 Simple Steps
This is your brand’s blueprint. It’s your game plan. Not in a cliché sense, but a very real and very effective sense – financials, budgeting, forecasts, management, marketing approach, pitch, and when funding becomes necessary your executive summary. That said, thanks to software tools, the days of slaving away for months to create a 40-page tome are over.
Take Action: Seize upon our free and easy email-based Business Planning Course designed to get you from A-to-Z as pleasantly as possible. Plus, we provide tons of other great tools along the way.
Get ready for the real meat and bones. Now it’s time to choose which legal business structure or entity best suits where your brand is headed. Maybe the benefits of being a corporation outweigh those of an LLC?
Are you going to be the sole owner, or will partners come into view down the road? Once you incorporate, you’ll secure your brand name by filing it with the state among other parts integrated into steps 3 and 4. FYI: working with online incorporation providers is a great option if you don’t have a lawyer.
Take Action: As this part of starting a business can be rather sensitive, we’ve developed quick-guides for the most popular entities if you want to skip over to those.
Like all other states, Indiana has its own set of credits, incentives, kick-backs and tax-based programs to both attract new business and cater to the industries who’ve evolved there over many generations. You can do this on your own, hire tax professionals, or work with your incorporation provider to leverage as much as you can. After it’s all said and done you can head on over to Bonge’s Tavern or enjoy some quality tailgating with locals.
Take Action: A great place to start is the Indiana Dept. of Revenue’s Business Tax webpage with all the pertinent links and info you could need.
Unlike the many cornfield mazes throughout the state, Indiana’s regulatory system is very well-managed and friendly to small businesses like yours interested in enriching the good people there. The level of complexity and the amount of hoops to hop through are ultimately determined by the nature of your business and it’s legal structure which you set up in step 2.
Simple, centralize your brand’s financial persona through business banking and integrated software tools.
Just remember, hamburgers in Indiana are bisonburgers, St. Elmo’s Steak House is where to go for cow, and you can’t mix the colors black/gold with cream/crimson…it’s sacrilegious. Otherwise, whether you’re headed for the bustle of Indianapolis or a quaint gem like Brazil (the town silly), you’re going to love Kansas. Plus you’re located next to titans of capital like Chicago, Columbus and St. Louis.
Take Action: We know picking a spot can be tough if it doesn’t somehow happen naturally through your personal/professional networks. If you’d like to brush up on everything that goes into making this decision, refer to our friendly guide on How to Choose the Perfect Location.
This is the trickiest part. Balancing budgets and keeping your brand above water is the biggest challenge. Is it easy? No, not for most of us who aren’t talented accountants. If you’re on your own or represent a small team devoid of accountants and MBAs… take advantage of the countless local and state-level programs, funds, networks, VCs, angel investor funds, as well as online options like social lending and CrowdFunding. In Indiana, the sky’s the limit.
Take Action: The email course we mentioned in Step 1 really comes in handy here because planning and finances go together like Red Gold and the Zoopolis 500 (a fun annual turtle race). You can also browse our guide on How to Finance a Business to start generating ideas.
No one’s saying your site needs to be as stilling and rapturous as a sunset around the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore area, but your brand does need one to be taken seriously. The good news is that there are online platforms out there which have really streamlined the process, making it much easier for less savvy entrepreneurs to get great, customized, and fully-responsive business websites made for a fraction of the cost in a fraction of the time.
Take Action: If you could use some help in this department the first step is finding the right platform, which thankfully there aren’t too many yet. Head on over to this easy Business Website Builder Guide to get a head start.
In our estimation, the #1 reliable rule of effective marketing is, “Know yourself first, then your ideal customer.” Meaning, are you a marketing maven? Are you a seasoned business owner? Let’s say your particular niche is really heavy into a certain digital platform, are you qualified or savvy enough to approach them there?
Take Action: Do what your either naturally good at, or, is within your realm of understanding. Some things are worth learning or teaching yourself, but don’t get lost in the sea of marketing methods/approaches out there. Don’t spread too thin. Instead, invest in great team members or outsource to providers you know and trust.
Please consider Startup Savant a reliable resource as you move onward and upward towards your dreams. We really know where you’re coming from and what you’re going through which is why around here it’s about tools and personalized interviews with fellow change-makers.
Take Action: Tap into our weekly newsletter filled with tips, tricks, lessons, and inspiring stories directly from ambitious professionals like you.
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