10 Simple Steps
Listen bud, no serious entrepreneur braves the Michigan marketplace without a game plan. It’s so fantastically large and so world-renowned in so many different industries, winging it really isn’t an option. Most startups have “plans” but once it’s time to weigh in with the big dogs you’ve got to have an executive summary, financials, forecasts, etc. to be taken seriously.
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.
Now that your initial plan is ironed out, and you’re serious about this, it’s time to step up to the plate and incorporate. First you pick your legal structure, then in the process of incorporating you’ll take care of all kinds of red tape including securing your name by registering/filing it with the state. As you’ll see, steps 2, 3 and 4 tend to blend together a bit like the colors of Superman ice cream.
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.
Truth be told, if you aren’t a business attorney or trained tax professional you should consider working with either a law firm or less expensive provider like IncFile. Michigan’s regulatory environment goes way back, so depending on what sort of business you intend on establishing it could get complex quick. Are you working directly with the public? Which county? Some sales are taxed, some aren’t. Catch my drift?
Take Action: If you’re on your own or just investigating, head on over to the Michigan Department of Treasury’s Business Taxes section to start digging in.
This part could go by as quickly as smoothly as a mile in a Ford GT, or, if you plan on opening up a hot dog joint or music studio in Detroit, it could get a little dicey. On the other hand, you may not be required to get one at all. See how that works?
Alright, let’s assume you’re well-planned, incorporated, registered with the state, and you’ve got your taxes/licensing nailed down. Now it’s time to establish your brand’s financial identity by finding the best banking institution you can and setting up dedicated business accounts.
Check this out, did you know Michigan’s got cities named Paradise and Hell? There’s Mt. Pleasant and Battle Creek too. The big question is, how close to the water do you want to be? From dunes and mountains to plains and cities of every size to the UP (Upper Peninsula) area…whoa! Just don’t wait a year to visit Eastern Market and grab some apples to fill your tummy before a Red Wings game.
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.
Assuming your financials look good and you’ve got a professional business plan in hand you’ve got countless options. From VCs of every shade and angel investment funds galore, to vast networks of startup organizations, state-level programs, and one of the earth’s most unbelievable consumer cultures…don’t be shy. If you’ve come this far in the wolverine state, and you’re rocking in the home of countless music genres, 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 Coney Dogs and sports. You can also browse our guide on How to Finance a Business to start generating ideas.
Give Michiganders and the internet a way to investigate your products and services. Generate more leads and brand expansion by being accessible to local searches. Having a website is as necessary as having a plan.
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.
After steps 1 through 8 it’s about selling and growing, evolving. We’re of the school of thought that says if you’ve got a solid foundation, structured planning, a good location, modern software, and great communication then your products and services should be selling themselves…to a degree.
Take Action: The internet’s fooling a ton of startups into thinking they can automate relationships and reduce customer touch-points to social media signals and it’s not true. Ironically, consumers and professionals of all kinds are demanding MORE transparency and more of a personal touch. Right?
Consider Startup Savant one of your reliable sources of valuable and useful change-maker info straight from the trenches of our entrepreneurial era. There’s nothing better than solidarity, and while you’re learning your lessons it’s nice to know you’re not alone.
Take Action: Tap into our weekly newsletter filled with tips, tricks, lessons, and inspiring stories directly from ambitious professionals like you.
Out of all the resources available to help you start a business in Michigan, here are the two we believe in most. With IncFile and LivePlan, you'll take the first steps toward bringing your idea to life and having a solid plan behind it.
IncFile is the most affordable online incorporation available. Since 2004, IncFile has helped over 75,000 entrepreneurs incorporate their business on a budget. For $49 + State Fee, they'll bring your business to life by registering whichever business structure you choose.Visit IncFile.com
One of the most important aspects of starting a business can also be the most tedious: the business plan. LivePlan is a business plan software that will walk you through the entire process as it has for 375,000 entrepreneurs across the world.Get 25% Off LivePlan