The first step you should take toward starting a business in Connecticut is creating a detailed business plan. Designing a well-rounded plan is crucial for securing funding, managing cash flow, and tracking your progress as your business grows and evolves.
Here are a few things you’ll want to focus on during this process:
If you’d like to take more detailed look at business planning, check out our free business planning guide. This guide runs through all of the basics, including how to create a USP, design a marketing plan, craft an executive summary, and take care of everything else you need to include in your plan.
If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by this step, a business planning software might be the perfect solution for you. There are a bunch of programs out there that provide step-by-step guidance all along the way, and tons of tools to help you stay organized. Head over to our top business planning tools guide for details on the best programs available.
Now that you’ve got a plan for your company going forward, it’s time to get down to business and work your way through the formation process.
The first thing you need to consider is which structure will best suit your business. There are several to choose from, and each has different requirements for your business’ management structure, liability and taxes. Choosing an appropriate structure is one of the most important decisions you’ll make for your business, so it’s important to choose wisely. The main options are:
If you’re torn between structures and need some more help deciding, take a peek at our business structure comparison guide.
Once you’ve decided on the best structure for your business, you’ll need to select a registered agent, file formation documents with the state, and see to other legal matters.
It can be quite a task, especially if you’re trying to take it on by yourself. If you feel like you’re being stretched a bit too thin, there are some fantastic services out there that will take care of everything for you. Head over to our top 7 incorporation services for a look at our favorites.
In Connecticut, general business licenses are issued locally, and they’re not required for all business types.
Connecticut Tax Registration numbers, on the other hand, are required for all businesses in order to engage in the sale of goods and services. You can apply for a TRN through the CT Department of Revenue Services.
After obtaining a general business license (if you need one) and a TRN, you may still need a few more licenses/permits in order to be compliant. Here are the best resources we’ve found on this subject on a federal, state and local level:
If all you need is a general business license, this step is totally doable without expert assistance. However, if you find that you need quite a few licenses/permits on a federal, state and local level, you may want to look into using a business license service. These companies specialize in helping new businesses like yours stay compliant with all regulations by doing all the heavy lifting on your behalf.
Too many entrepreneurs make the mistake of running their business out of their personal bank account.
To start out on solid financial footing, it’s super important to keep your personal and professional expenses 100% separate. If you’ve already slipped up on this, don’t panic — there’s still time to get yourself situated, simplify your taxes, and take advantage of all the benefits of having a business bank account!
A couple pieces of advice for choosing a business bank account:
To get the ball rolling, check out our top 5 business bank accounts for a comparative look at our favorite options.
Separating your personal and business expenses is an essential first step, but managing your finances going forward is going to require constant care and attention. Once you set up your business bank account, make sure to sync it with some accounting software to start properly tracking your finances. This is especially important if you’re not ready to hire an accountant yet!
Now that you have a financial foundation in place, it’s time to figure out how to fund your business.
There are tons of funding opportunities out there, including angel investors, microloans, trade credit, crowdfunding, and many more. However, some funding opportunities will suit you better than others depending on the size of your company, your level of financial security, whether or not you’ve established credit, and some additional factors.
Our guide on how to finance a business outlines all the major strategies to help you decide which ones are most likely to work for you. We highly recommend giving it a read when you’re ready to start researching funding opportunities.
You’ve taken care of most of the initial paperwork by now, so it’s time to work on building your brand.
Creating a professional brand that appeals to your target market is essential to effectively marketing your business and bringing in the right customers. There are a number of things that impact your brand image, but two of the major ones are your business logo and website.
When you’re ready to start designing your logo, keep the following objectives in mind:
Take a look at our guide to choosing the perfect logo for an in-depth discussion of all the things we’ve mentioned here and much more!
Your business website is another hugely important aspect of your brand image. A great way to create a beautiful, professional website for your business is to use an existing web-building platform like StudioPress. This way, you won’t have to expend the time or money involved in building a website totally from scratch. Head over to our top business website builders for our recommendations.
The final step of this guide is one that never ends: marketing your business.
Marketing will play a major role in the trajectory of your new business, and it requires consistent effort and care in order to be successful. Here are a few things to keep in mind during your marketing journey:
There’s so much more to say on this topic, but it’s too much to cover here. We encourage you to read through our definitive guide to marketing a business for an up-close look at all of the topics we discussed above, and many more.