Step 1: Truly Plan Your Business Idea
For savvy startups their business plan is their central defining document where everything is laid out in detail – objectives, financials, forecasts, budgets, management, etc., as well as Executive Summary and Pitch which come in handy for a large variety of reasons. And don’t worry, there’s lots of help out there if you need it. The conventional days of exhaustive 40-page business plans are over.
Take Action: Check out our 100% free Business Planning Guide designed to get you from A-to-Z as pleasantly as possible. Plus, we provide access to tons of other great tools along the way.
Don’t know what kind of business to start?
Our friends over at howtostartanllc.com have compiled a massive list of business ideas, ranging from personal styling to axe-throwing businesses.
If you’re having trouble finding the perfect business idea for you, we encourage you to check them out!
Step 2: Choose Business Structure & Incorporate
The next step is choosing what kind of legal business entity best serves your company. Then once you register many things will happen simultaneously, like securing your brand name and protecting your personal assets (house, car, etc).
Most entrepreneurs form an LLC because it has all the benefits of a Corporation without the disadvantages like double taxation, board of directors or corporate officers. However if you're trying to take your company public or raise substantial outside capital, you should probably form a Corporation.
Take Action: Since this step is so important and expensive if it's not done correctly, we highly recommend investing 10 minutes to go over your options through our business structure comparison guide. You'll get a better idea of the advantages and disadvantages of each while building a solid legal foundation for your business.
Step 3: Sync With The Kansas Tax Code
Now it’s time to tackle the ways in which your company will interact and be treated by local, state, and federal tax systems. Will you be employing people in Kansas? What tax kickbacks, credits and incentives apply to your platform? Also keep in mind you’ll need to get your FEIN, or Federal Employer Identification Number to do business.
Take Action: A good place to start would be the Kansas Dept. of Revenue Customer Service Center. This is where you can manage your state business account, get your questions answered and seek additional help if needed.
Step 4: Obtain Proper Licensing/Permits
Depending on what exactly your business does or sells and where it sells it, you may have little to do aside from getting a common license. Or, on the flip-side, you may have a few holes to hop through, which again, are very simple when working with Kansas startup resources.
- For DYI’ers you can start with the List of Common Licenses/Permits through Kansas.gov’s Business Center.
- For help finding the licenses you'll need, a Business License Service is what we highly recommend looking into. They determine everything required on Federal, State, County and Municipal levels, get the forms, and provide step-by-step filing instructions.
Step 5: Separate Your Personal and Business Assets
Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.
Now that you’ve made it through registering and setting up taxes and licensing for your business, you’ll need to take steps to protect your personal assets and establish your business as an independent entity.
When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.
You can go a long way in protecting your assets with these three steps:
- Open a business bank account.
A business bank account separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection. A designated business bank account also makes accounting and tax filing easier.
To open up a bank account for your business, you’ll need to obtain an EIN (Employer Identification Number). You’ll use your EIN in place of your social security number so that this account is completely separate from your personal finances. After this, start doing your research on various business bank accounts. Local options and national banks, like Chase, both have their perks.
Get $200 when you open a business checking account with Chase. Learn more
- Get a business credit card.
A business credit card helps you separate personal and business expenses. A business credit card will also build your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise capital later on.
- Designate an authorized representative.
Make sure all documents are signed by a representative of your LLC and not by you (or other LLC members) directly. This will help separate you from liability incurred by the LLC.
- Keep your accounting and bookkeeping up to date
Make sure to sync up your banking and credit card accounts with an accounting software like QuickBooks as soon as you get the chance. It’s never too soon to start organizing your business’ finances!
Step 6: Pick A Stellar Kansas Location
Yes, Kansas is pancake flat, but it’s got it all in terms of modern amenities and cities of all sizes – from iconic Kansas City and the bustle of Wichita to smaller/medium-sized treasures like Shawnee, Dodge or Garden City, or Colby up near Colorado and Nebraska borders. It’s really the people though and the culture that most relocate to Kansas for.
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.
Step 7: Finance/Bootstrap Your Startup
Just like every other business under the sun, there may come a point where you’ll need more funding than your new business bank account can handle. The good news is that Kansas has it all in terms of startup groups, networks, and programs to state/county-level funds, grants and everything else. The question becomes then, how much do you really need?
Take Action: The email course we mentioned in Step 1 really comes in handy here because planning and finances go together like sunsets and flat land. You can also browse our guide on How to Finance a Business to start generating ideas.
Step 8: Design & Publish A Business Website
Arguably the last step to setting up a 21st century business (unless you’re ecommerce-based) is designing and publishing a quality website. And even way out in the rural cornfields of Kansas, people will want to see it. Yes, they have smartphones and tablets. To be taken seriously, give the world a way to investigate your brand and see what you’re about.
Take Action: The first step is finding the right platform, which thankfully there are a couple fantastic business website builders. Our favorites are Wix and Weebly. No matter which website builder you end up choosing, you’ll be in good hands since each one offers free support.
Step 9: Market Your Business
After all that, well, it’s time to sell and expand. Don’t go off the handle and starting trying to move with the speed of a Kansas twister! Take it slow and strategic like a road trip across the 70. Start as close to home as you possibly can and extract as much feedback from your initial clients/customers/users as is humanly possible. The more you know your customers, the better.
Take Action: Incentives. Learn them, embrace them and leverage their power to drive brand expansion, get your marketing content created for you, and better engage with your niche. The trick is finding the resources that get the best response and seizing upon them.
Step 10: Continue Learning & Stay Inspired
Yes, by all means keep your ears and eyes open for new exciting trends but never lose sight of where the real valuable information is at: fellow change-makers, ambitious entrepreneurs and small business owners. This is why along with being a helpful resource for business, Startup Savant continuously interviews change makers to see what they do to continue thriving.