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: 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.
Now that your initial plan is ironed out, and you’re serious about this, it’s time to register your business. First pick your legal structure, then in the process of registering you’ll take care of all kinds of red tape including securing a brand name and protecting your personal assets like house and car.
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.
Truth be told, understanding and taking care of your business tax requirements are important. 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. See why some homework here is important?
Take Action: Head on over to the Michigan Department of Treasury’s Business Taxes section to start digging in. We also recommend bookmarking the page for future reading.
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. Everything depends on your location and industry.
Alright, let’s assume you’re well-planned, registered with the state and you’ve got your taxes/licensing nailed down. Now it’s time to establish your business’ financial foundation by finding the best banking institution and setting up dedicated business account.
In terms of your business, the location you choose is one or the other (proverbially) depending on a) how many resources are in the area that help you grow, and b) how much easier or harder it makes managing the business. Take your time, do some homework, and be strategic.
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, 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 solid business website is as necessary as having a plan.
Take Action: The first step is finding the right platform, which thankfully there are some very good options. If you’d like our recommendation, grab a free trial to Wix or Weebly. They’re the easiest to use and have the best prices. No previous tech-skills required.
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 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.
Thanks for reading our guide to starting a business in Michigan! Is there anything we can do to make it more helpful? We’d love to hear your opinion through our Contact Page.