Step 1: Plan Your Business Idea
To truly get the most out of your business and to help ensure that it lives to exceed its potential, you’re going to need a professionally formatted and well thought out business plan. Making this move immediately separates you from the flock. Boom! Once in-hand and evolving, this game plan will become a cornerstone asset in a large variety of ways.
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 & Register
The next step is to protect you, your personal assets and your brand by registering your business with the state. Investigate the common types to see which suits your ambitions best and provides the most incentives relative to Nebraska regulations.
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, consider forming 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: Tackle Nebraska Tax Obligations
Now depending on the type of legal structure you’re forming, there will be advantages, perks, credits, and incentives come tax time for you and your company. Should you handle this process yourself or with an accountant? Honestly you can do it either way, but the state provides some solid info if you'd like to handle this step by yourself.
Take Action: To start getting an idea of how powerful Nebraska’s business tax code is, head on over their Tax Information page for new business owners.
Step 4: Obtain Licensing/Permits
Often in the process of getting hooked into the state/federal systems, any permits or licenses beyond a general business license will get taken care of as well. But make absolute sure you get this step checked off the list or it could really bite you later on in the form of a notice. Long story short, do your homework and take care of this step before officially opening your doors.
- For the DIY’ers head on over to the Business Licensing page on Nebraska.gov.
- If you need help with this step, a Business License Service is what we recommend. 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 Nebraska Location
Regardless of where you choose, there’s two really neat things you should know about doing business in Nebraska. First, there will be times when Huskers games all but close down the state. I mean listen, these are Holy Days folks. Secondly, as of 2015 Nebraska is sporting the lowest unemployment rate! From Scottsbluff to Omaha, from Alma to Valentine, it’s a great place.
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 Platform
Chances are you’ve never had to raise outside capital for a company before and you might be thinking you’ll just “use incoming revenue” to take care of it along the way. That may work, but eventually your platform will grow to a size where outside capital of some sort is required. Right? Good news is that whether you’re an online-only platform or brick and mortar, Nebraska has tons to offer.
Take Action: The email course we mentioned in Step 1 really comes in handy here because planning and finances go together like Nebraska chili and cinnamon rolls. You can also browse our guide on How to Finance a Business to start generating ideas.
Step 8: Build A Business Website
The truth is, having a professional business website isn’t optional anymore if you want your brand to be taken seriously. No one’s saying you need a complex digital storefront, but there needs to be something online in place where potential customers can investigate who you are and what you’re about. If you don’t already have one, we’d just like you to be aware that there are other options aside from going online to try and find a designer/agency you don't know. You can easily do it yourself.
Take Action: If you could use some help in this department, we highly recommend looking into a business website builder like Wix or Weebly. They’re both very easy to use and will give you a professional website in less than a few hours.
Step 9: Market Your Business
Tough subject, but it had to be in here. After steps 1-8 there’s little left to do but sell and grow. Remember, there are no shortcuts transforming $1 into $2. And don’t forget that Nebraskans are known for their friendliness, their outgoing nature, and zest for supporting local businesses and the entrepreneurial spirit.
Take Action: Please, don’t get sucked into the idea that being in business is a race. Do you need to be flexible and on your toes? Yes, but don’t let digital marketing become a crutch. Increase your odds of success by making as many REAL human connections as you possibly can.
Step 10: Continue Learning & Stay Inspired
Life as an entrepreneur is, well, typically far more exciting than the 9-to-5 humdrum lifestyle. But it can also be much more challenging. Around here we believe in bonds and relationships, community and social-thriving. Sync with our stream of interviews and startup-friendly info.