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.
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: Open A Business Bank Account
Well done, now it’s time your brand had its own separate but integrated and structured financial foundation. First step is choosing a bank and forming opening business checking/savings accounts. After that, choose and integrate an accounting software. This will keep you organized, totally prepared for tax time and a number of other benefits.
- Shop around at local and national banks to compare features. Typically an online national bank like Capital One or CitiBank will give you the best rates and features.
- User-friendly, fast, secure, tons of automation, easier forecasting, more efficient marketing budgets…the benefits are near endless which is why this tool is fantastic when starting a business in Nebraska. Check out our guide to Business Accounting Software and sync whichever you choose with your fresh business bank account.
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.