Step 1: Truly Plan Your Business Idea
You might be thinking if it’s all just chance and nothing really guarantees success, isn’t going into business a lot like playing the roulette table? Sort of, yeah. But, that being said, there’s one thing above all that increases your odds and that’s professional business planning. First and foremost, it structures your approach, gets financial forecasts in line, nails your pitch and optimizes your executive summary. Kick things off the right way.
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
This step needs serious consideration - your business structure. Corporations and LLCs are very popular for an assortment of reasons, so do some homework here. Once you choose, you can register and in the process secure a brand name and protect your personal assets (car, house, 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 Nevada Tax Code
Few states are mentioned more than Nevada in terms of building new brands in terms of tax/privacy-friendly areas. But there are some complexities and nuances you wouldn’t expect unless you happen to be a trained tax professional. Are there tons of upsides? Absolutely! But there’s fine print as well. To get an idea, check out this article from Stephen Fisherman on saving money by incorporating in Nevada.
Take Action: Bookmark the Nevada Dept. of Taxation because the website will come in handy in understanding your business tax obligations.
Step 4: Obtain Proper Licensing/Permits
Your business will need to get licensed and obtain a retail sales permit if applicable (keep in mind the U.S. Government owns nearly 90% of Nevada land). And yes, you can apply online or order the forms be sent to your home using the website linked below. If you aren’t opening a restaurant or a casino or anything along those lines, it should be very easy to navigate their regulatory environment.
- For DYI’ers use the Dept. of Business and Industry’s Step by Step Guide to get started.
- 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 Nevada Location
Of course there’s Vegas and the astounding nightlife, but beyond that you’ve got wonderful areas around Battle Mountain to the north, Reno and Carson City next to the green hills of California, with Phoenix and Salt Lake City not too far away. Over the last decade many wonderful areas have opened up and expanded throughout the state to cater to such business growth and expansion. Dig in and don’t be shy!
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 Business
Well, there’s always gambling to fund your startup, right? Why not? When it comes to funding your dreams, nothing should be off the table. As long as it’s legal and wont ruin any of your personal/professional relationships…the sky’s the limit. To say you have plenty of access in Nevada would be an understatement of the century though, honestly. All that matters is how much you’re needing to leverage.
Take Action: The email course we mentioned in Step 1 really comes in handy here because planning and finances go together like Lake Tahoe and hiking boots. You can also browse our guide on How to Finance a Business to start generating ideas.
Step 8: Design & Publish A Business Website
No one’s saying your business website needs to be as well-designed as Stratosphere Tower, but to be taken seriously your brand needs a digital presence. Maybe all you require is a responsive one-pager, or landing page, or maybe a sleek ecommerce theme, which are much easier and less expensive to design these days.
Take Action: If you could use some help in this department the first step is finding the right platform. We highly recommend checking out Wix or Weebly since they are the easiest to use while having the best prices. Zero tech-skills required.
Step 9: Market Your Business
Both online and in-the-flesh, it’s fun marketing products and services in Nevada because the culture’s so start-friendly. Your only real challenge is establishing real connections with your niche. Just look at the way Casino’s use incentives to get people in the door and partaking in the food, drink, and entertainments.
Take Action: Along with your core offering, what types of incentives are in place to do business with you instead of your competitors? Remember, this has tons to do with your brand story, where you came from and where you’re going.
Step 10: Continue Learning & Stay Inspired
Now don't forget about Startup Savant when you become a big shot. As the saying goes, "Success makes for a stale ending." It's the journey towards success that has all the bread and butter. To stay on top of your game and motivated, we've got a steady stream of useful insight from fellow change-makers and universe-gamblers we like to call entrepreneurs.