Truth is no one founds a company in Texas, the most populous state in America that’s nearly 300,000 square miles and represents the 12th largest economy in the world, without a plan. That would be like trying to rustle cattle without rope. Just can’t do it! Your first step is designing your business’ road map to success.
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. We’ll guide you step-by-step through the process and help refine all your core fundamentals: marketing, budgeting, milestones, pitch, etc. into a presentation-ready plan.
Once you have a solid game plan, it’s time to pony-up, pick your business entity and get it registered with the state. This will protect your personal assets (house/car/etc) and give you a solid leg to stand on moving forward.
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.
From the Texas Enterprise Fund (huge) to incentives and credits galore, once your brand is a registered legal entity you can then leverage the power of the Lone Star tax code. Obviously the sooner you get this handled by either yourself or your tax attorney, the better.
Take Action: If you’re doing this without legal help, head on over to the “Quick Start for Business: A Guide to Comptroller Resources for Businesses” that’s Texas-specific and tackles just about everything you’re going to need.
Just more red-tape, but it’s necessary to legally conduct business. You may only need a simple license and to pay a quick fee, or it might be more complex depending on where you open up shop and what kind of business you’re starting.
Mixing your personal and business bank accounts is like mixing your collard greens with pastries. You just don’t do it. While this should be a no-brainer, you would (or wouldn’t) be shocked by the amount of new entrepreneurs who make this newbie mistake and miss out on so many financial benefits.
While there are so many options when choosing a business location, be strategic. Each “region” of Texas is a mammoth intermingling of cultures. The geography is immensely diverse. Will you stay near the Gulf and settle in Corpus Christi? Or maybe head north to Abilene or Amarillo? Maybe you’re going right into the heart of Texas, north of San Antone…remember each area has its own upsides and downsides.
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.
Many will argue Texas invented boostrapping, which is why today the state boasts a 1.4 trillion GDP (2013). Now, within that giant dust devil is quite a few funding options so don’t get your spurs in a bunch. Relax, evaluate your options (including non-conventional like Social Lending or CrowdFunding) and go easy.
Bootstrapping takes planning, discipline, and team work but it keeps you hungry and driven. And don’t forget just how many resources, online and otherwise (incubators, groups, orgs, services, etc.), are out there to help you get your business where it needs to be.
Take Action: The email course mentioned in Step 1 really comes in handy here because planning and finances go together like fried chicken and waffles. Browse our guide on How to Finance a Business to start generating ideas.
Business websites aren’t as complex or expensive to design and maintain as they were a few years ago. But there’s no doubt about it, your brand’s website is its Alamo. It’s where your clients and customers learn about you, do business with you, engage with you, etc. And yes, we think they’re a necessity to compete and beat your competition.
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.
Startup Savant doesn’t pretend to know the answers to modern marketing. We don’t. We don’t think anyone does because marketing is changing and evolving so quickly. What we do know though is that you still can’t beat experimentation, then capitalizing on activity.
Take Action: Whether you’re strictly online or brick and mortar, Texas is a powerhouse marketplace where you have to test and see what works. Leverage the power of more localized online marketing in conjunction with reaching out and really connecting with your niche to see what makes the most sense.
Something else we’ve figured out is that there’s very little that can drive you and charge your engines the way personalized insight can. This is why we’ve put so much focus on establishing relationships with fellow entrepreneurs in the trenches and doing one-on-one interviews.