Step 1: Plan Your Business Idea
To dramatically increase your odds of successfully staying above water for the first 1-3 years, approach your Business Plan the way mountain bikers approach Moab. The scenery (profit potential) is amazing, but if you don’t keep your eyes on what’s directly ahead, prepared, and on your toes Slickrock Trail will get the best of you and you’ll probably get hurt (go broke!).
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.
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
With initial planning in production the next big step is to register your business. In the process you will secure a brand name and protect 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, 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: Sync With The Utah Tax Code
With a stable and relatively predictable startup-friendly climate, in Utah your brand can enjoy lower operating/tax costs and what many consider the most well-managed tax and governance system in America. Across the board, from a young/savvy workforce to 1-day truck service, first you need to get synced with the state tax laws!
Step 4: Obtain Proper Licensing/Permits
You’ll need to get a business license from the city or county in which you’re located so keep that in mind for step 6. No worries though, their regulatory environment is literally designed for both big hitters and smaller to medium-sized businesses.
- For DYI’ers head to two free PDFs, one is a Business Licensing Guide through the Utah Dept. of Commerce and the other is a basic Business in Utah guide that’s much more extensive.
- For help finding the licenses you’ll need, a Business License Service is what we highly recommend looking into. 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 Utah Location
Whether you’re headed for Salt Lake City or any of its suburbs, the bustle of West Jordan (saw a population boom of over 50% between 2000-2010), or the southwestern glory of St. George, Utah’s a great place to do business. Or, have a family, live the single-solopreneur life, become a salt water taffy addict, etc.
Take Action: Listen, 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 Your Business
Utah’s got it all when it comes to your startup's veracious hunger for capital – conventional loans, VC funds, angel investment groups, state-level programs galore, tons of CrowdFunders, social lending fans, and on and on. All that matters is what you’re willing to reach out and grab, like plucking a peach from a tree just south of Willard.
Take Action: The email course we mentioned in Step 1 really comes in handy here because planning and finances go together like Fry Sauce and fries. 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 insinuating you need a website as stilling and breathtaking as Zion National Park or Capital Reef, just be functional and user-friendly. Again, Utah has a primarily younger demographic that’s filled with millennials. But in all honesty, would you take any brand or business seriously if they didn’t have a website you could check out or some sort of digital presence other than product/service pages?
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
With steps 1-8 in the rear view mirror it’s nothing but sales and brand expansion to the promise land. And, it’s here where success or failure is decided. Truth be told, there really is no concrete right or wrong about marketing a business. We do however highly recommend doing some research on which type of marketing is most effective for your industry.
Take Action: The #1 method to increasing your odds of success is through networking, period. Each day make it your/your team’s goal to open as many doors of potential as it takes to make one real connection with an ideal client, customer or user.
Step 10: Continue Learning & Stay Inspired
Boom, at this point you should be the owner of an official, in-operation and being-marketed business. So please consider Startup Savant as a reliable resource to turn to for tools, insight from fellow change-makers, and motivational content that keeps you chugging along, onward and upward. The good life of a rising entrepreneur.