Step 1) Plan Your Business Idea
Realistically, without a professional plan your business is little more than a fly-by-night operation, if that. As Benjamin Franklin put it, “By failing to prepare, you’re preparing to fail.” Or in a modern startup sense, struggle and scrape along the dredges of your niche until you either get serious or fold up shop. Start laying a strong foundation!
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
Once you’re sitting on top of a genius business plan your next step should really be threefold: picking what kind of business structure you’d like to form in Wyoming relative to their benefits, registering said entity, and in the process securing your brand name.
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) Tackle Wyoming Tax Obligations
Maybe you’re here because you discovered Wyoming's considered by many to be an ideal Live & Launch state thanks to zero personal, inventory or corporate income taxes. This means higher earnings and better margins along with a quick and easy setup process. Oh, and let’s not forget the low sales and use tax rates.
Take Action: To get started head on over to the Wyoming Secretary of State website’s section that covers Business Fees. Also, for red carpet treatment check out their Business Relocation Assistance program.
Step 4) Obtain Licensing & Permits
You may not have to be a cowgirl/cowboy in Wyoming to look like one, but you do have to play ball in terms of regulation which unless you intend on entering the mining industry should be as smooth as a well-made saddle. Consider zoning, public access, county requirements and so forth.
- For DIY’ers bookmark the Business Permitting FAQs page which also provides contact information for the Business Permit Program Manager.
- 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 Location
From Casper to Cheyenne, from the shopping spree-friendly ambience of Gillette to the naturalist fantasies of Rock Springs, if smaller populations don’t bother you then you’ll love it. On the flip-side if you’re an entirely online operation, you’re missing out! Either way, where you conduct business matters.
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 Your Business
Because Wyoming is the least populated state, and because it ranks 49th in terms of GDP size, other than banking institutions near the “bigger” cities conventional forms of funding will be in short supply (VCs, angel investor funds, etc.). But, thanks to the internet you can leverage options like Social Lending and CrowdFunding. Just take it slow like Yellowstone and be strategic.
Take Action: The email course we mentioned in Step 1 really comes in handy here because planning and finances go together like corn beef hash and green chili. You can also browse our guide on How to Finance a Business to start generating ideas.
Step 8) Build A Business Website
This step had to be included because of the sheer number of startups that still fail to take it as seriously as the new economy and tech-infused entrepreneurial era warrant. How else will people look into what your brand is about, where you’re going, and what you’re offering?
Take Action: The first step is finding the right platform, which thankfully there are some very good options. We highly recommend checking out Wix or Weebly, which are two of the most popular. Both help you build a professional business website while being very easy to use. No previous tech-skills required.
Step 9) Market Your Business
Our one humongous tip, as mighty as Old Faithful, is to lend your ear to the benefits of savvy automation and the many software miracles at your disposal these days. Half of what it takes to market effectively is message and budget management.
Take Action: Instead of investing in software that puts more of a digital wall between you and your niche, look for options that increase your ability to “touch base” with current customers/users/buyers. Remember, in most industries around 60% of your revenue comes from follow-through!
Step 10) Continue Learning & Stay Inspired
This journey you’re setting out on is a noble one, so enjoy it. Should you need a little motivation or a reliable stream of useful/valuable insight from fellow change-makers please keep Startup Savant in your Rolodex.
Take Action: Join thousands who are apart of the tribe by following us on Facebook and Twitter to tap into our daily feed filled with tips, lessons, and inspiring stories directly from entrepreneurs like you. They’re endless reservoirs that can help you push past the hard times.