Entrepreneur. It’s hard to spell and hard to say, but it doesn’t have to be hard to do.
If you’ve spent some time thinking about starting your own business, you’re probably already acutely aware that there is a LOT to do. From marketing and promotion to quickbooks and taxes it can definitely feel overwhelming. But fear not, we’ve broken it down into six easy steps to get your business started
Register Your Business with the County
One of the very first things you’ll need to do to launch your business is file a DBA Certificate with the Champaign County Clerk’s office. DBA is an acronym for “doing business as” and is the first step to legitimize your business. A DBA Certificate allows you transact business under a name other than your personal legal name.
Want to start off even more legit? You may also want to license your business as a specific type for legal purposes. The most common, an LLC or limited liability company, can limit the legal liabilities that you are personally responsible for and can also come in handy when filing taxes.
Check out this complete list from Legal Zoom for more information on the different types of businesses.
Build Your Website
It’s 2022. Repeat after me: a functioning website is an absolute necessity.
Having a digital presence is 100% a non-negotiable. If consumers can’t find you online, you may lose them or never even get them in the first place. That being said, not everyone is a super-techy web developer and that’s okay.
There are resources at your disposal to help build a website you are proud of. You can enlist the help of a local creative services businesses like Clanin Marketing, Surface 51 or Cybernautic. You can also utilizes platforms like Wix, Weebly or Wordpress to create your own website - no developer credentials required. These platforms utilize pre-made templates, drag and drop features and built in widgets to help you create a user-friendly website that helps tell your story.
Join Your Local Chamber of CommerceChambers of Commerce are membership-based organizations dedicated to improving the business climate in their community. They offer marketing, education and networking resources to help your business launch and grow. Locally, there are several different chambers that you can join including the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce, Mahomet Area Chamber of Commerce, Rantoul Area Chamber of Commerce.
Although each chamber is different, their goal at the end of the day is to help business. They can be a powerful resource for you as you venture into entrepreneurship.
Get an Accounting Software Program
As you starting raking in the money from your awesome new business venture, you’ll need a program to keep track of it all. We don’t recommend keeping coins in jars and stacks of cash laying around.
Accounting platforms keep track of cashflow, expenses, wages, taxes and so much more. Don’t try and rely on your memory or a handwritten ledger to keep your information. Accounting software programs take the guess work out of financials and can give you powerful insights in to how your business is functioning.
Some of our favorite accounting platforms are Quickbooks, Xero and Wave (this one has a free version!).
If you take one piece of advice from this blog, we kindly request that it be this one.
Launch Your Business on Social Media
Remember when we said that having a digital website presence is a non-negotiable? Same applies to social media. We are living in the age of digital and social media. Your competitors will be on social media and so should you. The decision you’ll have to make is which platform(s)?
At the end of the day you need to decide what types of social media are the best fit for your business. Do you want to reach a young following? Are your target customers business people? Who do you want to buy your product or service? Once you have a clear picture of who you want your audience to be, you can decide which social media platforms make the most sense for your business.
You don’t have to use them all, but we HIGHLY recommend that you be on social media on some way, shape or form. It’s a powerful resource to reach customers that isn’t going away anytime soon. This article from Adobe has some great insights on deciding where to spend your time and energy.
Grab Some Branded Gear from Campus Ink
This next bit is going to be a totally shameless plug for Campus Ink services, but we promise you’re going to want to keep reading.
Along with your logo and digital assets, part of branding your new business will be to have shirts, apparel and novelty items with your logo on them. These items can be used to promote your business to potential customers and show appreciation to current customers.
In-terms of apparel, wearing your brand and logo while out in public turns you into a walking advertisement for your business. Without even trying, you can get your business name in front of potential customers and increase awareness for your business. Order some shirts for yourself, your family and your friends. People rarely say no to a free t-shirt.
Campus Ink can help you build a brand that you are proud of. We can help you decide on what types of apparel you need, what colors look best, how many pens to order and more. We are a resource to help you grow your business.
Learn more about our apparel services here or our novelty items here.
See, that wasn’t so bad right? Six simple steps that will set you up for success when starting your business. Entrepreneurship is never easy but it can be so rewarding. Work hard, be humble, go after what you want.
What are you waiting for? Get out there and start your business today.