David N. McCullough CPA PC

Financial, Tax, and Family Office Services

Small Business Startup

How to start your business in 10 easy steps

  1. Define, in 25 words or less, what your business will do.
  2. Decide on a name. Make sure it’s legally available, and register it if assumed.
  3. Determine what you’ll sell, and for how much.
  4. “Guess-timate” your expenses.
  5. Stop. Look. Don’t leap. It’s time to review your calculations and re-evaluate the risks.
  6. See your friendly CPA. I would recommend…..well, myself.  He’ll help you with steps 5 through 10
  7. Get accounting software. Click here and you’ll get a discount.
  8. Formally set up your business – incorporate, create an LLC, etc.
  9. Set up bank accounts. (If you’re in the area, contact me for a referral). Keep the business separate from your personal accounts.
  10. Market, market, market.

How to sustain and grow your small business

1. Make time your friend, not your enemy. Which person would your rather be?

Person A quit his job and started his own business from scratch. He has four months of living expenses saved up – after that, it’s either a successful business or he’ll put his living expenses on his credit card.

Person B began her business as a part-time activity on her evenings and weekends. After two years, she has developed a client base, adjusted her pricing, and has credit terms with quality suppliers.

Often there’s no substitute for time. Make it your friend – it’s less dramatic but more successful.

2. Focus on your business:

Really – look before you leap. Don’t plan to fail or fail to plan

Build your network. You’ll need:

  • A banking relationship
  • An attorney (for contracts, incorporation, etc.)
  • Accounting and tax help
  • Printing services
  • Insurance (general business and health coverage)
  • Payroll service (if you have employees)
  • Credit card processor (if you plan on taking them)

Plan your marketing

Here are my Four rules of Marketing

1. Use what works
2. Improve on that
3. Test other methods
4. Be easy to do business with

If you need something more concrete than these rules, I would suggest 10 Step marketing for a practical, easy to use approach (see the link on the Library page) and suggest you get a copy of Your Marketing Sucks by Mark Stevens (www.yourmarketingsucks.com), who provides unconventional, often brutal, analysis but keeps you focused on the results rather than the mechanism.

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