Are You Ready to Take the First Step?
Whether you are leaving a larger firm/company, or spreading your entrepreneurial wings for the first time, starting your own business can be as daunting as it is exciting. Many people make up their mind to start a new adventure, but quickly find themselves asking, “Now what?” Well, this blog post is designed to give you a brief overview of your very first steps.
Step 1: Determine the Structure of your Business
Determining the actual legal structure of your business is crucial. The structure of your business will have an impact on the laws, financial regulations, and tax codes you will be required to operate under. Unless you’re absolutely sure about your business structure (ie. You want a sole proprietorship), it may be worth your time to consult a business attorney or a CPA.
Step 2: Secure Your Name
The Minnesota Secretary of State’s Office is responsible for almost all things related to starting your business. It’s against the law to start a business that shares the exact name of a competing company. Luckily, there’s a great tool that allows you to check the originality of your business name. Every character matters when determining your business name. Check out this information on naming your business.
Step 3: Register Your Business
Once you find an original business name, you must file a Certificate of Assumed Name (which costs $50 if you file it online) with the Minnesota Secretary of State. You’re almost there- now it’s time to register your business. If you need help with this process, the Secretary of State website has a very helpful Business How-To section.
Step 4: Publishing in a Legal Paper
After officially filing your business with the Secretary of state, there’s a really important and odd requirement to publish your business information (sent along with your Certificate of Assumed Name) in a local newspaper. You have to pay for the space, but it’s a necessary evil. When starting Spectrum Design and Marketing, I had this information published in the Pioneer Press. Just find their classifieds department and reach out to them. They know the drill.
Make sure you keep copies (electronic and print) of all important paperwork mentioned above. If you complete the steps above, then you’re ready to plunge into fun things like creating a logo, building a website, and creating a presence on social media. If you have any questions about the information above, please drop me a line.
Michelle Wheeler is the founder of Spectrum Design and Marketing; a full-service marketing agency dedicated to helping small businesses, non-profits, local governments, and other community-based organizations share their passion with the world. By utilizing strategic planning and creative design, Michelle helps her clients at every stage of their evolution. From new businesses that lack basic branding to well-established organizations looking to drive expansion. She helps clients in four primary areas: 1) Website Development; 2) Branding; 3) Print Materials; and 4) Digital Strategy.