Choose your State – There are multiple benefits to incorporate in specific states (such as Delaware or Nevada). It’s important to understand the why. A good book for this is Start Your Own Corporation by Garrett Sutton.
Decide which corporation is best for you – Outlined in the book previously mentioned, there’s some great advantages and disadvantages to each of these but when you build a business around the right type it is vital to your success.
LLC: Combines the same principle allowing taxes to pass through with a sole-proprietorship along with the limited liability.
Partnership LLC: Same as above but recognized as a partnership instead of a sole-proprietorship.
S Corporation: Exempt from taxes, the S-Corp allows taxes, profits and losses to pass directly the through corporation to you.
C Corporation: A separate legal entity that protects the shareholders or owners’ assets from any claims. It is considered a separate tax payer but usually has higher taxes because you’re paying for corporate taxes and income taxes.
Register Your Business Name – Business names, while not so important (because they can be changed later, do affect your branding. We like to choose a domain name before a business name to ensure it’s available. Keep your branding in check. You can register at the state’s site. There’s always instructions on how to do this and it’s a lot simpler than you think. If you use a service or a lawyer to do this, yes you have a better chance to get it done right but you will also be paying a premium for that. If you’re strapped for cash, start at the state site. (i.e. Delaware)
Obtain Tax ID – Once you incorporate, you’ll need to apply for a Tax ID here. There’s specific instructions if you’re creating a charitable, tax-exempt organization.Open a Bank Account – See quick version above
Create your business structure – The most important part of bootstrapping [tooltip: Creating a business by using only your resources (No outside funding)] is that you have to create your own business structure. This involves writing your own Operating Agreement (or Bylaws for a charity), Articles of Incorporation, creating contracts, documents, file structure, etc. Our recommendation is to build the outline first and then begin writing these docs.
Write your documents – Draft up all the documents mentioned in the previous task.
Seek capital – One of the most important stages in your journey is going to be finding ways to afford things. Until your business is flourishing, you’re going to have to make tough decisions. These decisions are small (like do we really need 500 business cards?) but they do add up. You can find angel investors here, crowdfunding here, or maybe your business can get by with contributions from this site.
Obtain Business Licenses and Permits – First find out if you even need one here.
Obtain Employer Responsibilities – Because there is so much information out there, I recommend reading up on all of it if you are planning on hiring someone:
Seek Legal Advice – Attorney fees can be expensive. I’d recommend consulting with some remote freelance attorneys first. They will provide you free quotes! Check out UpCounsel.com and Rocketlawyer.com.
Build a brand – Branding is often overlooked when people start businesses but it’s quite vital to the outcome of your vision. When building a brand, you must think coherence. Make everything as simple as possible so a toddler can understand what you’re doing. Simple is better.
Build a Marketing Plan – Following your branding lead, it’s easy to see what marketing plans should be put in place to accomplish reaching your target audience. Research what platforms your customers are using and attack from all those angles.
Launch a website – If your business doesn’t have a website, it’s probably not going to get that much traffic. If you can move any part of your business to a website, you’re probably going to get more sales/traffic.