A Mom’s Guide to
Starting a Business
Incorporating businesses for over 110 years.www.incorporate.com
We grew up starting a new school year every September, so for many of us
this month feels like a good time for a fresh sta...
Choose a Business That Fits Your Lifestyle and Budget
1.	 Start an ecommerce business and you’ll save big on overhead. Mak...
Create a Business Plan
9.	 Create a road map. Think of a business plan as an outline of your goals and how
you’re going to...
Ready, Set-Up, Go
15.	Choose the right location. If you decide to run your business from home, try to
set aside a separate...
It Takes a Village
20.	Put professionals on your side. The experts at The Company Corporation can answer
many of your gene...
Additional Resources
•	 The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers business development services
and training through ...
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A moms guide to starting a business

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A moms guide to starting a business

  1. 1. A Mom’s Guide to Starting a Business Incorporating businesses for over 110 years.www.incorporate.com
  2. 2. We grew up starting a new school year every September, so for many of us this month feels like a good time for a fresh start. As your kids start a new grade, are you thinking about starting something too—perhaps now is the time to start that business you’ve been thinking about. Being your own boss offers the freedom to do what you love, create a flexi- ble lifestyle and take charge of your own (and your family’s) future. For many moms, it’s the perfect solution to finding that elusive work-life balance. To help get your new business off to a great start, we’ve created this ebook to guide you through all the steps to startup. From choosing a business idea and setting up your workspace to filing all the paperwork you need to make it official, you’ll learn what you need to know before you launch. Plus, we’ve included free, helpful resources. Enjoy your startup journey! © 2013 The Company Corporation. All rights reserved. The Company Corporation is a service company and does not offer legal or financial advice.
  3. 3. Choose a Business That Fits Your Lifestyle and Budget 1. Start an ecommerce business and you’ll save big on overhead. Make it extra-simple by using platforms such as Amazon, eBay and Facebook which allow you to start an ecommerce storefront right on their sites--and give you help and advice along the way. 2. Ease into entrepreneurship by choosing a business you can start part time. This can allow you to keep your day job (and your paycheck) or to spend more time with your kids. 3. Start from home. Home-based businesses are common today—and you’ll save time and money by not having to commute. Staff your startup with virtual contractors and use technology to stay in touch with clients. (Be sure to check with your city’s zoning board to make sure home-based businesses are legal in your area.) 4. Consider buying a franchise. Franchise companies sell you the right to operate a business according to their systems, and even train you how to run your business. There are plenty of part-time, low-cost franchise opportunities available; visit the International Franchise Association (IFA) website to learn more. Do Your Market Research 5. Make sure there’s a demand for the business concept you’re considering. Contact your industry’s trade association for the latest statistics and growth projections. Does the industry have room to grow—or is demand fading? Choosing an industry that’s on the upswing will increase your chance of success. Check out trends reports from JWT Intelligence and SmallBizDaily. 6. Survey potential customers. Without giving away your idea, conduct casual online surveys through social media or online survey tools like SurveyMonkey. Ask what features or services are important to customers and how much they’d be willing to spend on your product or service. 7. Consider your competitors. Your competition isn’t limited to your local area anymore—thanks to the Internet, you have to compete with businesses all over the world. Assess what your potential competitors are doing and how you can stand out from the crowd. 8. Find your niche. It’s easier to be a big fish in a small pond. Honing in on a specific, very narrow target market is often a faster route to success. Identify a market that few others are targeting, and focus on that. © 2013 The Company Corporation. All rights reserved. The Company Corporation is a service company and does not offer legal or financial advice.
  4. 4. Create a Business Plan 9. Create a road map. Think of a business plan as an outline of your goals and how you’re going to achieve them. If you’re dreading writing a business plan (or think you don’t need one), the good news is it’s easier than ever thanks to the multitude of online tools to help you. You can buy a software program like Business Plan Pro, check out sample business plans at Bplans or use a free business plan app like the ones at Enloop. 10. Sum it up. The executive summary is the last part of the plan you write, but the first (and possibly only) part potential investors and partners will read. Make sure it sums up your business in a concise, exciting and descriptive way, explaining succinctly what differentiates your business from the competition, why your business idea will work and who your target market is. 11. Consider your plan a work in progress. Don’t get so stressed about perfecting your plan that you never launch your business. Use your business plan as a guide, reviewing and updating it frequently to reflect changes in your market, goals and strategies. Make It Legal 12. Get the necessary licenses and permits. Start by finding out what kind of business licenses and permits you need to operate your business. Your local, state and the federal government all have specific guidelines you need to follow; these may vary depending on your industry. Simplify the process by signing up with a service like The Company Corporation that can help you get all the licenses your business needs. 13. Choose your form of business. Will you incorporate or form a Limited Liability Company (LLC)? Both offer protection of your private assets in case of a lawsuit or business closure. Your accountant, your attorney and experts like those at The Company Corporation can help you decide what form your business should take. 14. Insure your business. Know what types of insurance you need to keep your business (and your personal assets) safe. These can include general liability insurance, product liability insurance, professional liability insurance and (if you have employees) Workers’ Compensation Insurance, Unemployment insurance tax and in some states disability insurance. If you start your business from home, don’t assume your homeowner’s insurance will cover your business; in most cases you’ll need to buy additional insurance. Talk to an insurance agent with experience in your industry and small business. © 2013 The Company Corporation. All rights reserved. The Company Corporation is a service company and does not offer legal or financial advice.
  5. 5. Ready, Set-Up, Go 15. Choose the right location. If you decide to run your business from home, try to set aside a separate room for your business—that way, in addition to avoiding distractions, you can deduct the space on your business taxes. If you’re not home- based, find a reputable, local commercial realtor who knows the area, your industry and traffic patterns. Never sign a lease before having your attorney review the contract. 16. Get your family’s buy-in. Whether your business is home-based or not, your family will feel the impact of the startup, so it’s crucial to make sure your spouse and children are willing to do what it takes to support you. (You may even want to get them involved in the business so they feel a part of the action.) 17. Get equipped. What equipment will you need for your business? Decide what you absolutely can’t do without—and what you can wait on until your business grows. Don’t plan to just use the family computer or the same tablet computer or cell phone your kids play games on. Make sure your equipment is separate and specifically designated for the business, or the IRS may decide you are working on a hobby, not a business (not to mention you’re exposing yourself to potential computer viruses). 18. Set ground rules. Make sure your family, friends and neighbors understand that you’re running a business. Otherwise, you could face constant interruptions, or neighbors who think you’re available to run their errands. 19. Plan for childcare. Don’t expect to get much work done if you have young children at home. Even if your children are in school most of the day, figure out how you will handle the hours when they’re home and what backup options you can put in place during school vacations or when the kids are home sick. © 2013 The Company Corporation. All rights reserved. The Company Corporation is a service company and does not offer legal or financial advice.
  6. 6. It Takes a Village 20. Put professionals on your side. The experts at The Company Corporation can answer many of your general legal questions about small business startup. You’ll also want a lawyer who can help with more specific questions, and an accountant you can turn to for help with bookkeeping, taxes and financial planning. 21. Create a support system. Being an entrepreneur can get lonely. Make sure you have people to turn to when the going gets rough, or just to bounce ideas off of. Join business networking groups and industry organizations. Regularly meet up with a business peer for lunch. 22. Get online. Every business needs a website and a social media presence—period. If you aren’t up on all the latest tools for the new techie world of business, take a class or online workshop to familiarize yourself. 23. Find a go-to IT person. Unless you’re an IT expert yourself, you’ll need someone you can call someone when your computer glitches, your data disappears or your website crashes. Don’t wait until a disaster happens to look for that person—you can’t afford to be without your computer or your website. 24. Take time out. As a busy mom, you know you need time for yourself—so plan ways to get it. Whether it’s joining a gym or going for a run, meeting friends for coffee or meditating for 20 minutes, take time to rejuvenate or you’ll burn out before your business gets off the ground. 25. Learn more. Check out some free or low-cost resources to help you start and grow your business (see next page). © 2013 The Company Corporation. All rights reserved. The Company Corporation is a service company and does not offer legal or financial advice.
  7. 7. Additional Resources • The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers business development services and training through its nationwide network of district offices, plus tons of online resources. • Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) provide free or low-cost business advice, assistance and counseling through a network of locations nationwide. • SCORE’s experienced current and former business owners offer free mentorship, advice and counseling online and in-person; the SCORE website also has information and resources to start and grow your business. • BusinessUSA.gov is the federal government’s site for small business, with information on topics from starting and growing a business to health insurance and more. • The National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) offers networking opportunities, resources and information to help women start and grow their companies. • The IRS website has all the information, forms and publications you’ll need to stay on top of your business taxes. • The National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) is a federal agency that conducts research about women-owned businesses. • National Association for Moms in Business (NAFMIB) helps “unlock the potential of working mothers through advocacy and education.” To learn more call 800-818-6082 or visit www.incorporate.com. © 2013 The Company Corporation. All rights reserved. The Company Corporation is a service company and does not offer legal or financial advice. www.incorporate.com

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