You're almost ready to launch your new business, and you're so excited you’re about to burst. But before you officially declare this business “Open,” be sure you have these five things in place:
- A business bank account. No matter how small your startup is, it's important to separate your personal and business finances from the beginning. Mingling money by writing business checks from your personal account can get you in trouble at tax time. In some cases, there may be benefits to opening a business account at the same bank where your personal accounts are. However, don't assume: Do your homework and check out the services local banks offer that could be useful to your business.
- A logo. Your logo is the visual representation of your business brand. You'll use it on everything from your business website and your business cards to promotional products and packaging. Take the time to develop a memorable logo that gets attention. Unless you're starting a graphic design firm, you'll probably want to work with a designer to develop a logo that stands out. You can find graphic designers in your local area or online at websites like 99Designs or Freelancer.com. Finally, be sure to get your logo trademarked to protect it from copycats.
- A business email address. You've worked hard to come up with a name for your business. So why would you send business emails from firstname.lastname@example.org when for just a few dollars a month, you could be sending them from email@example.com? When you use your own business email, you’re promoting your brand every time you send an email. A business email address also increases your company's credibility. Web.com’s business email package offers more than just email — you also get a domain name, cloud storage and more.
- A business website. For some small businesses, the need for a website is obvious. (For example, you can’t start an e-commerce business without one.) But no matter what industry you're in or who your target market is, you need a website if you want them to find you. Depending on your industry and business model, you might need a complex website with shopping cart functionality, or just a basic website where customers can get the information they need to connect with you. To get your website off to the right start, register your domain name and choose a reliable web hosting service. Then decide whether you want to build your own website (it's actually easy to do) or have the website design experts build one for you.
- A social media presence. Whether you’re starting a B2B or B2C business, you need some type of presence on social media. Figure out which social platform your target market spends time on, and focus your efforts there. For example, if you’re selling IT services to business clients, you'll want to be on LinkedIn; if you're opening an e-commerce site selling clothing for young women, you need to be on Instagram. Using social media marketing tools can help you put your best face forward on social media.