When starting a business, there are four fundamental areas that need to be addressed: business concept, organization, customer relations, and operations. Adequate planning, attention to details, and realistic expectations are critical to your success, especially if the business grows rapidly.
While it’s important to have a great idea and plenty of drive and passion, you don’t know what you don’t know and that’s why the Wyoming SBDC is here to help! We want to help you choose where to put your efforts in the coming weeks or months in order to drive your business forward.
Here’s a checklist of these areas and some initial issues to address to get you started:
Fine tune your overall business idea by drafting a summary proposal of your overall business thoughts which can serve as a roadmap for starting a business. Make sure it answers the following key questions:
- What does your business stand for now and what will it be in the future?
- What does success look like?
- What is your product portfolio? What do you make? How do you make it?
- What is your revenue model? How will you make a profit?
- Who are your customers? What are they seeking and why?
- What is your market position?
- What does your business contribute to the world that no one else can?
- Who will be the key players in your business?
- Choose a business entity. If you plan to operate your business under an assumed business name, limited partnership, LLC, or corporation register with the Wyoming Secretary of State’s Office.
- Obtain an employer identification number (EIN) from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, as well as, tax publications.
- Connect with the Wyoming Department of Employment regarding employer services, worker’s compensation, and unemployment insurance coverage. Remember to speak with the Wyoming new Hire reporting Center and make sure that a completed I-9 form is on file for each new hire.
- Talk with the Occupational Health and Safety Administration regarding voluntary workplace safety programs.
- Contact the Wyoming Department of Revenue Excise Tax Division regarding state sales and use tax collection.
- Do you need a professional or occupational license? If so, research and obtain the license you need.
- Reach out to city and county officials for local permits to do business
- Begin developing your marketing ideas. Look at developing a marketing plan.
- Consider establishing an online presence including a website and social media most relevant to your business model to start building brand recognition. List your business on Google. Do you need a logo and/or intellectual property protection?
- Develop a plan for meeting customer demands and expectations
- Make sure your financials are in place and ensure that there is enough funding for your business to operate. Research how you will finance your business.
- Set up your business “books”. You will need to track business expenses and income. Consider utilizing the services of an accountant.
- Obtain business insurance. Speak with an insurance carrier or broker about coverage needed.
- Open a business bank account. You will need to have your company articles organization/incorporation, as well as, your EIN.
- Think about obtaining a D-U-N-S number. This number will be used to identify your business in the Dun & Bradstreet commercial credit database.
Help is Available with Starting a Business
If you are an entrepreneur interested in obtaining more information about starting a business, contact your local Wyoming SBDC Network advisor by clicking here for no-cost, confidential assistance.
About the Author: Steen has been involved in the small business and workforce development sectors for more than 25 years. A business veteran, he co-founded businesses in the oil, gas, retail, and construction industries. He’s also been involved in the academic sector, teaching classes in entrepreneurship, marketing, management, accounting, and construction planning at numerous colleges and universities. Most recently Steen served as the Interim State Director of the SBDC Network in the U.S. Virgin Islands.