Starting a home-based business has many advantages over building a brick and mortar business from the ground up. You can start a business doing something you are truly passionate about, work a flexible schedule that leaves you free time for other responsibilities and interests, and save money on clothes and fuel traveling required to go to an office each day. The problem is that many people never get their business off the ground because they are afraid it will be a long, drawn-out process with no room for making mistakes.
You probably already have a type of business in mind. You may even have a name for your business and a logo to go with it. Even if you don’t have any of that, you will need to take care of the basics before worrying about the creative details.
If you do know what your company name will be, fill out a “Doing Business As” form. These may be acquired online or at the local Clerk’s Office of the Commission. Even if you decide on a different name later on, you can always submit a new form.
If you will have other employees working for you or will be a part of a partnership, corporation or LLC, you will need to acquire an employer identification number to identify your businesses on federal tax forms. You can still apply for an EIN if you are not required to obtain one and prevent using your social security number. You can apply on the IRS website.
You may be required to register your trade name and/or fill out a personal-property tax form. If you will use your existing computer and other equipment for your business, they do not need to be listed. However, any items that you purchase specifically for your business, such as tools or special software or services, they will need to be included. You will also need to get a business license. Depending on your area of residence, there may be other licenses/permits that you must obtain.
If you will be selling merchandise, you will need to obtain a seller’s permit so you can collect sales tax. The application and related forms can be found on your state’s Department of Taxation official website.
In addition to having a computer with a high speed internet connection, you will also need software that is customized to your specific business. For instance, if you do electronics repairs, you will need a system that invoices, creates parts orders, and keeps track of services performed. You may want to implement accounting software and use a data backup system that will store all of yours and your customer’s information in a safe place. Keeping efficient records is essential for building a successful business.