Creating a business identity is an essential task to open your doors for business, or "hang out your shingle", if you prefer. Here's an orderly and logical sequence of steps you can take to get your home business up and running by creating its identity.
Before You Establish Your Business Identity
These steps will help you get the doors of your home business open. However, before you reach this point, you need to have already:
- Brainstormed your business, have a clear idea of what you will be doing and who your customers are.
- Completed at least an informal or preliminary business plan or a well-thought-out business plan outline.
- Considered the benefits and disadvantages of the available legal forms your business entity could operate under and selected the form of business that is best for you - at least initially: sole proprietorship; partnership;limited liability corporation (LLC); C Corporation; or S Corporation. Most home business entrepreneurs start out as a sole proprietorship, but you need to know what the risks are before you do so.
- Checked any legal requirements or zoning restrictions against operating the home business you want to start in your homeowners' association (if you belong to one), your city or town and your state.
Getting Your Business Identity Established
Once you've done your homework and you're ready to get your home business started, here are 8 steps you can follow and use as a checklist to establish an identity for your home business:
- Brainstorming Your Business Name and Tagline
Brainstorm Your Business Name and Tagline
Your business name and its tagline can create excitement and buzz for your home business and will be an important part of your later marketing efforts.
- Establishing an Address and Phone Numbers for Your Home Business
Completing this step early means that your home address and phone number won't become public record when you do register your business.
- Checking into an Employer ID Number with the IRS
Even if you're not required to have an EIN, getting one is often a good idea. For one thing, it makes it easier to open a bank account in your business name and it will help keep your social security number private.
- Opening a Business Bank Account
Part of having a business identity is to keep your business finances separate from your personal finances. There's just no better way to do that than to open a business checking account.
- Creating Your Business Logo
A good logo goes a long way in establishing your business identity. Your logo should reflect what your business does. It should be unique, eye-catching and easy to identify.
- Ordering Your Business Cards
Since a business card is often your first impression on a prospect, you don't want to jeopardize getting new business because you didn't bother to have your business cards professionally printed.
- Creating and Ordering Your Business Stationery
You can buy stationery or create it yourself. Again, you can use tools like Microsoft Publisher for this purpose, and plenty of design templates are provided to make creating custom stationery easy.
- Establishing an Online Presence for Your Business
Websites serve as a useful form of inexpensive advertising for most businesses. Even the most basic of websites can work well as your online brochure. You may also decide to set up a blog for your home business - either in conjunction with, or instead of, a home business website.
Once You Have a Business Identity
Once you've completed these basic business identity steps, you will have effectively "hung out your shingle" for starting your home business.
You're bound to make adjustments from time to time - that's all part of having your own home business. But a big hurdle will have been cleared and you can begin making and spending money under your business name. In essence, you are giving your home business a "life of its own".