5 Must-Haves for Starting a Main Street Business

Startups and small businesses have been the silver lining in a year as chaotic and unprecedented as 2020. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many individuals have realized that the time to start a business is now and are embracing their inner entrepreneur by starting a business. While so many of these businesses are based online, through e-commerce sites and platforms like Shopify, others have turned to traditional brick-and-mortar storefront locations, fit for specific offerings and services.

Starting a small business with a physical storefront is entirely different than starting a company that relies solely on its online presence. Beyond finding a building location and leasing the space, a brick-and-mortar storefront needs a few additional items before it can officially open for business on Main Street.

Let’s take a look at the key materials necessary to start a Main Street business.


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Entity formation

Generally, the default entity formation status for entrepreneurs is a sole proprietorship. This is an entity that requires little paperwork and is inexpensive, allowing the owner to be responsible for all aspects of the business. However, the downside to being a sole proprietor is that the owner is held responsible for everything that impacts the business, both good and bad.

Brick-and-mortar storefronts may be privy to more unforeseen circumstances than their online counterparts. Situations can range from sudden lawsuits to natural disaster crises. The best way to protect the business, and its owner, is to incorporate as an entity formation that provides liability protection.

Limited liability companies (LLCs) and corporations are two examples of legal entities that may protect a business and entrepreneur with limited liability. This creates a separation between the business and its owner, ensuring the owner’s assets are not negatively impacted in the fallout.


Related: Which Legal Entities are Best for Main Street Businesses?

Tax ID

Tax IDs are often referred to as employer identification numbers, or EINs. Tax IDs are necessary in order to hire employees, which will be a necessity at some point if you’re planning to open a brick-and-mortar storefront.

What else can this nine-digit number do for your small business?

An EIN is issued to small businesses by the IRS. It helps identify and track employer tax accounts, ensuring that your business is collecting payroll taxes. If you plan to incorporate as the aforementioned LLC or corporation, you’ll need to obtain a tax ID to identify the business. You may also use a tax ID to open a business bank account and establish a business credit profile.

Trademarks

The unique name of your business, its logo and design help identify your company and differentiate it from competing companies. If these trademarks are not registered, however, they run the risk of being plagiarized or infringed upon.

Filing to register a trademark at the federal level ensures that the owner of the business receives exclusive rights to the mark. Remember that prior to filing, you’ll need to conduct a name search through a trademark database. A successful search where your trademark does not match an existing or pending application means you may move forward and fill out a trademark application to register the trademark.


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Registered agent

Brick-and-mortar storefronts receive a great deal of paperwork delivered to their space. Some of this paperwork may be sensitive in nature. Entrepreneurs may prefer to keep these documents confidential, and the best way to go about doing that is to appoint a registered agent (RA) for the business.

A registered agent acts as the official point of contact between your business and the state. They accept paperwork on behalf of the business from county and state agencies. Then, the RA organizes the documents and passes them along to the business owner in a timely, professional manner. This ensures no paperwork falls in between the cracks (which can sometimes happen if an entrepreneur attempts to be their own RA) and helps keep the business in compliance with the state.

Business licenses

Obtaining business licenses (often plural for most establishments) is necessary to ensure your brick-and-mortar storefront may safely operate within a specific city, state and industry.

The types of business licenses and permits that a storefront is required to have varies depending on the aforementioned factors. Companies relating to customer health, like restaurants and nail salons for example, will need health licenses in order to safely operate.

Not sure what other specialty business licenses or permits your company should file for next? Reach out to your local Secretary of State to find out.

The post 5 Must-Haves for Starting a Main Street Business appeared first on StartupNation.

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Best credit card for starting up

Hi community,

What credit card has the best deals on the startuppy stuff, the software, and hardware you need to start a business. Things like AWS costs, Lucidcharts, Trello, GoDaddy, all the way to splurge on Roam that you arent using as much as you thought you would. I am stacking up all the costs on my personal card and I would rather start with a new one. Learning from the 2nd timers?

Cheers, thank you and I hope yall keep building, we need more builders

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Starting a project. Looking for a partner or doing it myself?

I'm tech guy and I work as backend and frontend developer. I'd like to start a small side project which will rely on backend implementation and iOS app (since only iOS allows such feature, Android doesn't yet). It's very small project, it can be done probably within a month.

Backend, obviously, is not an issue, app is. I have following options:

  1. Learn iOS app development. So I need to buy Mac, learn swift and iOS in general, spend months learning it and build ingit
  2. Use React Native to build an app. This might work, but I don't think that react native supports that core feature fully.
  3. Spend time to search for a partner. Not sure really where to find it online

What do you think would be the best option. Personally I'd like to have a partner since it's more motivating and fun to work on a project, there are different points of view, different ideas and skills.

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5 Things Veterans Should Know About Starting a Business

Pursuing a second career after leaving the military can be challenging, which is why a growing number of veterans choose to become entrepreneurs.

A 2018 study by the the Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Advocacy reported that there were over 379,000 veteran-owned employer businesses in the U.S., and overall, 6.8 percent of all employer businesses were majority owned by one or more veterans.

Although veteran-owned businesses are often more successful than the average startup, they still need mentorship, funding and support to take their idea from concept to market.


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If you’re a veteran hoping to start a business, here are five tips to get you started

Find a need and fill it

Developing a business idea is essential, but how do you recognize one?

As you look around your local community, take the time to talk to people to discover unmet needs. What is missing that your community currently wants? What problem can you solve? Once you figure this out, you can determine how to make your idea a reality.

Develop your passion

As a veteran, you possess a unique set of skills that could be translated into a viable business. Many veterans have created product ideas based on their field experience, from energy drinks to performance gear.

Create a business plan

Before you can pitch your idea to investors or apply for a loan from a financial institution, you should draft a business plan. While there’s no specific formula, your plan should include the following components:

  • An executive summary
  • Overview of your company’s goals
  • Market analysis
  • Product or service development
  • Financial projections

Related: This Veteran-Owned Business Brings the Spa to You

Seek advice from experts

There are numerous counseling, mentoring and training programs available for veterans who are seeking to become entrepreneurs. Contact the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at your local community college to locate programs near you.

Some great resources include:

  • U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs: The Department of Veteran Affairs offers numerous resources for post-military life. If you’re an aspiring veteran business owner, check out the Veteran Entrepreneur Portal for step-by-step guidance on financing, training, government contracts and more.
  • Bunker Labs: Bunker Labs is a non-profit organization with chapters across the United States. It enables military veterans and their spouses to take online and in-person educational courses, which teach them how to run a successful business. It’s also an excellent networking resource, as it connects veterans with fellow entrepreneurs and mentors. Listen to this episode of StartupNation Radio, which features the Detroit chapter of Bunker Labs.
  • SBA’s Office of Veteran Business Development: The Small Business Administration’s Office of Veteran Business Development is an excellent resource that offers programs specifically to help veterans succeed in business. It’s one of the first stops you should make on your road to entrepreneurship.
  • VetFran: Opening a franchise is a popular way for military veterans to become entrepreneurs. Veterans make up only 7 percent of the population, but 14 percent of all American franchises. VetFran is a network of 650 suppliers and International Franchise Association members who provide discounts to veterans on their initial franchise fees and supplies. The organization also offers a Veteran Toolkit to help vets determine what franchise might be right for them.
  • VetToCEO: VetToCEO offers a free online course to help veterans prepare for the challenges of owning and operating a business. The 7-week program helps veterans create a business model and develop a funding strategy, and it enables them to collaborate with other veterans. This is not only a great way to get your feet wet as an entrepreneur, but also a perfect opportunity to network with fellow veterans.
  • V-WISE: Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE) is an entrepreneurship training program for female service members. Operated by Syracuse University, the SBA partially funds it. The V-WISE program includes a 15-day online course, a 3-day training in-person event, and continued mentoring.
  • SCORE: SCORE is the nation’s largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors. Find your local chapter here, and review these excellent resources for veteran entrepreneurs.

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Apply for veteran business financing

Military veterans have access to various financing options to help kickstart a business. Your veteran status can open many doors for finding loans with specialty lenders, credit unions and banks. Your status also enables you to take advantage of investment programs run and operated by former military members.

Government-backed loans provide additional security to lenders, so your loan application is more likely to be approved.

  • SBA’s Microloan Program: The SBA’s Microloan Program provides startups with loans up to $ 35,000. In addition, the SBA 7(a) Express Loan Program grants loans up to $ 350,000 within 36 hours.
  • StreetShares: Veteran-run financial solutions provider, StreetShares in partnership with JP Morgan Chase, caters specifically to veteran business owners. As a military entrepreneur, you can apply for loans, lines of credit, contract financing, and other programs to fund your venture’s financial needs.
  • Hivers & Strivers: Hivers & Strivers investment group is founded and run by graduates of U.S. Military Academies and provides financial support to startups. A typical Hiver and Strivers investment is $ 250,000 to $ 1,000,000.

Final thoughts

Military veterans bring a wealth of life experience to entrepreneurship. That doesn’t mean they don’t require some help along the way from mentors, exclusive loan access, marketing strategies and network development opportunities.

If you are a veteran seeking a new career as an entrepreneur, take advantage of the organizations that make entry into the world of entrepreneurship a reality for those who have served our country.

The post 5 Things Veterans Should Know About Starting a Business appeared first on StartupNation.

StartupNation

Starting up an auto parts store (online retail)

Hello everybody.

I am interested in starting my own auto parts online store. I was wondering what do I need to know in order to start?

What should be budget for the start? I am planning to first of course work alone.

I plan on holding my own stock and sell locally and online within the city. How much space would be recommended for holding stock?

Any response will be highly appreciated.

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

Starting Completely New, Having that Stupid Nervous Moment

Sold my company for a bit less than I could have, but wanted a clean break so that I wasn't held back by emotions of what I've built up for these last several years, all the work and passion and now it's gone.

Now I'm starting a new business, well within my skillset but I'll be getting paid differently from anything I've really done in the last two decades. I'm used to working very hard and very smart, and now I'm much older and I'll mostly only be working smart… hard work won't really be a crutch for me anymore during the hard times.

Super confident but also having that moment of extreme anxiousness because there's no turning back now!!! Maybe I'm just exhausted and I'll feel better after sleep, if I can get any….

Not used to these feelings of self-doubt. Advice will be greatly appreciated!

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

Starting youth American football training classes

Hello all! Been looking into starting up some outdoor (or indoor) youth football training classes. Experience in the sport I have no problem with, but unsure as to what I would need to start legally. Is liability insurance a must, or would a waiver be okay? What if the child gets injured on a town field, could those parents turn around and sue the town?

This may go town by town or city by city in regards to field permissions, etc., but I was wondering if anyone has any experience in doing anything similar and how you got it off the ground?

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

8 Things Entrepreneurs Often Overlook When Starting a Business

Not everyone has the drive to start their own business. Even deciding to press ahead and take that risk is a massive first step, and one to be applauded. We need that entrepreneurial spirit and mindset in the world in order for innovative new businesses to emerge.

However, it’s important to take things slowly and wisely. You need to consider all of the steps that need to be taken to open a business. You also need to be mindful of areas where you might fall.

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 20 percent of businesses fail in their first year, with half of all small businesses failing in their fifth year. To ensure this doesn’t happen to you, you must consider your business from all angles.


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Protect yourself, your vision and your business by addressing these aspects that many entrepreneurs overlook:

  1. Sustainability

Sustainability is an issue that’s become increasingly important to employees and the general public. Employees want to work for environmentally-conscious businesses, and people want to support sustainable organizations. Have you considered how you will make your business more environmentally-friendly? How sustainable is your business? Are you more sustainable than your competitors?

There are several factors you can consider in terms of business sustainability. Make this a priority from the very start, and this will demonstrate your commitment. 

  1. Company values 

You have probably heard about this already, but do you truly understand the importance of clearly-defined company values? Your company values will dictate your company culture, and they will determine how you hire, fire, promote and reward.

Your company values will influence every business decision you make from start to finish. Are you a creative, dynamic business that prioritizes flexibility and autonomy? Are you going to make entrepreneurship and innovation core company values, giving employees time to explore and build new ideas that might expand the company?

Take the time to draft a short and clear list of company values. Make sure your future employees are aware of these values from the moment they are interviewed. Put the list on your website, on your office walls, and be sure to discuss them often — otherwise they will likely be forgotten, and your company might lose its way.


Related: 9 Highly Successful Entrepreneurs Reveal the Biggest Startup Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

  1. Having a clear company purpose

A clear company purpose is so important that some have described it as the key to employee retention. It’s been shown that purpose-driven companies grow and evolve faster than companies with no clearly-defined purpose. Purpose helps new businesses to focus, allows them to set long-term business strategies, and creates a competitive edge. Not to mention, employees are more attracted to companies with a strong sense of purpose. They want their time at work to mean something, and they want to be contributing to something worthwhile that’s bigger than themselves. Simply working 9 to 5 with no clear purpose isn’t going to fulfill anyone for very long.

  1. How performance will be managed 

Before you hire your first employee, you should consider your approach to performance management. Each performance management system is different, and how it is structured and how reviews are carried out will very much depend on your company values and beliefs. Companies are generally moving away from more structured, yearly performance appraisals and are moving toward more flexible, agile performance discussions. These are more informal and forward-thinking than annual appraisals, and they tend to be more productive.

Increasingly, the belief is that managers should take more of a coaching approach to performance management. Instead of ‘“managing performance,” true leaders should be supporting, encouraging and guiding employees to succeed through coaching discussions. You should consider what approach works best for you and your company’s culture.

  1. Attitude to flexibility

Over recent years, we’ve come to realize the benefits of flexibility for businesses, employees and productivity. This has come to the fore in 2020, with many businesses being forced to work remotely for months. Some companies have had to scramble to put processes in place to ensure performance remains high, but other companies were all set, as they already had flexible working options in place for employees, including the option to work remotely full- or part-time.

There are different types of flexible work. Some companies allow employees to choose their own working hours, within reason. Others allow their employees to work remotely. Some companies have even taken a trusting approach to flexible working, which involves not tracking employee hours at all. Companies that choose to do this decide to track objectives and goal completion instead, seeing this as a more accurate gauge of employee performance.

It’s best to consider your approach to flexible working up-front with the understanding that, in the years to come, flexible working is likely to become more and more commonplace. Companies that choose to ignore flexible working will likely lose out to more forward-thinking competitors. 

  1. A quality website

More than ever, digital presence matters. Clients and customers need to be able to find your business online. If you’re not on page one of the Search Engine Results Page for your desired search terms, it’s likely you won’t be found — and if you are, you probably won’t be regarded as seriously as your competitors if your website isn’t up-to-date.

A good website is something you should certainly invest in. You want to make sure you come across as professional, experienced and knowledgeable. You also need to put careful thought into what language and keywords you use in your copy. Research what your target customer or client is likely to type into Google, and put your focus there.


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  1. A regularly-updated, relevant blog

While we’re discussing websites, remember the importance of regularly updated, relevant and high-quality content. So many businesses make the mistake of not updating their blogs regularly. Even more post content that isn’t really of interest to their target audience. A blog on what you did on your last staff outing might be of interest to you, but it’s not going to convert anyone.

Take the time to create a content calendar. Assign this responsibility to someone on your editorial or marketing team, allocate time to write a weekly comprehensive blog, and you’ll be surprised at how it grows over time.

  1. Giving back

In the early days, you should consider how you are going to give back, whether it’s to your local community or a certain cause. Giving back is a great way of growing brand awareness. It also shows your employees and your community that you are dedicated to building a corporate social responsibility — it’s not all about the bottom line.

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Blue Tulip Awards ‘generation 2’ is faster, fully digital, driven by purpose and starting now

Blue Tulip Awards Generation 2

Last year was a special edition of the Blue Tulip Awards. After a year of meetings, talks and in-person get-togethers, the finals had to move online due to the sudden COVID-19 outbreak. This year, the competition will be digital from the start: ‘generation 2’ kicks off online, looking for groundbreaking innovations in the themes of Food & Water and Education & Employment. Registration opened today.

‘Greater than ever need for impactful innovation’

“We believe that innovation never stops. New and brilliant ideas often originate in challenging times,” says Frank Rennings. As the Innovation Director at Accenture Netherlands, he is actively involved in the Blue Tulip Awards‘ search for innovation. “Today’s challenges are unprecedented and that the need for impactful innovation is greater than ever.”

“So even though we would have loved to meet our innovators, our juries, our clients and guests in-person to explore and celebrate innovation, I have no doubt that we will find amazing innovations and innovators in the digital program setup. This confidence builds upon the great feedback we received after the all-digital Blue Tulip Awards finals in June 2020.”

Faster, fully digital and driven by purpose

Last year, COVID-19 forced The Blue Tulip Awards to drop their physical event and successfully move to an online set-up. For this new generation, Accenture fully embraces the digital approach and the power of change to create unique and extraordinary value for our clients, people and communities, says Rennings: “To further improve the Blue Tulip Awards program, we took faster time to value, digital-first, and full alignment with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals as our guiding principles.” 

Faster time to value means the Blue Tulip Awards are no longer a year-long event. Instead, they split the program in three-month competitions, called ‘generations’. Each generation will feature 50 innovations in two different themes to battle for the coveted award. After last years’ success, the organisation has decided to go all-digital, all the way. The programme is designed so that innovators can extract value and compete at a distance, without compromising each others’ wellbeing.

Last but not least, the themes have changed a bit compared to the previous year, to fit in with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and Accenture’s Strategy 2025. The judges will be looking for responsible leaders who drive ground-breaking transformations and at the same time place sustainability, equality and security at the core of their innovation.

Food & Water, Education & Employment

“One of the changes in the Blue Tulip Awards program that I am excited about is the increased focus on each theme,” says Rennings. “Shorter timelines and more focus lead to a more concentrated effort to find and celebrate the best startups and innovations. Especially now, collaboration is crucial to create impactful change. Working together with our partners, our clients and the broader ecosystem we are here to enable and accelerate innovations that will make a difference.”

After the year-long ‘first generation’ Blue Tulip Awards in which innovations would simultaneously compete in eight different themes, the second generation is looking for innovation in the themes of Food & Water and Education & Employment. In both, the theme jury’s select 50 innovators for a three month-programme in which they join interactive workshops, pitch their ideas to our expert jury and participate in a hosted talk show on the important trends within their theme. The ultimate prize is a value package from our partners, tailored to the winners’ needs.

Blue Tulip Awards generation 2: registration open now

Registration for generation 2 of the Blue Tulip Awards is open, starting today. So if you have the solution for the answer to any of the complex questions surrounding Food & Water in the world, or know how to solve pressing problems surrounding Education & Employment, this is your chance. 

Registration closes on December 11th. The competition will run through January until March next year, after which it is time to move on to generation 3 (in March) and generation 4 (in September), offering new themes that require new innovations.

“The next generation of successful innovations will be the ones who embrace the change,” declares Rennings. “At Accenture, we have full faith in the combination of the promise of technology and human ingenuity. I can’t wait to see and meet the inspiring examples in the Blue Tulip Awards participants.” So if you want to part of the change, go ahead and register your innovation at the Blue Tulip Awards now.

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