For many Massachussans, owning a business is a dream come true. There are currently over 600,000 small businesses throughout the state making their owners money and employing millions of workers. You can be a business owner too if you’d like.
There are many types of businesses to run in Massachusetts. You can open a restaurant, a delivery service, a marketing firm, or anything else for which you think there is a market. Over time you just might be able to grow your business into something that will fuel your dreams and can keep you in a lifestyle that you’ve always wanted. However, before you get to that point, you will need to take certain steps to make your business a reality. Here are those steps to take before you register your business in Massachusetts.
Make Sure It’s the Right Choice For You
You might think that you want to own your own business, but it’s important to do some soul-searching to make sure that it’s the right choice for you. There is a lot that goes into starting and running a business. It’s not just about getting to launch and then letting everything run on auto-pilot while you rake in the cash.
Owning a business is hard work, and will most likely require a lifestyle change. You will have late nights and early mornings, and there will be ups and downs. Plus, you will have the stress of having to rely on sales and revenue to keep up your income. This can be hard for people who are used to a steady paycheck. Once you’ve decided that you can take the plunge you can move forward.
Develop a Business Plan
Before you launch your business, you need to know what direction you want to take it. A business plan will help guide you along your path. It should be detailed and layout your entire strategy for how your business will be profitable. It should detail how you will source materials, ship products, market your brand, and who you are targeting. Every cost and revenue projection for the first couple of years should be in the plan. This will give you something to guide you as you move forward and also a document that you can provide to funders and lenders to show that your business is viable.
You will need money to get your business off the ground. Many entrepreneurs use their own savings to finance what they need upfront with the plan that they will make it back once the business starts making money. This is fine if you have small expenses, such as a new laptop or some smaller tools and equipment.
Your business may require more funding than you can support with your own cash. In this case, you have several options. For one, you can canvas friends and family to see if any of them would be interested in investing. This can be a great arrangement, but it can also come with some risks. You do not want to ruin a relationship over money.
Both state and federal agencies have grant programs for small businesses. Make sure to look into these to see if you qualify for any. In these cases, you do not have to pay the money back. You mainly have to show that there will be an economic benefit to the community, state, and country. Finally, you can get a business loan. These tend to have favorable interest rates, and while you are required to pay them back, they are forgiving if you are a little slower than planned getting up to speed with your business.
You absolutely need to have Massachusetts business insurance for your company. Even if you are a sole proprietor working out of your home office, you should have your business protected from financial harm. For instance, you could be sued if you have a data breach, or if you or an employee causes someone else to be injured. You will need commercial property insurance to protect your offices or buildings. This includes protecting your equipment in your home office since your personal insurance will not cover business equipment. If you use a vehicle to conduct business, then you may need to add a commercial auto policy.
Find a Location
No matter what kind of business you are starting, you will need a physical location. If you have a brick-and-mortar company, then your location should be easy to access for the public, with the potential to provide some walk-up traffic. If you have a team of employees, then you can take the opportunity to find office space that is central and easy to reach, or that is the most affordable while also meeting all your needs. Lastly, your location may be your own home if you are just going to use your home office. The important thing about your location is that it best suits your purposes, regardless of what they may be.
Do you have any gaps in your knowledge of running a business? Is there anything you are unsure of? If so, there is never going to be a better time to learn something. Take management courses, accounting courses, or workshops to get better at software that you will be using daily. Just make sure that when you are ready to launch that you have all of the skills you need to move forward successfully. The better you are at something, and the faster, the less likely it will be that you need to hire someone to fill that gap.
At this point, you can register for your new business with the state and your local municipality. Once you have registered, you will have tax responsibilities and benefits, and you will have to apply for any applicable licenses and permits. Do not try to avoid getting the necessary permits. You might think you would never get caught, but chances are that you will. If that happens, your business could be sunk before it gets off the ground.
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