“Business strategy” doesn’t need to be hard to understand.
A simple plan is better than no plan at all. In your basic business plan, try to answer as many of the following questions as you can:
- What does your company do?
- What does your business solve?
- How is your product or service different from what your rivals offer?
- How do your competitors do well?
- How can your business make up for its flaws?
- Target audience?
How are you going to sell to them?
Do you sell online, in a store, from your house, or by going door-to-door?
How much do you have and how much do you need to get started?
What kind of startup funding can you get?
How long until you’re even?
How long until it’s profitable?
You shouldn’t be set in stone about your business plan either. As you learn more and make progress, you should go back to your plan to make changes or make it better.
Choose a way to set up your business
Your taxes and legal protections will depend on the type of company you choose.
Most small business owners use sole proprietorships, general partnerships, limited partnerships, limited liability companies, C corporations, and S corporations.
The Virginia Office of the Clerk’s brief guide to entity types and categories and the SBA’s advice are both useful for learning about how to set up in the state.
Sign up the name
The State Corporate Commission website has the most complete and reliable information on how to set up a corporation and come up with a name, which can be hard.
The SCC must register it, except for those with only one owner. If you have one already, you can use the Business Entity search on the Virginia Secretary of State’s website to make sure the name is available. SCC eFile can be used to register for both LLCs and stock corporations. If you’re not an LLC or stock corporation, you can download, print, and fill out a formation form to give to the Clerk’s Office. If you want faster service, you have to pay more at the Clerk’s Office.
Get your EIN, taxes, and licenses.
Startups in Virginia should get an employer identification number. EINs, which are like Social Security numbers, are needed. Even if your firm doesn’t need an EIN (sole proprietorships with no employees can use the owner’s SSN), you may need one. To open a professional bank account or apply for a loan. After registering, you can apply for an EIN through the IRS or Virginia’s online registration service, Business One Stop.
Use the Small Business and Self-Employed Tax Guide from the IRS to learn about your tax obligations. So, we suggest you talk to a lawyer or accountant.
Virginia does not give all enterprises the same kind of operating license. The Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation is in charge of the boards.That give licenses for different kinds of jobs. To run one that is regulated, you will need licenses and/or education.
Get insurance for your business
Service-based freelancers in Virginia who don’t have any employees or who just opened a new online store may not need company insurance right away. Many people who run small companies need insurance to protect themselves, their workers, and their operations from lawsuits.
Remember that your insurance needs depend on many things. Those with employees must have workers’ compensation, unemployment, and disability insurance. Some types of insurance are general liability, commercial property, professional liability, employment practices liability, and key person insurance.
Get a credit card and a bank account for your operation.
In Virginia, if you want to start a business, you need a special checking account. And credit card to keep your operating money separate from your personal money. This separation is recommended (but may not be required by law, depending on the type of business you have) for a number of reasons. Such as making bookkeeping and tax filing easier. Protecting your personal assets from legal problems. And making it easier to apply for loans.
It’s easy to open a bank account online, but most traditional banks require you to do it in person. If you like your personal bank, you can also open an account there.
If your operation is new and you don’t have enough financial information to share. You can use your own financial statements. When you have a business credit card, you can use it to pay for small, everyday business costs. We recommend that you don’t go over your credit limit and pay your bills on time. Your credit score affects how much of a business loan you can get and how much you can borrow.
Fund startup business
Most new businesses need money to spend before they can make money. As you may already know, it’s hard to get a loan from a bank or online lender. To start a business if you don’t have a good record with money. Because of this, most new businesses use a mix of less traditional ways to get money that don’t have as many rules.
Many business owners start their businesses with money from their own savings, business loans, or loans from family and friends. Crowdfunding may also work for you. This is a way to get small donations from people online who like your business or idea. Others might try a business incubator. Or startup accelerator.Or they might use their networks to find an angel investor or equity investment. The Virginia Small Business Finance Authority gives loans directly to small businesses. And has funding programs that are only available in Virginia.
Lastly, the business credit card we suggested is actually a loan, and because they’re easy to get, they’re a great way to get started. A card with perks like a long 0% intro APR period, cash back, or points will reward your business when you spend.