Starting a business is the ultimate fulfillment of the American Dream. It can be exciting and rewarding. However, it can also bring much frustration and hardship.
Therefore, any new business endeavor should involve considerable planning, research, and attention to detail. You do not need to be highly educated or have a business degree to be a successful business owner. It is wise to take advantage of free seminars and training programs that can help you avoid many of the common mistakes made by new business owners.
Here are some of the questions you should ask. You can either answer them yourself or seek out a professional to help guide you to the best answer for your particular business.
1) What is the most appropriate way to structure my enterprise?
LLC, LLP, sole proprietorship, general partnership, S-corp., C-corp., etc.
2) Have I formulated an Executive Summary?
The executive summary is an overview of a business plan that explains among other things: what goods or services my business will provide; how you will provide it; what makes my business unique; and ultimately what will make my business profitable.
3) Have you written or begun to write your business plan: the complete blueprint of how you will operate, finance, and grow your business?
4) Have you registered your business name?
There is no central agency for registering all types of businesses. Depending on the legal structure of your business and the kinds of goods or services you offer, different permits, licensing, and/or registrations may be required.
5) Have you registered for a federal Employer Identification Number (EIN)?
Go to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Web site at www.irs.gov for more information.
6) Have you registered with the Michigan Department of Treasury for payment of state taxes? Contact www.michigan.gov/treasury for more information.
7) Have you paid all City of Detroit taxes and other City financial obligations?
8) Have you applied for certification or verification as a Detroit-based, Detroit-headquartered, or Detroit-resident business?
9) Have you considered any environmental regulations that may apply to your business?
10) Will your business location be consistent with local zoning ordinances?
11) Have arrangements been made for utility services?
12) Is your business adequately insured and/or bonded?
13) Do you have enough capital to start my business? If not, have you explored the different ways you can finance your business?