It starts with a vision. For many, 2020 was a year we would all like to forget. History books should go straight from 2019 to 2021. As difficult as 2020 may have seemed, there were a few wins as well. People were able to turn their passions into thriving businesses. Current business owners were able to pivot and create new experiences for customers. Local businesses got tremendous support from their communities.
In an episode of our Get Beyond Money podcast, we highlighted Mitch’s Downtown, a local bagel shop in the heart of the business center of Downtown Fort Lauderdale. Adam Shidlofsky, co-founder of Mitch's Westside Bagels, speaks about his vision and how 2020 changed the trajectory of his life. From Wall Street to Main Street, Fort Lauderdale, Shidlofsky saw an opportunity to turn a traditional bagel shop into the local breakfast emporium of South Florida. Shidlofsky, also known as "Bagels," shares his story on how it all happened.
How does one become a successful Entrepreneur? You may already be listening to the vast number of business owners on Clubhouse or following successful business owners on social media. These individuals are constantly providing insider content on how to get your ideas off to a great start. You don't need to follow the Richard Bransons', Elon Musks’ or Jeff Besos’ of the world to get useful information. As Shidlofsky mentioned, following other successful small business owners can help you realize your dream and potential. You will need to ask yourself one important question. What will make your business stand out?
Creating SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely) goals is a great way to get you started and help you stay motivated. Of course, funding is also fundamental. It could also be helpful to gain support by joining various groups of like-minded individuals, which will help you achieve the confidence to make take the first step towards opening your own business. Local chambers of commerce are also a valuable resource. Many chambers of commerce also have a "Young Professional Group" and small business opportunities you could tap into.
What are the steps for starting your own local business? According to the Small Business Administration, when starting your own small business, you should follow these 10 steps:
Conduct Market Research
Research is the beginning of a successful business venture. It will reveal your competition and the areas of opportunity. This could also mean gaining a competitive edge over the competition. When doing your research, remember to keep the search local to your region or even your city.
Write a Business Plan
While you are formulating your ideas, creating a business plan will help you gather all the information you need in one document. When looking to gain funding or capital for your local business, lenders want to see that you have specific goals in mind, you have done your research, and you understand what is needed to run a successful business in your community. It's the building blocks - the structure, development, and growth of your business.
Funding your Business
Are you able to start your business with your own money? If you are, then you are a step ahead of most. Usually, you will need to raise funds or borrow money from a lender. If you are looking to borrow the money, make sure the lender is reputable. Do your research and ask questions. Check with local lenders who understand your community’s needs, like your local credit union. Other opportunities such as grants may also be available.
Location, it’s about where you are
Depending on the type of business you want to open, location is vital. It is best to work with a reputable local commercial real estate agent who understands the market and your business needs. Remember that location will also affect the amount of money needed to sustainably fund your business.
Choosing a Business Structure
The legal stuff. Are you looking to open a Corporation (Corp)? Maybe a Limited Liability Company (LLC)? What do these terms even mean? This can get tricky. Depending on how you register your company, you may be financially responsible for it at all times. Always check with an accountant and an attorney to understand your legal requirements before you register your business. The IRS also provides valuable information on business structures.
Naming your Business
Naming your business is exciting. You may have already decided on a name or have a few to choose from. Whichever the case, keep in mind that the name should capture the essence of your business and help people know what your business is about. Remember to research if the name is being used elsewhere. Researching the name will help prevent marketing and legal issues down the road.
Registering your Business
You have a name, you have the structure, and you have your business plan. Now it gets real, real legal, that is. Registering your business with local, state, and federal government means you are official.
Getting Tax IDs
Uncle Sam is clever when it comes to money. Once you are in business, you will have to file taxes. You will definitely want to consult with an accountant to understand the filing process. The accountant can also explain which items can be claimed for your business so that you can get some of the money back
License and Permits
You would think registering your business is enough, but there is still another step. To do business, especially locally, you may need to acquire a license or permit. These will vary based on industry, state, and location, among other factors. Checking with an attorney or some form of legal entity is highly recommended.
Opening a Business Account
As you acquire goods and materials to establish your business, it would be wise to have all money related to your business in one central location. This will not only help you stay financially organized but will be extremely helpful when it comes to taxes.
At Tropical Financial Credit Union, we have experts in our business department who are here to help you find the ideal business checking account and financing for your business needs.
Opening your own business is definitely a huge step. Being able to call yourself a business owner? Priceless. We want to help you get beyond money and moving in the right direction.