Starting a business is one of the most-exciting endeavors you can undertake. When that business is home-based, it’s even better. Thanks to updated methods at all levels, it’s even possible to handle all of your startup needs without leaving your house. From registering the business and getting permits to acquiring supplies, it can all be done online or through the mail.
Here are some of the most common steps for starting up a business:
Permits, Licenses and a Bank Account
Which permits are needed depend on your location and business type. To find out what will likely be needed for your business, try using the SBA’s tool. Just put in your ZIP code and business type, and it’ll show you a list of all of the likely requirements. Many municipalities, counties and states allow you to apply for permits and register your business name online. You can even get a Federal Employer ID over the Internet. Even so, there are a few localities that still want physical copies of your registration and will often allow you to mail them your application.
The next step is to open up a bank account for your business, which will usually be a checking account. Many banks allow online applications and will mail you your first set of checks. In some areas, you may need to get this account before applying for a business license.
Set Up Relationships With Suppliers and Get Supplies
Most wholesale suppliers should require you to have a tax ID number to do business with them or at least to avoid being charged sales tax. Have this number handy when you apply for your trade lines.
Next, Get all of your stationery and shipping supplies. For everything from mailing labels to business cards, printing online is the way to go. You can even buy shipping boxes online. Depending on your items, you may find that it’s a good idea to get your boxes from the United States Postal Service (USPS). USPS-Flat Rate boxes allow you to send heavy items at rates that you can only get from other shippers if you’re a high volume customer. If you expect to be a high-volume shipper, set up a commercial account online at UPS or FedEx. At high volumes or long distances, their prices will beat the post office.
Insurance and Hiring
Many insurance companies will set up policies online. If you need a large policy, they may even be willing to send an agent to your house to set it up. This can be done right away, or you can do it while you’re waiting for your first shipment of inventory. If you need to hire employees, do so after you have liability insurance in place. The first stage of hiring is as simple as putting in an ad with your phone number. Interviews can be done over the phone.
These are some of the most-common steps for starting up a small business from home. If you’re going to use a business location for your actual operations, you may prefer to have your goods shipped there instead of your house. Either way, there’s no need for you to go on long journeys to accomplish these basic steps.
Written by: Amy Coleman
Amy has carried a briefcase to school since first grade because she wanted to be the boss. She holds an MBA from Wharton and works for a Fortune 500 company where she has her eye on the corner office.