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Starting A Business: First Steps

Starting a business can seem intimidating, but it’s often much less fearsome than people imagine. Often, lack of knowledge rather than of ability or passion holds people back from becoming entrepreneurs or business owners. It starts with an idea to provide a product or service others would want. But investing some time into learning how entrepreneurship works is also a wise first step.

Converting Knowledge Into A Business

Everyone has something they are good at and that they find easy to do. This is often an activity that a person enjoys doing. Converting that into a business means that a budding entrepreneur is more likely to persevere and overcome the challenges involved in building their own business.

This could be anything. Someone who works well with information technology could launch their own website design business or even website-flipping, in which one buys an existing website, redesigns it, and resells it.

Others who are good with words could create their own writing, blogging, social media or copywriting business. Still others could start a service-based business, such as virtual assisting or coordinating errands.

Learning How Others Do It

After a person decides what to build a new business around, they can learn how to start up from other successful entrepreneurs.

One way to do this is by reading books or watching videos created by other businesspeople to help new entrepreneurs get started. Another way is to talk with other entrepreneurs and learn how they got started. Beginning entrepreneurs can also work for other entrepreneurs. They could join local Chambers of Commerce and business associations, where they can interact with successful business owners regularly.

Keep The Risks Low At First

Perhaps the best way to get started as an entrepreneur is to begin with a low-risk business. These can usually be run from home and have minimal start-up costs. Writing, coding and web design, and service businesses are all good potential start-ups as they are all low-risk businesses.

The Business Legalities

Starting a business doesn’t require a lot of paperwork, especially when starting out on one’s own. The vast majority of start-up businesses are sole proprietorships. They don’t cost much to register with the government, and the regulations governing them are limited.

A sole proprietor makes the decisions and keeps any profits the business makes. However, the owner must pay any debts the business incurs, and creditors may take and sell the entrepreneur’s personal assets to pay off a debt. The entrepreneur’s taxes could go up, too. Any income from the business is taxed at the owner’s personal rate, and a business that makes a lot of income for its owner could push them into a higher tax bracket.

Some people work with others as business partners. They usually form a general partnership, in which each person shares the partnership’s profits and is jointly liable for the partnership’s debt. However, creditors may take each partner’s personal assets to pay off debts. If a partner makes poor business decisions that put the partnership into debt, the other partner is still responsible for paying off that debt.

Few entrepreneurs will begin by setting up a corporation, which is a legal entity that is separate from its owners. Liability for debts is limited, and personal assets cannot be used to pay off the corporation’s debts. However, corporations are expensive to create and are closely regulated by the government. Most start-up businesses do not need to go to this expense, as they are small and often begin while the owner is still working at another job.

Whatever the type or size of business, consulting with an experienced business lawyer can go a long way in getting started on the right legal footing.

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