What Do You Need to Start Your Own Business?

The gig economy is real, folks. Americans started over 440,000 businesses last June alone.

If you’re toying with the idea of starting a business, there’s a lot to consider beforehand. Before we get into that, know that your nearest Currency Exchange (CCEA) offers many services for entrepreneurial types:

  • Electronic bill payment
  • Check cashing
  • Income tax preparation
  • Fax and photocopies
  • Notary public
  • Stamps and envelopes

But back to that business idea that’s been percolating in the back of your mind.

Basic Steps to Founding a Small Business

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is a federal agency that provides support to entrepreneurs and small businesses in many ways. Here’s how the SBA breaks down some of the basics for starting your own business.

  1. Choose a Market and Research it. 

Start by gathering information about potential customers and businesses in your area. That information will help you determine whether your idea has a competitive advantage in your industry. An idea with potential will be vital to getting your idea off the ground.

This step can also help dictate where to launch your business. Even if it’s online, the location may affect your taxes, legal requirements and other factors.

  1. Create a Business Plan.

This step may sound intimidating, but it’s really just a detailed outline of how you expect to build, run, and grow your new business. It will be necessary if you hope to convince people to partner with you. Particularly when it comes to asking for loans, a solid and well-researched business plan is a must-have.

During this phase, you can start considering what kind of structure your business will have. Whether you’re a sole proprietor or a limited liability corporation (LLC), each structure comes with advantages and disadvantages – and you’ll want to know what they are from the start.

  1. Figure Out Your Funding.

Do you know how much money you’ll need to launch your business? Many people must raise or borrow capital in order to pursue their professional dreams. The SBA is just one entity that helps entrepreneurs find the capital they need. Once you have a source of capital, CCEA can provide financial services to keep your funds in order (see below). We are also a source of savvy budgeting advice for anyone trying to stay in the black.

  1. Select a Name.

“What’s in a name?”, William Shakespeare famously asked. A lot, if you’re a business. The name sets the tone and can hint at the value you provide. As fun as this step may sound, it’s easier said than done. Brainstorm words and phrases that reflect your brand and convey its essence. And if you find one you like, make sure it isn’t already taken before getting too attached to it!

  1. Talk to People Who Have Started Similar Companies in Illinois.

Not every path to entrepreneurship looks the same. If you’re serious about starting a business, you may have to take additional steps, such as applying for licenses or permits. This is why networking is such an important part of the process. Talk to as many helpful people as you can, starting with folks you admire in your area of interest. You’ll learn everything from how to get an employer identification number (EIN) to the cost of goods necessary for setting up shop.

  1. Figure Out How to Store and Handle Your Funds.

Nothing will feel more exciting than receiving that first payment for a product or service you just started selling. That said, do yourself a favor and figure out where you’re going to store your funds and how to cash those first checks!

Here are some financial issues to consider before those benjamins start to roll in:

  1. Whether to open a business bank account, a process that generally requires certain registrations and paperwork.
  2. Using Business Check Cashing. This lets you get your cash on the spot – no bank to make you wait until the funds clear.
  3. Getting a Prepaid Business Debit Card. These are often helpful for business owners who need to manage their spending (or an employee’s) but don’t yet qualify for a business credit card.

Once things do get off the ground, it’s important to keep your finances and other assets as organized as possible. Talk to a financial expert who can advise you on keeping your records in order. While you’re at it, develop an expense-tracking system and prepare to keep detailed records of all your business expenses. All this planning will give you a much bigger chance of succeeding.

CCEAs are happy to support our local entrepreneurs. We can cash just about any type of check and help get your vendors paid on the spot. Stop by and check out what else we offer!

A woman holding an "open" sign.

With over 350 locations, many open nights, weekends, and holidays (and several stores with 24/7 availability), you can rest easy knowing your financial needs can be taken care of when you need them most. We’re in the heart of every community. Don’t believe us? See for yourself.