by Vicki Bowen, CPA
Be Your Own Boss
Owning one’s own business has been part of the American dream for many people, and currently, more and more women are starting their own businesses. In fact, between 1997 and 2006, businesses owned by women grew at nearly twice the national average of all firms.
So, what should you consider before starting your own business?
First, do your homework and research the type of business you want. If you have a business that you enjoy or that you feel passionate about, you are more likely to succeed. Always research the location, the availability of materials needed and the workforce available. What about market research? Is there a need for your particular product or service? How much capital will you need? Will the funds be available?
After you have established that your business is feasible, hash out the details and write a business plan. What kind of legal structure will work best for you? What business licenses and permits will you need? Obtain a tax identification number and register for state and local taxes. Locate suppliers. Plan for the market you will reach—how will you advertise? In these areas, three key professionals can be essential—an attorney, an accountant and a banker. Ask around to locate ones that will best fit your needs.
Now, if all of these things seem just too overwhelming, the good news is that there are many resources available to help you and many cater especially to women. Right in our area, we have the Brightbridge Women’s Business Center located in downtown Chattanooga, which offers resources to women to aid with the distinct issues in starting and growing a business. Because the company receives grants from the Small Business Administration and the Southeast Industrial Development Association, most of its services are free. There are also countless websites that relate to this topic, including SBA.gov and WomenBiz.gov. Plus, don’t forget that professional and business associations are excellent ways to network and learn from other business people.
The contents and opinions contained in this article are for informational purposes only. The information is not intended to be a substitute for professional accounting counsel. Always seek the advice of your accountant or other financial planner with any questions you may have regarding your financial goals.