New year, New Business - 10 steps to get started

Seattle District Office  -  Jan. 1, 2020

u s small business administration
New Year, New Business SBA

10 Steps to Start Your Business 

This new year, resolve to be your own boss. The following are the 10 steps to start your new business:

  1. Conduct market research - You have a great idea, but has it already been done? Will it be profitable? Connect with your local library for free access to market research databases. For example, the Seattle Public Library has a program which specializes in helping small business.
  2. Write your business plan - Written plans turn dreams into reality with actionable steps. Get business plan help from the SBA and our resource partners. 
  3. Fund your business - Your business plan will tell you how much capital you need on hand to start. Research the different ways to raise capital and consider an SBA-guaranteed loan.
  4. Pick your business location - Whether selling online or in-person, your business location determines the taxes, zoning laws, and regulations your business will be subject to, so be strategic
  5. Choose a business structure - Choose a business structure that gives you the right balance of legal protections and benefits.
  6. Choose your business name - You’ll want one that reflects your brand and captures your spirit, without duplicating an existing business.
  7. Register your business - Register your business to make it a distinct legal entity. Get more info from the state business offices in Washington or Idaho
  8. Get federal and state tax IDs - You’ll use your employer identification number (EIN) for important steps to start and grow your business, like opening a bank account and paying taxes. It’s like a social security number for your business. 
  9. Apply for licenses and permits - Most small businesses need a combination of licenses and permits from both federal and state agencies. 
  10. Open a business bank account - A small business checking account can help you handle legal, tax, and day-to-day issues. It's essential to keep business and personal finances separate to maintain certain legal entities such as an LLC.

How can the SBA help you start your business? Your local SBA office can refer you to our resource partner network for free, expert business advising. You can also visit our website for on-demand business plan courses and checklists:

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