Starting a new business can be an exciting adventure. For once, it’s your turn to be the boss and tell other people what to do. But as you have undoubtedly noticed, creating a business comes with A LOT of work and an overwhelming amount of red tape! You’ve got to create a business plan, get the funding, and find a place to set up a home base. And that’s not even considering all the legal mumbo jumbo, insurance, and everyone’s personal favorite — TAXES. If you’re still here, there’s good news. We’ve gathered some of the top tips and resources to help you start a business in 2020. Let’s dive in!
Laws, laws, laws
You can’t just go and open up your own business and do what you want (I know, bummer, right?). You have to make sure your business follows all local, state, and federal laws. And don’t worry, there are only about 1,000+ laws that will apply to your business. It’s always a good idea to talk to a business lawyer as you set up your start-up. The last thing you want to do is get dinged and be out of business before you even get started.
In California, one of the new laws you want to pay attention to is CCPA, also known as the California Consumer Privacy Act. This law, which went into place on January 1, 2020, regulates how much access consumers have to their online data. If you haven’t heard about it, read up on it now. It will affect you if you have a website (which you absolutely need if you want to have any traffic — see below). Beyond online laws, you’ll need to know about taxes, payroll, and all that fun stuff. Make sure to stay up to date and ensure that you’re following proper regulations by ensuring you’re keeping up with California State business regulations to make sure you’re in the clear.
Know how to get attention — Marketing
Far too many new business owners open up shop and then wonder why they’re not making any money. There can be a variety of reasons, but among the top — marketing. How will people find you and give you business if they don’t know you exist? In today’s marketplace, you have to have an online presence. If you’re on social media — even better.
When you’re first getting started, a lot of the marketing can be done in-house (i.e. YOU). You don’t need to be an expert, you just need to know why marketing is important and what you can do to increase your reach (how many people see you). Things you can start with include:
- A webpage
- A Facebook page
- A basic knowledge of SEO (how search engines work)
The more you grow, the more you will need to continue to focus on this area. Once you start generating a reliable revenue, then it’s definitely a good idea to hire someone who really knows what they are doing.
Bills, bills, bills: Expenses
Who knew it could be so painful to write a check — scratch that, initiate an online charge? Expenses can add up (very) quickly. You don’t want to go into your business blind. Do an accounting of what your actual expenses will be. It’s always a good idea to overestimate to give yourself a little wiggle room. Every business will have different expenses but customary costs may include:
- Technology (computers, phones, internet, supplies)
- Subscription services (payroll, hr, office suite)
Don’t forget the taxman
Ah, yes. You can’t forget to pay the government. You’ll get a whole new level of appreciation on why people hate April 15. The good news is, those expenses we talked about — a lot of them are tax-deductible. The bad news is, to get these deductions, you need to record EVERYTHING. Bought a new computer? That’s deductible. A new printer? Keep the receipt. You can deduct a lot of your recurring and one-time costs.
You’re also going to need to figure out how taxes work when it comes to paying yourself (and any employees) and if you have a physical building, you’ll have property taxes as well. Taxes are one area you really want to bring in a professional. Mistakes here can be costly.
Protect yourself and your business: Insurance
Starting a business can be stressful. There’s so much that’s out of your control. But there is one thing you can control — insurance. As a new business owner, you NEED commercial insurance. Insurance can make sure you’re covered when it comes to damage, vehicles, and even lawsuits.
When you purchase insurance, it’s important to have the right coverage. At Alex Rue Insurance Agency, we’ll explain all your options and make sure you’re completely covered. Plus, as an extra bonus, The Rue Crew might throw in some corny jokes for free! We kid (maybe). But seriously, you want an insurance broker that will make the experience easy and fun.
Ready to get started? We’re ready to help. Give us a call at (916) 572-9815 or visit us online to start a quote.