So, you have an idea that you want to turn into a business. The new year is a great time to make your passion project into a full-time reality. While there are countless resources available to help you outline your business plan, we’ve put together a guide for everything you need to know as you get started in this exciting and rewarding venture – from determining your business structure to establishing your brand and connecting with local resource groups.
Keep on reading for a quick guide informed by the Tennessee Department of Revenue, that’ll make the steps after establishing your business plan a breeze.
- Getting Started: Setting a Business Name, Determining Your Business Structure & Registering Your Business
The first step is going to be setting up a business name and address. The name you select should be distinguishable from any other entity in Tennessee, you can reference here to see if your preferred name is available.
The second step is deciding on the legal structure for your business—sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, corporation, etc. Each structure has different implications for taxes, liability, and management. You must define your business entity before registering your business name.
Here’s a quick hack from Forbes Advisor:
- If you’re the sole owner of the business, you might run a sole proprietorship or a single-member LLC. You don’t have to register a sole proprietorship. If you want legal and financial separation from your business, you can register an LLC.
- If you’re a small business with multiple owners, you could register for a limited partnership (LP), limited liability partnership (LLP) or an LLC. LLPs are most common for licensed professionals, such as attorneys or accountants.
- For a more complex business, you’ll likely choose between an LLC versus a corporation. A corporation is usually necessary if you want to bring on investors, and it might make it easier to sell the company in the future.
With that, you’re ready to register your business with the Tennessee Secretary of State, if you need any support with obtaining the necessary licenses and permits required you can work with a local Registered Agent.
- Getting Organized: Setting Up Operations, Financials & Insurance
Now that you’ve registered your business, you want to make sure that the back-end operations set you up for success. Once your business is registered you can apply for an EIN, employer identification number, which you’ll use when opening financial accounts, filing taxes, W-9 forms and other items. You can register online with the Tennessee Department of Revenue.
Next, consider opening a business bank account and setting up an accounting system to track income, expenses, and taxes. Determining how you’ll finance your business whether through personal savings, loans, investors, or crowdfunding, is crucial.
Lastly, while it depends on your business structure, consider referencing the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development to make sure you have any business or employee insurance needed.
- Getting Ready to Go to Market: Building Your Brand, Your Online Presence & Launching Your Business
Congratulations, your business is now official! It’s time to get one step closer to bringing your passion project and idea to reality by building your brand. Having a strong brand identity, including a memorable business name, logo, and consistent messaging that resonates with your target audience is key in today’s digital world. If you don’t know where to start, Canva is an intuitive and easy to use platform that can help you determine your brand guidelines and help you visualize your business.
To help you establish your presence, determine what your strategy is and define if you need to hire support to help market your business. Given the online reach at your fingertips, it’s imperative that you consider creating a website and utilizing social media platforms to reach and engage with your audience. Once everything is in place, you’ll be ready to launch your business, implement your sales and marketing strategies to create awareness and attract customers.
Starting a business requires dedication, resilience, and continuous learning. It’s important to stay adaptable, be willing to pivot if necessary. Most importantly, remember that Nashville has local various resources available in the area:
- Nashville Chamber of Commerce: support, networking opportunities, and resources for businesses.
- Nashville Entrepreneurship Center (EC): mentorship and programs aimed at helping startups and entrepreneurs
- LaunchTN: access to capital, mentors, and connections.
For additional networking opportuning in Nashville, visit the Ampersand Studios &Events calendar to register for upcoming programming events and workshops. And for the new business owner or entrepreneur looking for a space to set-up shop, connect with us to redeem your complimentary day pass to experience working in our creative space.
After all, at Ampersand Studios, we understand the founder story. That’s why in addition to housing a space that’s designed to help you create, we also want to help get you there faster. Ask us about our &Grow program to learn how our model empowers us to put time and resources into your business.