More Nitty-Gritty Resources for Launching a Biz, in NYC and Beyond
Get down and get dirty with the resources that help you visualize, formalize and launch your new business. There are many organizations, people, and support services that want to help you succeed. Here are some of the best resources we've compiled.
BUSINESS SUPPORT SERVICES IN NYC
What kind of support are you looking for?
If you need lean, holistic-savvy experts to help you with general startup tasks, or for specific areas of development such as writing a business plan, for-profit fund-raising, marketing, public relations or sales, Laena's posse of business consultant-coaches, lawyers, brokers, and graphic designers can help you. Contact me, and I'll connect you with the experts most relevant to your needs.
There are also free, or mostly free, taxpayer funded city organizations that offer help with starting your business. As you may have heard me say, these are usually staffed by octogenarians who do not have much relevant support for the nitty-gritty needs of a lean, holistic 21st century startup. What are they good for? They often know what city permits or licenses you may need.
WRITING A BUSINESS PLAN
The button below is a formal, legal, traditional business plan. This is the form you'll need if you need equity investment. If you want to start with a simple Lean Canvas, like the one we completed in the workshop, HERE is the link to a google doc template. If you need help writing this plan, there are consultants who can help you for a nominal fee.
ESTIMATING A STARTUP BUDGET
Remember some of the scary stuff we talked about in my workshop? Startup costs can seem daunting and overwhelming, but taking the time to create an accurate startup budget now, really gives your business the best chance of succeeding in the future. It also allows you to evaluate your fundraising needs, and to accurately and honestly structure (or restructure) your first steps in establishing your business.
Startup costs typically fall within two categories: monthly, recurrent costs, and one-time costs. Monthly costs cover expenses that are incurred each month, year, or quarter on a recurring basis (such as insurance, employee salaries, lease payments, utilities). One-time costs are expenses that are incurred only once during the startup period (permits, lawyer fees, LLC fees, computer equipment, consultant fees). Be totally honest and include all the little things, because they add up.
To fill out this spreadsheet, determine the number of months the startup period will cover. Next, enter the applicable costs into their respective cells. The total amounts will automatically populate based on the embedded formulas. Once completed, you will be able to view an itemized list of your business’ startup costs. An example startup budget is also included to help guide you through the process.
CHOOSING AND PROTECTING YOUR NAME
Step 1 of starting a business: choose a unique name to operate under. Unless you operate under your own personal name, you'll need to register your business name to protect it. Do your research and make sure that your name is unique. If it is not, you will most likely receive a cease and desist order from the business whose trademark you are infringing. This is bad, this means you will be legally forced to change your name or pay a licensing fee to that business. While trademarking is not necessary until you are sure your business will be taking in income, you should search the the US Patent and Trademark Office to make sure that your chosen business name is unique and not trademarked. The SBA has more info on this, or contact us if you want an introduction to our helpful, super nice trademark lawyer.
CHOOSING A BUSINESS ENTITY (MAKING IT LEGAL)
Step 2 of doing business: establish a legal business entity. This required in the US if you want to charge money for your products or services (taking in more than $600 annually). This US Small Business Administration website helps outline the basic entities. You can elect to register as a sole proprietor with the local county clerk, form a limited liability company (an LLC) or choose another entity type. Be sure to consult a lawyer to choose the entity type and jurisdiction of formation that is right for you.
GET THE RIGHT PERMITS + LICENSES + INSURANCE
The United States Small Business Administration offers a helpful and newly designed website to guide folks like yourselves who are starting a business through the steps that are necessary. Their permits and licenses section is particularly helpful, as well as their insurance section.
Why work with a broker versus just buying insurance directly from an agency? Because they will tell you what specific types you need, and if you sell products or services you will need them to issue a verified document called a "COI" or "certificate of insurance", which is a document used to provide information on your specific insurance coverage and is required every time you work with a new vendor.
Contact us if you want to be connected (i.e., an introductory email), to reputable brokers.
REGISTER YOUR BUSINESS, MAKE MONEY, TRACK MONEY
The rules that govern how you register your business will differ depending on what type (LLC, S-Corp, C-Corp, etc) of business you choose to legally form. But whatever you do, you need a federal and state tax ID. The SBA offers more info on this. You can register for a federal employee identification number (EIN) here. Tip! Be sure to save the PDF of your EIN letter and email it yourself and maybe your friends too. It's a nightmare to get another copy of it.
You need to use some type of accounting software when you start out. This business software blog, Capterra, has a helpful overview of the different products available.