Joe has this interesting hobby where he collects broken items and then turns them into furniture. In 2001 he created a coffee table and a chaise lounge made entirely of surfboards. In 2004 he made a lounge chair out of old skateboards and another in 2007 out of broken hockey sticks. Not only are these comfortable, they are different, hip and unlike anything anyone has ever seen.
In 2009, Bob, a friend of a friend, who runs the pro shop at a local indoor hockey rink suggests he sell them in the shop with a nice price tag attached. After about a month he has 3 more chairs on order. Joe strangely finds himself making weekly rounds to local ice rinks and placing want ads on craigslist to find broken hockey sticks.
Fast forward to early 2011, a sales rep for KOHO sees the chair in the pro shop and loves it. He wants to have one in his office and asks about adding something like this to his regional sales catalog. 2 design patents and about 6,000 hockey sticks later Joe is having a hard time keeping up with the demand. He needs to start a business! How does he do that?
The first key piece to starting a business is writing a solid business plan. In a nutshell, it is a detailed summary of who you are, what you do, marketing strategies, financial plans, competition etc… If you have never done this before there are several excellent resources out there. SCORE and the NJSBDC have chapters in almost every county and are eager to help you get started.
Next is choosing the type of business. Limited Liability Company, Corporation, Sole Proprietorship and partnership are common examples. Based on your size, volume, industry and structure there are so many variables involved that seeking professional help is strongly recommended. Find a trusted accountant, attorney, or seasoned business owner for the best advice. Once you have made your choice, simply register your business with the state or county and obtain a tax ID number from the IRS. These steps may be done right from home on the World Wide Web.
Separating business income/expenses from personal will save hours when tax season arrives. The best way to accomplish this is by opening up a business checking account. First Financial Federal Credit Union does not have a minimum balance requirement or monthly maintenance fee on their business accounts. This is unheard of in the financial services industry!
A Business Checking Account is a required in order to accept payments using a merchant services provider. Providing your customers the ability to pay with their debit or credit cards will result in more sales for your business. They are also less expensive than using Square or Paypal. In the highly competitive merchant services industry it is a very good idea to research the provider prior to signing on with them. If you already have a provider, it may pay to shop around. Many merchant services companies will pay your early termination fee to get you out of your existing contract. As always, contact your local Credit Union to see if they have any trusted professionals that they can refer you to.
For more information about any of First Financial’s business accounts and services, contact Business Development at firstname.lastname@example.org, call 732.312.1421 or simply leave a comment below!