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Your 12 Step Guide to Starting a Small Business | Step 3

Let’s Talk Dollas and Cents For Small Business Planning

By now, you should have a pretty solid foundation for starting your small business. In step 1, we’ve faced the harsh realities of starting a small business and in step 2, we created a business plan. Now, we’re going to talk about what you NEED in order to start this small business you’ve been so diligently planning.

small business planning for needs 

Step 3What Do I Need to Start My Small Business

Listing out EVERYTHING you need to start your small business can seem overwhelming and damn near impossible. So to keep you from turnin’ cray cray we are going to break it on down for ya. We’re going to categorize your needs into 3 groups: the basics, the assets, and the expenses.

Because we’re so predictable, we’ll start with the basics. This list is pretty common, not to mention, essential, for every small business, no matter the industry:

  • Need # 1 small business name and brand/logo registration. Speaking of needs, you NEED to become familiar with the U.S. Small Business Administration website! Here you can find out how and where to register your small business.  
  • Need # 2 business licenses & permits. Depending on your type of business will dictate whether you need to apply for licenses and permits with both the federal and state government or just your state. Check out this article on the SBA website.  See, I told you. Just bookmark it now!
  • Need # 3 Tax ID number. Wanna make it rain?! Unless you are willing to work for food, or barter (which is a topic worthy of its own blog post) you’ll need to make sure you can get paid! The IRS website will help you get an EIN number.  
  • Need # 4 IP (intellectual property) registration. Of course, this step is only necessary in certain situations. If you think you have a product or process that needs a patent, or maybe an awesome one-liner that you wanna slap a trademark on, check out the United States Patent & Trademark Office. 
  • Need # 5 business cards. We and pretty much everyone else has heard of Vistaprint . So start thinking about an ultra hip, uber fancy design and get to ‘fakin’ it til you make it’. Trust us, it totally works! Also check out 4Color Print & Moo!
  • Need # 6A killer, uber-motivating calendar to keep you in check every waking moment of every day. This is surprisingly not the cheapest step; I blame Office Max! Get yourself a snazzy, old-fashioned paper calendar and start penning (penning is the opposite of penciling because penciling is for contemplators and you’re a go-getter) in marketing activities, networking events, client meetings, and whatever else that you need to do to get this small business of yours off the ground! Check out our favorite place to shop for stylish yet sophisticated calendars and planners: Day Designer!

Now that you basically know the basics (hah), we can continue on our list making journey! (We LOVE lists, in case you didn’t notice!) The next things you’ll need to start your small business are assets and expenses.

An asset is defined as anything of value that can be converted into cash or can generate cash. Here are some examples of assets that you might need in order to start and run  your small business:

  • camera for a photography business
  • tooling machines for a jewelry maker
  • sewing machine for a seamstress or clothing designer
  • building and furniture for retail stores
  • computer and software for graphic design business

The last list we’ll compile is expenses. Expenses are defined as recurring costs incurred as a result of doing business or making cash money! Some examples of expenses include:

  • raw materials like fabric, steel, leather
  • rent on a building or office space
  • office supplies including computers
  • gas and other forms of travel
  • website related fees

DISCLAIMER – The Assets and Expenses lists are meant to get the wheels turning on what you need for your small business. Every small business will have a very unique list of assets and expenses. When trying to decide if something is an asset or an expense, ask yourself 2 questions: 1) is this item something I will use long term for my small business? and 2) will this allow me to start generating revenue? If the answers to both questions are yes, then you’ve got yourself an asset!

Hooray!! Let’s close up shop and call it a night! Um, yeah… about that…. Unfortunately, listing out what you need is only half the battle. We want to make things even easier for you because you’re our favorite reader! Now, we’re going to take it to the next level and talk dollas and cents!

Hop on over to our FREE Cost Of Owning My Small Business calculator! This nifty tool will allow you to sum up the costs of starting your small business!

You’re welcome, you list-loving OCD people!

One last thing. Outsourcing services such as website design and online marketing to reputable companies (like The Hive & Co.) can lighten your workload and speed up the process of starting your small business!

Sorry, we had to throw that THC shout out in there – girls gotta get paid!

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