How Long Does It Take To Start a Business? Just a Few Hours

It doesn’t have to take weeks or months. Most entrepreneurs are intimidated by the complicated legal and administrative tasks they need to complete before starting their ventures. But when you think about it, all these tasks are not really that complicated. If you have a strong business plan along with the requisite financial resources, you can start your new venture in a matter of just a few hours. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

Decide a Company Name – People take months, just to pick a perfect company name or to get the perfect URL. Just get over with it! Pick any name that comes to your mind, is easy to remember, and has some brand value, and go for it. If the need arises, you can always operate a business under a different company name, since it takes less than 5 minutes to fill-up the ‘doing business as’ form.

Apply for an EIN (Employer Identification Number) – An EIN is used to identify your venture. It is essentially a federal tax number and you don’t really need it unless you have plans to employ people to work for you or if you want to establish a partnership, corporation, or LLC. But it’s advisable to apply for an EIN anyway since it offers safety to your business from identity theft. You can visit the IRS official website in order to apply an EIN online.

Registering the Trade Name – You need to register a trade name for your business if you are not operating by your own name. The process is fairly simple and can be completed in just a few minutes.

Get a Business License – This process is pretty uncomplicated as well. You just need to fill a form. Make sure not to use your SSN (social security number) in order to identify your venture. Use the ‘employer identification number’ instead.

Fill the Business Personal Property Tax Form – Usually you are not required to fill this form during the first year of your venture. If you operate your business from home, you don’t need to list items like your computer, work equipment, etc. Things are pretty simple if you work from home and don’t require a lot of paperwork.

Area Specific Formalities – Each state has its own set of legal formalities that an entrepreneur requires to fulfill. Ask your state authorities whether there are any specific formalities that you need to take care of before starting your venture. This might take a few minutes if you don’t count the road trip time to the local offices.

Apply for a Seller’s Permit – You need to apply for a resale certificate, also known as the seller’s permit if your business deals with selling products (not services). This permit allows you to fetch state sales taxes on the products you’ve sold. You can apply for this certificate online.

Establish a Bank Account – A common mistake many novice entrepreneurs make is to merge their business funds with personal funds. You need to open an exclusive business account for your venture. Open this account in the name of your venture and use it only when you have to carry out business related transactions.

Accounting – Bookkeeping sounds like an intimidating task, but it’s quite simple, at least in the beginning. Don’t try to learn complicated software programs like QuickBooks; just use a simple spreadsheet for the first few months.

With just a few steps, you’ll be able to start within a few hours. The paperwork might take a little time for completion, but you’ll be all set to begin before that.

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