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With the current state of our economy and millions out of work more Americans have been taking the leap and starting their own ventures. The failures of major corporations have robbed Americans of their retirements and sense of security. Many have decided to take matters in their own hands and become independent contractors or start a business. I have outlined seven essential steps to launching your idea into the marketplace.
1. Begin working on a business plan. You can never develop your idea enough. Gather input from family, friends, and key support people. A strong business plan should include financial projections, a thorough business description, and info about key employees.
2. Incorporate your business through the state of Ohio. Once you determine the nature of your business and the name you want to use to represent your company, Articles of Incorporation must be filed with Ohio's Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner. The fee is $125 and payable through check or money order. If you will be selling goods you should also invest in a vendor's license which can be done at the Cleveland City Hall.
3. If you decided to operate a business type other than a sole proprietorship then you must request a Federal Tax Id number through the IRS. This number will be assigned to your organization for tax, credit, and tracking purposes.
4. Next, you should decide on a location to conduct business. If you feel comfortable and disciplined to work from home I would encourage you to do this until your income allows you to expand your business. Another, great resource for office or work space is the Cleveland Land Bank program. An organization can purchase a property from the city at a nominal price and will usually enjoy tax abatement.
5. Begin marketing your idea! Attend social conferences and networking events int he Cleveland area. Also be sure to engage in network marketing such as offering your services on Craigslist or fostering business relationships on Startup.com.
6. Set up your web page! This step is vital to the advertisement of your business and is easier to do than you might think. Microsoft Office Live offers free website management and templates that will give your organization a professional on line presence. Contrary to popular belief you do not have to have a computer science degree to set up a web page. With proper planning and catchy wording you can successfully market your services on line.
7. Lastly, keep a record of all receipts of purchases made in regards to your business. This will help you to itemize your deductions at the end of the tax year and you can write off your business expenses.
This list is not a comprehensive handbook but a quick guide to get you started on pursuing you dream of being an entrepreneur. For more info: http://www.sos.state.oh.us/businessServices.aspx