Get started by nailing down your business plan and finding a structure to suit your needs.
Start your journey to an internationally successful business from home. While it’s a time-consuming venture, it’s also a potentially greatly rewarding one.
As the US continues to grow its market and international audience, you may be able to cash in on the upward trend.
What kind of entity makes sense?
In the US, you can choose from four basic business structures that comprise more than a dozen business entities among them. To dive deeper into the full list of business entities to choose from, check out our guide to choosing the right business structure.
A sole proprietorship has a single business owner with complete control over business and profits, as well as personal liability for debts. A business owner can use their personal name for the business or operate under a separate name.
Partnerships — LP, LLP and LLLP
Two or more people can enter into a partnership, wherein each person is responsible for the actions — and debts — of the others.
Limited liability companies — LC, LLC, Ltd., Co. and PLLC
LLCs take their name from one big pro: limited liability that protects you personally. While they operate like a hybrid partnership–corporation, they don’t necessarily adhere to the rigid structure of a corporation. LLCs also don’t place personal financial obligation on its members.
Corporations —Corp., Inc. and PC
Corporations too offer personal financial protection to their shareholders and limited liability, but at the cost of having to adhere to a tight structure. Corporations also require more time and money to set up than other entities do.
Should I hire a professional?
Though you aren’t required to hire a professional to start your business, an expert in your field could help prevent future problems. Research your industry thoroughly to determine if you can benefit from the extra input. If you’re an industry expert yourself, you might be comfortable skipping this one to chip away at already steep startup costs.
What documentation will I need to set up my business?
- Articles of incorporation. If you’re looking to form a corporation, you’ll need to file your articles of incorporation with your state. This set of documents marks your intent to create a corporation with details as to your services or products, how you run your company and any stock you’ll issue, among other information. You might benefit from a professional early to keep the legality of the articles aboveboard.
- The scope of your business. A solid business plan can help secure funding early on and provides a road map to better guide your ambitions.
Where do I file my information?
Depending on the size of your business and your industry, you may need to file with federal, state and local agencies. The Small Business Administration provides useful information to businesses about when, where and why you might need to register with more than one agency.
Other factors to consider
- Your business name. Keep site domain costs, existing properties, marketing potential and relevance in mind when choosing your business name.
- A business account. Big or small, your business could benefit from cleanly separating your business and personal spending.
- Location. If your business can’t function online only, scouting for a storefront location is among your biggest tasks. Consider local markets, foot traffic and the visibility of potential spaces.
- Permits. You’ll need proper permits when building or dealing in specially regulated goods. Learn how to keep them up with timely renewals.
- Employees. As your business grows, you may need additional hands to assist with your expansion.
- Consulting professionals. Marketing, IT, payroll and accounting professionals can support your growth. Regularly evaluate what the services you can add to better reach your market and keep your everyday afloat.
International billing and payments
Your new business may require you to make and receive international payments, which means you’ll make transactions among currencies and across borders.
You can safely and affordably manage your business payments — with lower fees and stronger exchange rates — by comparing the services of a money transfer specialist.
Use a money transfer service to manage your international business payments
Once you’ve nailed down your plan, it’s important to select the right type of business structure. The US is a huge market to put a foot in and expand out of, so don’t be afraid to start building your customer base locally.