The following is a guest post from Leslie Campos, who operates Wellparents.com.
Studies have proven time and time again that small businesses benefit local communities. Here in Washington DC, small businesses have boosted local economies, provided job opportunities, and enhanced the quality of life in many communities. If you have been thinking of starting your own business in the state, now is an excellent time.
TSN Communications shares five effective strategies for starting your own company in DC by the end of this year.
Set up a dedicated space to work from home
No matter your industry, you will likely be doing at least some work from home. If you are launching a home-based business, having a dedicated work space in your house is even more critical. Being able to work uninterrupted is key when starting a new company — and when looking to sustain its success.
If you do not yet have a home office, find an open room or space that is as far away from noise and distractions as possible. Ensure that this space is clean and efficiently organized. This space should also include all relevant equipment that you need to stay productive. On top of essential equipment for your business, consider helpful items such as noise-canceling headphones (to eliminate as many distractions as possible) and ergonomic office furniture/supplies.
Fill out all necessary paperwork right away
Whether you are fulfilling services or selling products, you will need to complete at least some paperwork. Do thorough research to find out what licenses and permits you need to legally operate your business. Since not having specific licenses and permits can result in fines (or even jail time), apply for these right away.
Every business — regardless of what it sells — will need to select a business structure. Your chosen business structure will determine how you file and report taxes, and how your personal and business finances are separated. Rather than opting for a sole proprietorship, forming an LLC is often the safest option for small businesses. Businesses that are LLCs get to enjoy tax advantages and reduced paperwork. This structure also helps protect your personal finances by keeping them legally separate from your business. Forming an LLC can be time consuming and confusing, so it pays to utilize the expertise of an affordable formation service. Before moving ahead with an LLC formation service, ensure that you understand all rules that are specific to Washington DC, including how to register a company name, how to choose your company’s registered agent, and what documents you need to set up a business bank account.
Promote your status as a locally-owned business
Being a locally-owned business is a big deal. Nowadays, many DC residents go out of their way to support local small businesses. Instead of blending in with nationally run businesses, show off your local status. On social media, your website, your business cards, and your product packaging (if applicable), promote yourself as a Washington DC-based company.
Start networking with other local business owners
Launching a new business is full of uncertainty. You may have an endless list of questions that you don’t have answers to, and aren’t sure who to ask. To start creating connections — and to get answers to some of your most pressing questions — begin networking with other local business owners. This will help you develop credibility and will help you build lasting professional relationships.
Make appearances at local events
If you plan on selling products, make appearances at local festivals and events. Whether you choose to give out samples, or set up a display of your items, connecting with the local community is critical. Putting a face to your new business will help others learn more about what you do and will encourage repeat business.
Although the idea of starting a new business can seem overwhelming, it isn’t too much of a challenge. When you have an organized strategy — and genuinely put yourself out there — the local community is sure to welcome you.
Photo via Pexels
Leslie Campos hopes to provide relief and tips for other busy parents through her site Wellparents.com. Parents can find a variety of information from stress-busters to exercise ideas to healthy eating tips.