A New Year is a great time to think about starting a new business, especially since the tax cycle starts over in January (unless you designate your company’s fiscal year otherwise). Here’s why:
The cost of entry is relatively low for many businesses - aside from any formal education or certification required for your business, all you really need is a website, tax ID and phone to get up and running
There are tax benefits to going out on your own - when you own your own business, you can write off a laundry list of expenses the average employee cannot, including travel, home office, Internet and other costs, depending on your industry
Technology makes it easier than ever - from obtaining funding through Kickstarter to accepting credit card payments on your cell phone and marketing on social media, running and promoting a business has never been more convenient
Before taking the financial plunge into being your own boss, follow these tips:
1. Be sure you’re willing to take the risks. Entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone, and that’s okay. Take the time to really think about your personality, risk tolerance and commitment to putting in the 365-day commitment required to start and run a successful small business.
2. Keep your day job, at least in the beginning. Unless you have significant savings in the bank or a significant other’s income to rely upon in the beginning, it’s best to maintain your current job and burn the midnight oil during the initial planning phase of your new venture.
3. Have a business plan (on paper). Drafting a business plan may not sound like fun, but it is designed to help you think through some of the financial decisions you may have never thought about before. The U.S. Small Business Administration offers an online tool for drafting a business plan.
4. Find a mentor. SCORE is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping entrepreneurs looking to start or grow their businesses. In addition to a helpful website with tips on everything from marketing to financing, you can find a mentor with real experience in your area, and it’s all confidential and free.
5. Choose your business structure carefully. There are several things to establish upfront when starting a business to avoid costly fines and fees in the future. Do your homework to understand the tax benefits and requirements for your type of business (sole proprietor, partnership, corporation, etc.), as well as any local requirements for naming your business.
6. Search for name conflicts. You’ll also want to conduct trademark searches on USPTO.gov to ensure there are no conflicts with the name you want to use for your business prior to purchasing a license, obtaining a fictitious name and purchasing your web domain.
Financial information company Sageworks compiled a list of the 10 best industries for starting a business in 2015, based on sales growth in 2014. And the winning industries are:
Industry Percentage sales growth
Electronic shopping and mail-order houses 20.5
Software publishing 16.0
Computer systems design and related services 15.2
Investigation and security services 14.4
Management, scientific and technical consulting 14.0
Architectural, engineering and related services 12.2
Employment services 12.0
Specialized design services 11.9
Advertising, PR and related services 10.1
Other popular industries for starting a business include health and specialty food, translation services and green construction.
7. Base your business where it benefits you most. In 2014, WalletHub ranked 150 cities on their business climate for entrepreneurs. From access to financing, local cost of living to local annual salary, the country’s largest cities by population were graded using 14 unique metrics. Jacksonville topped the list, with its low tax climate, skilled workforce and support from local and regional government organizations. Fayetteville, North Carolina, and Augusta, Georgia, also topped the list of small business-friendly cities.
To learn more about new homes in Nocatee, visit nocatee.com or call 1-800-NOCATEE.