It’s the classic idea of the American dream: if you’ve got the skills and the idea, you can start your own business from the ground up and make your own way. However, in reality, it’s not nearly as easy as that might make it sound. There are tons of legal hoops to jump through and other steps you’ll need to take to get your business off the ground. If you’ve got an idea for a startup but don’t know where to start, use these tips to get the ball rolling.
Secure A Patent
Ever notice how one of the main questions that gets asked on Shark Tank is, “do you have a patent?” There’s a good reason for that. Without a patent, anyone can scoop up your idea for your brilliant new product or service and claim it as their own. A patent keeps your intellectual property safe, making it easier and more secure to start your business without others capitalizing on your creativity.
Applying and obtaining a patent can be a long process, but there are ways to protect your intellectual property in the meantime. With a provisional patent application, you can protect your invention for a year and claim that there’s a “patent pending” on your product. If you haven’t filed for a regular patent application in twelve months, the provisional patent application expires, and your invention will be unprotected, but it can help buy you some time while you get working on the regular patent.
Know Your State Laws
Not all businesses will be able to be started in the same way, and one of the main factors dictating the steps you need to take is where your business is going to be located. Even if all your services are provided online, there are both federal and state laws you’ll need to account for. Some states take it even a step further; there are 67 counties in Pennsylvania, for example, and some require different steps to set up your own business.
One of the main things you’ll want to check for with the legal end of starting your own business is what requirements there are for hiring employees. If you’re not going to be able to do the job entirely on your own, you’ll need to know what needs to be in place before you start hiring. Around 74% of states require all employers to have workers’ comp coverage, for example. Contact your local officials to learn more about what needs to be done.
Find Your Funding
While a few businesses might not need much to get started, just about every company incurs some early expenses. Funding your business might be harder than you expect, depending on how much capital you’ll need to hit the ground running. If you’ve got the ability to fund your startup out-of-pocket, you’re all set. However, if you need more than what you’ve got on hand, you’ll need to look into taking out a loan, fundraising, or other methods of securing your funding. Set up a budget early on, and account for emergency expenses you might face along the way. Once you’ve got a goal for your funding, then you can start looking into sources for securing your capital.
Starting a business is hard work, but there are plenty of people who have successfully done it. With these tips, you could be well on your way to becoming the next entrepreneur to make it big.