You want to start a business? NOW WHAT?!

You’ve dreamt about it. You’ve worked out the details of what you want to do and how successful you will be. You have discussed it with friends and family and you are finally ready to make your dreams happen and start your business.  Congratulations!  So now you’re probably thinking “What do I do”?!

Define your ideal customer.  Do your homework on your potential customers and find out their interests and hobbies.  Research these groups on the internet, involve yourself in some of their activities, and ideally INTERVIEW them or anyone like them that could possibly fit as a customer of your product or service.  Knowing details about your ideal customers will help you understand how best to connect with them. 

Here are some questions that may help get you started:

  • Is this overall group passionate about certain issues? 
  • What do they enjoy and find fun?
  • How is this group influenced?
  • What is this group’s preferred method of communication (ex. email, print, social media, etc.)?

Create a name that makes you stand out.  Sounds easy, right?  Not so much.  This part takes a lot of time and thought if you want a name that others will remember.  If you are creating a website, you need to make sure the domain name isn’t taken.  As a part of the team of workers at Zubifi I can assure you this took us many weeks before we settled on our name. 

Here are some ideas that may help when picking your business name:

  • Write down words that will help you stand out to customers based on your research on who is going to buy or use your product/service.  Possibly break these into two or three lists of nouns, verbs, and adjectives.  Try combining some of these words together to create compound words that may be more unique.
  • Try piecing parts or syllables of words together to make a new word.  The “fi” from Zubifi stands for finance.
  • If there is a name or word you love but it’s taken…
    • Try rearranging or substituting letters (ex. use “i” instead of “y”) to create a new name that you like.  You can add words as the front or end of your desired name.  For example “” or “”.
    • Search for that name/word in a different language.  You might find that you like it!  That’s what we did at Zubifi and many other businesses have done too!  “Zubi”in Zubifi means bridge in the Basque language.
  • Settle on a few names that you really like.  Ask friends, family, and/or potential customers for feedback.  You could be surprised that a name that really stands out to you is not something that they like or will remember.  While it’s ideal that you and others will love your new business name, remember that the ultimate goal is for your customers to remember the name because it stands out to them!

Will your business utilize social media?  If so, what social media name do you want to use?  Make sure these names are not taken.  Ideally it would be the same name for all social media outlets.   

Make sure your business name is not already in use.  Check all jurisdictions in which you will be doing business.  This includes but is not limited to local, state, and federal levels.   (More to come on this in a future post).

Incorporate your business.  Will your business be a Sole Proprietorship, LLC, S-Corp, Partnership, etc?  Do your research (more to come in a later post) and decide which is best for your business.  It would be beneficial to talk with an attorney or CPA for advice here since every situation is unique.

Register your business with the IRS to get your Tax ID/EIN number.  You will also need to register with your state and get a privilege license (if applicable).  Many of these forms can be completed online.  

Will your business operate from a specific location or from your home?  If it will operate from a commercial location, choose your target area and possibly enlist the help of a REALTORĀ® to find a place that suits your needs.  Make sure you have proper permits with the city, county, and/or state to operate your business from the location you choose even if that location is your home.

Create your brand.  You may want to enlist the help of a marketing agency and/or website designer.  If you choose to work with a marketing agency then it’s best to be prepared with as much information as possible when you meet with the agency.  These companies usually charge by the hour so this will optimize your meeting time with them which saves you money! 

Things to consider:

  • What software tools will you use to do your online marketing?  This depends on the research you’ve done on your potential customers and how they’ll want to be connected. 
    At Zubifi we offer several services that could help in this arena including Email Marketing and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) features.
  • What keywords words should you use in your online marketing?  These are words or phrases that are frequently searched for in online search engines like Google.  We’ll post more information on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in an upcoming post, but this is definitely somewhere that a marketing agency could lend a hand.
  • What print materials should you have for your customers?
  • Are there networking and/or social media groups you can join to help promote your business?
  • Be consistent in your marketing.  The details are important.  For example, if you post lots of pictures online then you may consider trying to theme the pictures so that when they show up in aggregators ( for example) that they stand out.  This includes everything from colors, to subjects, and beyond.  

Create a business bank account.   Do not intermingle personal money with business money.  You want to easily be able to track your accounts.  This is important and your accountant will thank you!  Check out how Zubifi’s accounting software could help you. 

That’s a lot, but hopefully it will help get you started on your new business venture!  As always, consult an accountant and lawyer with any questions!  They’re going to be the experts!

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