How to Get Started?
I requested that some of my fellow peers in federal contracting provide some insight from their experiences and we will continue to feature postings from those who are currently on the journey. Sybil recently launched her business in 2008 so this is a based on current observations and very relevant. I will also use these postings to address issues raised within.
Sybil A. Cannon
President Elcan Solutions, Inc.
After concluding that “ownership” is for you, roll up your sleeves and prepare to obtain as much information as possible to establish your business. You will need to research information on the following critical areas:
· Establish a business name
· Type of business entity (corporation, limited liability corporation, sole proprietorship, partnership, etc.)
o Once you have determine the entity that is best for you, utilize your local state websites to obtain license. You can also use businesses to develop all the paperwork needed to incorporate, but it’s cheaper to do it yourself.
· Obtain business license from the city and/or county for your business location
· Establish a bank account for the business. It should be separate from any personal account
· Contact your local Small Business Administration offices to learn more about doing business overall, but especially with the federal government.
o Local SBA Development Centers offer multiple “free” training courses and information to assist you in getting starting. Training classes range from how to get started, financial planning, business planning, tax planning, marketing, certifications, etc.
· Develop a Business Plan – this is extremely helpful to assist you in defining your business and the services or products you will offer as well as set goals for the business. This will help you focus on the steps you need to take, chronologically, to reach those goals. This plan could also be helpful in obtaining financial backing.
· Identify a formal or informal board of advisors. Connect with individuals who have been where you wish to go or who have played significant roles in the market for your business. Connect with these individuals regularly to stay focused and on track.
· Taxes – Connect with a tax advisor to obtain understanding on the tax requirements for your business. The SBA Development Center can be extremely helpful in advising you in this regard. You may want to invest in an accounting software that can be used for payroll and tax calculations and processes.
· Establish a filing/record system. You will be overwhelmed with paperwork, legal documents, receipts that you will need to maintain for use at the end of the calendar year. Records management is vital for success.
· CCR – If seeking to do business with the government, register on the Central Contractor Registration database.
· Vendor registration – If seeking to do business with any form of government, it is imperative to register with their procurement sites. This will take a lot of time, but it is critical step to doing business with these entities.