Starting Your Own Business in Dallas
Starting a Small Business in Dallas
With over six million people in the greater Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington area, there’s a lot of opportunities for you to grow your own business. With so many neighbors, some of them are bound to be just the customer you’re looking for.
Starting a business may not be easy, but with the right partners to help with your venture, it can turn into a wonderful experience. You just need to know where to look.
Choosing to Start
The first step in any business is deciding what you would like to do. If you’re starting a business, it should be about building something you like or love. There’s extraordinarily little point in swapping your day job if you’re going to dislike your new business.
After deciding what you’d like to do, then there’s the matter of figuring out how to go about it. You may have, for example, decided you wanted to work with food. There’s a lot of options in that category though. Do you want to open a restaurant, a food truck, or a pop-up dining experience? Once you decide that, then it’s on to the nitty-gritty.
Dallas is a growing area with several new big-name brands moving in the last couple of years. With big brands come more people, so any service that serves people is likely to do well. People need places to live, consulting services, and amenities to keep their lives going the way they are accustomed. If you can provide them with quality and at a fair price, then you’ll be in business.
Legally Starting a Business
There are several types of businesses, and each one incorporates a little differently. In Dallas, solid resources are the County Clerk’s office and the Secretary of State Website for what exactly you need to do to obtain legal standing. Then you can file with the IRS for an employer identification number.
It’s vital to register a business, rather than working without a license. For one, all liability is on the individual if you do not register as a business. That means people have the power to take your home and life savings away from you.
Another of the most important items on your list is to set up bank accounts. An employer identification number (EIN) is necessary for this step. This allows you to separate your personal finances from those of your business. This separation is vital so that if something happens to your business, your personal finances are still secure. It also makes paying your taxes easier.
Last but certainly not least, it’s important to create a business plan for your startup. Your business plan should not only help you put into words how your company is going to be successful, but also communicate that to potential investors and lenders. Many small business resources offer help with business plan writing.
If you’re setting up a physical business, it is important to check out the zoning laws for your chosen location. Zoning can complicate almost any business proposal. To avoid those complications, know what your business needs and find a place that allows the things you need.
For many businesses, zoning law will set the neighborhood their address is in. For other businesses, such as online operations, zoning law makes little difference. It’s a matter of figuring out exactly what your business will need.
Depending on your business structure and personal background, you may be able to take advantage of certain certifications to help you start a business. These certifications give you access to resources and people that would not otherwise be available. Some of the qualifiers include disadvantaged economic circumstances or being in a minority group.
Many of these certifications are typically free and may draw in business. For example, some larger businesses use quota systems to make sure there is no racial bias in contractor hiring, so being a certified minority business increases the odds of obtaining a contract.
When starting a business, it’s important to have resources to talk to. These are people you go to when you need answers. It may not seem like you need them at first, but it’s better to form those relationships early.
In Dallas, there are some great resources to look at to find people. Dallas has a thriving chamber of commerce and an active rotary club. There are also business assistance centers and incubators to consider. Try attending a meeting or two at interesting places and see which ones suit you.
Financial Aspects of Starting a Business
So, we’ve talked about separating your finances. However, it’s not enough just to have separate bank accounts. It’s also vitally important to keep your accounting easily legible. Keeping neat books year-round makes taxes easier.
There are a lot of ways to keep books. You can do it yourself by recording your expenses and sales in a physical book or spreadsheet. There’s always the possibility to hire a part-time bookkeeper. Of course, the in-between option is to go with an electronic set of books.
Using an electronic set of books offers several benefits. One huge advantage is that electronic bookkeeping programs can automatically generate reports. Profits and loss assessments can come in real handy when you’re starting out, and also ensure you do not lose transactions.
Bootstrapping is the practice of a business owner self-funding their business until the business is big enough to support itself. This method means there’s no background checks, no funding applications, and no oversight. You get to keep your business running however you want it.
Bootstrapping comes with a drawback, however. There is a possibility that your personal resources will run out before the business really gets going. That could halt your business growth indefinitely.
There are programs out there that specifically lend to small businesses. Not all banks support these loans, so you may have to look outside your preferred financial institution. These loans are issued to the business but rely on your personal history as the owner as well.
When talking about loans for businesses, you will hear about the Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBA does not actually originate loans, but it can help secure funding. SBA loans also have a different structure than traditional or personal loans, which some people find works better for their needs.
The last possibility for finding the money to set up a business is to take on investors. The price of investors is giving up a part of your company. In exchange for this part, the investors supply a set amount of money for the running of the business.
Since the investor has ownership in the company proportionate to the part they control, they have a voice in the decision-making process and partial authority over the company. Many investors will act as a mentor and help you grow your business since the more money the business makes, the better their return on investment.
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