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    6 Replies Latest reply on Apr 5, 2008 7:40 PM by metagistics

    My startup is almost ready to roll - advice needed

    noleafclover6 Wayfarer

      Hello all!

       

      After posting a few months ago about a business venture I
      was in the beginning stages of developing, I am happy to report that I am very
      close to launch! My business is going to
      be an online store that specializes in kitchen cutlery and knives. I have signed up for a Yahoo merchant
      account, and have begun building my site with their site builder. I have decided against my original plan to
      file for a sole proprietorship and formed an LLC instead; opting for
      LegalZoom.com as my registered agent and having them file for a Tax ID # for me
      as well. I have contacted several
      vendors and plan on ordering some stock as soon as I have the formal details
      finalized with the startup of the business.

       

       


      Here is what I have done so far:

      • Filed for LLC, just waiting for shipment of paperwork!
      • Tax ID Obtainment
      • Sales Tax Registration
      • Business License Package

      All of these services were purchased from Legalzoom.com. I
      have also contacted Bank Of America to open a business economy checking
      account, but I can't do this until I actually receive my paperwork from
      Legalzoom.com, so I will have to wait on that until I get it. My question to you all is this: What would
      you do next? Are there any steps that I
      have forgotten? Do I need a
      "resellers permit" (which I have heard a few of my associates talk
      about) in order to sell items that I have purchased from a manufacturer? Thanks in advance, and I look forward to your
      input and advice.

       

      Thanks,

       

      Matt
        • Re: My startup is almost ready to roll - advice needed
          Lighthouse24 Ranger
          I'm not sure what state you're in, but in most, registering for a sales tax and use permit and/or any required business license would result in a "reseller's permit," "seller's permit," or "resale permit" (the names vary, but the permit is usually associated with sales/use tax registration, which you have already done).

          You seem to have all the administrative bases covered, and seem to know what you intend to sell. Do you know who is going to buy it (i.e., do you have a solid marketing plan)? Do you know how you're going to draw those people to the website? Do you have a competitive strategy for converting casual visitors into paying customers once they get there? Presumably, you figured all that out long ago, but I would review your strategy and numbers since you intend to order stock soon.

          At this stage, you should be certain that you have a ready market for whatever products you order (i.e., you don't want to buy it wholesale unless you know you can sell it retail). Yet many new business like yours start out ordering a lot of the "wrong" product (stuff they can't sell), or they order too much product to start with (and tie up cash in inventory that could have been used for marketing). So . . . I would be revisiting you sales and marketing plan right now.

          Best wishes on you rnew enterprise!
          • Re: My startup is almost ready to roll - advice needed
            LUCKIEST Guide
            Matt, I remember your first post and answered you then.
            It sounds like you have come a long way
            Lighthouse gave you good advice as to "what to do next"
            Also think about giving away something FREE when you do start.

            As I said last time, I am a SCORE counselor. SCORE suggests you Develop both a Business
            and Marketing Plan.and SCORE is FREE.
            Every business should have an Accountant, a Lawyer and maybe an Insurance Agent.

            Again, good luck, LUCKIEST
            • Re: My startup is almost ready to roll - advice needed
              Wingman Adventurer

              Hi noleafclover6,

               


              As part of your creation of the LLC, you need to be sure you have an Operating Agreement for the LLC entity. If you go to a professional tax preparer for tax preparation, they will need to have a copy of this document in order to properly complete your return. This would be especially true if you have multiple members in the LLC.

              If you haven't already done so, you should also check with the local authorities to see if you need to obtain a business license or publish your DBA in the local papers.

              Good Luck
              • Re: My startup is almost ready to roll - advice needed
                ScottJ Wayfarer

                Matt: As others had said your on the right track, and ready to go. I would like lighthouse suggest look into putting a marketing/adv plan together. Offering something free is always a way to get some quick hits on a website. I'm sure you've looked into the costs associated with the giving something free away. Many entreprenours want to give something or service away for free, and I heard numerious successfull enteprenour's explain that your actualy under valuating your company.

                Regarding LegalZoom, I've not heard of them, however it seems like they are definetly a strong resouce for getting started. I will do the filling of the coresponding forms for a customer for a fee (of course) but typically, you can also apply for most of the applications you need for free. All you need to do is to go to the coresponding website, for example Sales/Use License or "resellers license" just google or msn, yahoo whatever search engine you want, and locate the Department of Revenue for you state (usally, www,dorstate abbrivation.com). Other than the state I would also check County and Local goverment websites where your going to be charging taxes, and make sure that they do not have any additional requirements.

                 


                I'm not sure if Bank of America still offfers it, but I know they where offerign a business checking account (economy I belive) for free for 1 year when you had two other accounts with them. I typically, recommend to open a checking account in the company name, however I also would recomend looking into opening a savings account in the business name, where you can put a perentage of your profit that you want to re-invest in your business. I would talk with your accontant or I would be more than happy to talk further offline.
                • Re: My startup is almost ready to roll - advice needed
                  metagistics Wayfarer

                  Have you already selected a distribution partner? Before you start purchasing, you need to define how you are going to inventory and ship your goods to the end recipient.

                  If you are interested in having a third party logistics company handle that piece of the business for you, I'll give a blatant plug for my company. We'll handle all the back end details at a low cost for your startup. And as you get bigger and explore new channels, we can handle the more advanced requirements for shipping into retail stores, etc.

                  If not us, you might want to choose someone will handle all the inventory and shipping needs.
                  • Re: My startup is almost ready to roll - advice needed
                    LariosVox Wayfarer
                    *+Matt, i want to pigiback on all great advice you have received. You mention Bank of America for Business economy checking...Did you sit down with a Personal Banker to discuss you options for organizing your business before take off? Make sure all options are open and you are aware of I know that Bank of America offers the biggest small business services out there and the Business Advantage Package is the the best value for your any business, It covers Online payroll, Business suite,Multi checking accounts to separate and help with business organization. Merchant services discount on set up fees. and a ton more do check the Advantage package its worth it at 29.95 for gazillion features.+</stro