Starting your hair braiding business can feel like a daunting venture, especially if you have never been self-employed. You may feel that it is impossible to start your business because you don’t know where to start from. This article will help you to understand the basic steps to take to start your hair braiding business successfully.
- Give Your Business a Name: Just like you have a name, your business needs its own name for the purpose of identification. Also, your business will be able to get its own social security number called Tax ID for business. You have to think of a name that will be very easy to remember because it will help when you want to market your business. You can use your own birth name for your business. For example, I have my first name for my business, Bukola Braiding and Beauty Supply. As you can see the name is long, so I go mostly with Bukola Braiding. If you use your full legal name, you may not need to register with the secretary of state. We will get to that in a moment. When choosing a name, take a piece of paper, write down as many names as comes to you. There is no limit to how many names you can write down. After writing all these names, begin to strike out the ones that do not really appeal to you until you get to three or two. From that, you choose one that you really feel your business name should be.
- Register Your Business Name: The second step is to register your business with the Secretary of State’s office. You can start with an Assumed Name to become a Sole Proprietor. If you are starting small, then you will be fine with registering just assumed name. Otherwise, you can register as a Limited Liability Company, LLC, meaning that, your company is standing by itself and if you get sued, only whatever the company has will be taken and your personal property will not be affected. The thing is that for a braiding business with small amount of money, you probably will not need to worry about lawsuit that will go after your property. Note that before you register your business, except you are using your full legal name, you will need to search to see if the name you have chosen is available. That is why I suggested writing out several names to start with. That way, if the name you want to register is not available, you can try the next one or tweak it a little bit.
- Register Your Domain Name: The third step is to register your domain name. This means to register a name that you will use for your website. There are many options available for hosting your website, but I highly recommend self-hosting your website. The company I go with is Blue Host. For less than $5 a month, you can register your domain name. Usually, Blue Host will ask you to pay for about three years upfront which is less than $200 and you will be glad you did. This way, you don’t have to make monthly payment. You can have peace of mind for the next two years on your website. Domain name registration is kind of similar to your business name registration with the Secretary of State. You have to do a name search to make sure it is available. I will like to recommend that once you search the SOS’s website to see that your name is available, go ahead and do the same with Blue Host to make sure it is available so that your business name can match your website’s url. However, if the name you really like for your business is not available, you don’t have to panic or worry, you can also tweak it a little. For example, you can add a dash sign. I have a website for a nonprofit I founded last year and the legal name of the organization is The Enitan Story, but the website is enitan.org, and visitors can still find the organization.
- Set Up Social Network Pages: Starting a business in 2014 is much more different than even 10 years ago. Setting up social network pages will help to leverage your business by promoting it to the world at no initial cost to you. I will recommend that you set up a fan page on Facebook. You will do this from your existing Facebook personal account, but this page will strictly be for business. You publish only your business and business related posts on the page. Your personal posts for your friends can remain on your personal page. To set up a fan page, you can check out this post. Next, you will set up a Twitter account. Don’t worry about already having a Twitter account. You can to set up your business Twitter account separately. You will do the same with Pinterest, YouTube and Google Plus. However, you can turn your Pinterest personal page to business. The most important thing to note is that when you start using your pages for business, you have to keep personal posts out of there. That way, you will look more professional and attract the customers you need for your business.
- Get Your Business Tax ID: The fifth step is to get your business Tax ID. This is like the social security number for your business. You can call the IRS or go to their website, irs.gov to apply. You will receive the number immediately. Few days after, you will receive an official letter from IRS showing that your business is registered with the agency.
- Open a Bank Account: The sixth step is to go to your local bank and open a business account. The reason is that you want to separate your personal account from your business account. When going to the bank, take the Secretary of State registration with you. By this time, it should be about two weeks or so, because the SOS will mail a certificate to you. You will present the certificate to the banker. In addition, if you don’t have the IRS letter yet, you can just give them the number you were assigned online or on the phone. The various banks minimum amount to peon an account, usually $25. However, don’t worry about the opening minimum, what you want to look into before you open an account is the fees they charge. Ask the banker what to do to wave the fees and if that bank does not have an option that sounds interesting to you, go to a different bank. For example, if you open with Wells Fargo, you will need to have an automatic transfer of $150 from your checking to savings every month to waive the fees.
- Find a Location: This step is technically your number one step, however, I have made it the seventh step here because, you may be starting from your home. If you want to save on rent, the ideal thing to do is to start from home to save some cost. But, you have to make sure that your home has a conducive spot that you can convert for your business. You can do this for about one year. During that process, you can start shopping for a business location outside of your home. This will give you time to shop around to see what is available and how to get the best deal for an office space. While working at home, carry minimal inventory because you want to look good and well-kept when your customers come in for service. You don’t necessarily need a store front or an office location that is on a strip mall. To save money, you can rent an office space within a building which will be way less that renting the same amount of space on a strip mall. For example, a space that you can get in an office complex for less than $500 can cost you over a $1000 on a strip mall. Good service and conducive environment will keep your customers coming back with their friends and family.
- Think and Take Notes: Set aside two hours a day when you think and write as ideas form in your head about your business. You can write on a notebook or you can open a word document for writing, just make sure that you have a folder named “Think and Take Notes.” That way, you will start forming a discipline attitude towards your business, which will in the long run help your productivity. Some of the things you will write will be things that you will act upon right away, others will be goals that you will set for a week, two weeks, a month, a year, and so on. Try to choose the same time, that way, you will become used to it.
I hope that I have been able to give you a clear road map to start your hair braiding business. You can use these steps to also start a craft or consulting business too.
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