I meet with entrepreneurs and aspiring small business owners on a regular basis and one of the questions I receive from time to time is, “I have this great idea. How do I get started?” My quick answer to that is to tell the individual to first determine if the idea is a sustainable business idea. The other question I try to explore is whether or not the owner has moved the idea from their head to paper. These two questions are important because it might be a great idea, but if the idea can’t produce revenue, then more thought needs to be put into it. Getting these thoughts on paper as soon as possible is important because it anchors the idea and starts to create a framework for a business plan.
Developing your business plan is imperative because it will provide you the blueprint on how to go from an idea to implementation. A good business plan will include start-up expenses and capitalization, marketing plans and budgets, products and services, operational expenses, and an overall financial plan. You will want to think each of these through and reach out to resources located in the Columbus region. Here at the Columbus Chamber, helping businesses navigate these elements of a business plan is one of many services we offer to our members.
Now that your plan is in place and financing is figured out, it’s time to take more steps toward the day of your Grand Opening. Below is a checklist The Secretary of State’s Office provides on what you need to do to get your business started.
- • Register the business with the Ohio Secretary of State
- • Contact the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)
- • Open a bank account
- • Contact the Ohio Department of Taxation to determine state and local tax obligations
- • Report newly hired and re-hired employees to the Ohio New Hire Reporting Center
- • Contact the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation
- • Contact the Ohio Department of Job & Family Services as you may need to establish an Unemployment Compensation Tax Account
- • Obtain the proper licenses and permits
The part of my job that I enjoy most is helping aspiring small business owners navigate these roads that lead to business ownership. Owning your own business takes plenty of hard work, but the pride of ownership is an amazing payoff!
Everybody I meet has a small business idea—the next big thing. When you’re ready to make your idea a reality, give me a call.