Always contact a Lawyer for advice as to how to set up a business if you are unsure.
There is always free legal advice available through SCORE (Service Corps of Retired
Executives). If your business starts to get really lucrative in the future, you can even consider
moving up from a Business to a Corporation, or an LLC. You can incorporate online at
www.incorporatenow.com. SCORE will tell you how and not charge you a fortune to do it!
You can also check the Yellow Pages under “Free Legal Aid”. There are numerous agencies
ready to assist you in starting a business. Call the SBA (Small Business Administration) or visit
their Web-Site at http://www.sba.gov. Here are the following steps, posted in order of operation:
1. Establish A Post Office Box.: This can either be done directly at the US Post office,
or through a private company such as Mail Boxes etc. To get your Business License and
other paperwork processed quickly , they will need a PO Box or some type of business
address. That’s why you should get your PO Box first.
2. Fictitious Business Get A Name: Find out from City Hall where to go to get a
“Fictitious Business Name”. This is just a fancy way of saying the name for your business.
Before you go, you should think of a good name. Here’s an example. If your last name
was Ramirez, you might want to call it “Ramirez Security” or something similar. The
cost for this is about $10.00.
3. Give Public Notice of Your New Business: After you get your Fictitious Business
Name, you will get a receipt for this. You can bring this receipt to your local newspaper,
and they will know what to do. They will charge you a modest fee, but make sure that
they offer full services, including filing it with the County Clerk and giving you a confirmation
letter after this is complete. You need to give “Public Notice” of your DBA (Doing business
As) name. This means that you will have to get it published in a paper for 4 weeks, once a week.
4. Apply For a Business License : Go to City Hall in the City you live in and apply for
a Business License. Different cities might have different procedures and fees. They should
give you an application to fill out. This is always done after the Fictitious Business Name
statement, because they need to know the name of your business on the application. This
only makes sense. It takes a few weeks to receive your license in the mail once your
application has been processed.
5. Open up a Business Checking Account: Go to your local bank and set up a Business
Checking Account. This usually requires a deposit of $100.00 or so. Also, if you plan on
accepting credit card orders, inquire about a merchant account. They will be very happy to
discuss all options with you. Also, have the bank make you an Endorsement stamp according
to their specifications. Your first couple of hundred business checks will be mailed to you
within a few weeks of ordering. The bank will explain to you how an Endorsement stamp works.
6. Rubber Stamp Purchases: Go to a business like Office Depot, Staples, Office Max
or a local print shop in your area which can be contacted in the Yellow Pages. Have them make
you a Stamp with your Complete Company Contact Information. This should be under $15.00.
7. Have Business Cards Made: This can be accomplished at your local print shop or at
a place like Kinkos, Office Depot, Staples or Office Max.
8. Find an ISP (Internet Service Provider) : Find an Internet Service provider. This is
your “Pipeline” to the Internet. You can go with an established company like MSN (Microsoft
Network), Earthlink, AOL, Compuserve or you can check your Yellow Pages under Internet Access or Internet Service Provider or something similar. Pose the same questions for locating an ISP as you would for securing a hosting service, which are listed below. They will all give you an E-Mail address. You should check out http://ld.net/?81648
9. Securing a Domain Name: If you wish to make a presence for your business on the
Internet and are not satisfied with the free hosting services out there, then you will have to
Secure a Domain Name. To do that, it will cost just over $8.95 per year. Apply here:
http://www.techcompassociates.com . Think of some good names and check them out for availability. Try to have a keyword in your Domain Name, it will help with the Search Engines.
The reason this comes in handy is because no matter how many times I change Hosting Services,
I’ll always have the same name and same E-Mail address, firstname.lastname@example.org. This means,
if you ever get angry at your ISP or hosting service, you can just change it and everyone will
still be able to find you. You won’t have to change your business cards, letterheads or anything
else to reflect a different Web-Site.
10. Find a Hosting Service: Find a Hosting Service that will meet all your expectations.
A Hosting Service is the place you “Park” your Domain Name. There are hundreds of thousands
of them out there now. Just shop around and consider different factors such as: Price, Service,
Method of Connection., CGI Support, Tech Support, and customer support. How accessible are they to Billing and General Service Questions? These things you must ask yourself before you join one.