Starting Your New Business In The New Year, Part 1

The start of a New Year and the start of a new business… that’s poetic right? One of our most popular webinars of last year was “Start Your Home T-Shirt Business”.  So to start off the New Year, we’re going to go through the steps to starting your home business and talk them out a little bit more.

So, without further delay… let’s start your new t-shirt business!

#1 – Legal Details

This can easily be the most intimidating part of the process.  For the purpose of this blog, we are using the State of Ohio as an example. And a very handy resource is available right at Ohio.gov – a PDF called Starting A Business in Ohio.  This guides you through the steps of what registrations are necessary (IRS, Workers Compensation, etc…) and goes a step further to describe the types of licenses available, and what’s necessary.

Ohio.gov Business Resources

We’re only using Ohio as an example, but finding what I needed to start a new business was very quick and there’s a lot of info readily available.

In Ohio you’re required to register your business with the Secretary of State. This process is quick and only requires you to fill out several pieces of information on the Secretary of State website. You’re also required to register with the Ohio Department of Taxation, which is also possible online using their “Ohio Business Gateway”. Lastly you also have the Vendor’s License which only costs $25.00.

The benefit to completing these steps is that your business is legal and you’ll be able to receive wholesale pricing from your vendors. Having a legal business can also benefit you for tax purposes. Not to mention the companies that won’t even sell to you unless you have a valid business. In addition to that, if your business, in the state of Ohio, is owned 51% or more by a woman, there are even additional resources and benefits available to you.

Keep in mind these are only meant to be tips to start the legal side of your business – you should visit YOUR state’s website and search to see what additional steps may be necessary to do business in your area. You can even try an internet search for the phrase “starting a business in _____” with your state.

#2 – Location

Okay – so where is your business going to be? You are most likely starting your business at home. Problem solved, right? Not quite… are customers going to come to you? Or are you going to them? If they come to you, do you have a space dedicated to your heat printing business? Beyond that, in your work-space do you have enough counter top space? You’ll need room for your heat press, for boxes of garments, boxes of transfers, and a place to lay finished garments. Printing at home certainly saves you money. But the secret to making it work is planning ahead and making sure you’ve planned for these things.

If you’re going a step further and considering a retail space then here’s something to think about: How much space do you need? What is the minimum amount of space that a heat printing business needs? It’s technically possible to run a heat printing business out of a 3 foot by 3 foot kiosk with an outlet. But this may not fit all business models. The question becomes, what is your specialty? Do you have retail opportunities? Does the amount of business you believe you’re going to do justify any retail space?

#3 – Your Name

This is the easy one, right? Just pick a name. But we see a lot of business names that aren’t always well thought through. A clever name for your business is all well and good. But is it a name that people are going to remember? Is it something that pertains to what you do? If your name is clever, but it doesn’t SAY what you do then you’re shooting yourself in the foot. And here’s another tidbit that can influence your decision: is the web domain available? You might have come up with a good name that says what you do. But if the web domain isn’t available, and you plan to someday have a website, should you keep the name?

Copyright

Be sure that the company name you choose isn’t already copyrighted by someone else!

Another word of advice here: Make sure the name you choose isn’t trademarked. Using a trademarked company name is just asking yourself for a lawsuit which you probably won’t win. So just to be safe, here’s our suggestion. Go to www.USPTO.gov and do a trademark search for the company name you wish to use.

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