Stay Organized and Take Notes
Building a Business, Part 1
Click here for articles following my journey in building a business. I hope that these articles benefit at least a few current and future entrepreneurs. I know that I have benefitted from the distilled observations of many who came before me.
I went to bed early and woke up early, so I might as well churn out this simple first article that will serve as one of the most important in the series—at least for a substantial portion of business builders.
Notes and The Challenge of Getting Started
As with most everything else, the hardest part of building a business is getting started—at least until you're accustomed to getting a business started. And we all know that. And we all know why it's hard: before you've jumped through the bureaucratic hoops, you are blind to the process of jumping through each hoop.
Thankfully, unlike in many nations the hoops we have to jump through for basic business formation in the U.S. are relatively simple. There is business over-regulation per some industries, but that's another bridge to cross. For the most part, the process can be turned into a simple roadmap and checklist. Such a checklist may vary from state to state, so you do have a little bit of homework to do that I can't help you with. But having formed around ten LLCs and corporate entities and LLCs in numerous states, I can say that the scariest part is simply not knowing what to do at the outset. For this reason, there are approximately fourteen trillion business checklists online to help you through the process. Here is one.
I have good news—actually great news: None of these steps is particularly hard. This ain't rocket science!
Oddly enough, I imagined these steps to be harder than they were, and the first time I formed a simple business, I had somebody walk me through the process. I did not take good notes, thinking that I was supposed to be forming a general understanding of a process. Frustratingly, I got too far into the process without having a good checklist that simplifies the top level view of the process—and that's what makes it easy. There is not much to understand: The state wants a very basic set of information from you:
An address (or a proxy, but we can talk about that another time),
The name of the business (yeah, duh, right?),
And a few additional details.
The Operating Agreement is the only item on the checklist more complicated than filling out a credit card application, which several billion college freshman manage to accomplish annually when presented with a free t-shirt or bag of chocolate in return for the three minute information exchange. Click the link if you aren't sure what an Operating Agreement is, but understand that most people use a template on Day 1. From there, you amend your Operating Agreement as a matter of codifying the way your business runs internally.