Creating and maintaining a successful business is rewarding but also overwhelming. You want to make sure you have the proper tools for success, but where to begin? The following seven items are essential tools for any small business:
1. Get a Federal Tax Identification Number (TIN)
Social security numbers are normally acceptable TINs for independent contractors or sole proprietors, but if you have a business partner and/or employ workers, then you need an Employer Identification Number (EIN). This is used to identify your business, calculate annual business expenses for tax deductions, and calculate taxes owed to the government. Failure to register a TIN could cost you money in lost grants/loans, lost reimbursement for business expenses, and fines for unpaid taxes.
2. Establish Contact Options Dedicated to Your Business
Using your personal contact information for your business can lead to frustration over separating personal communications from business communications and can infringe on your privacy. Creating a business account is a fairly simple process since many servers allow multiple email addresses on one account, and there are several apps on the market (including Nextiva, eVoice, and Freshcaller) that allow you to set up a virtual phone number that can be routed directly to your phone or voicemail.
3. Create a Business Bank Account
A dedicated business bank account makes it easier to keep track of business expenses and income. Use this account to pay for business expenses such as supplies, overhead (rent/utilities/etc.), payroll, and taxes. Many banks also offer incentives to establish a small business account with them.
4. Create a Website for Your Business
Prospective clients often research new services and products online, so you must have a clear, accessible website for your business. A good website is eye-catching, provides information about your services, and provides an easy means of contact for clients wishing to learn more. Sites such as GoDaddy, Wix, and Squarespace offer simple web-building services and can be very reasonably priced, depending upon your needs. Make sure to update your site as your business grows, as consumer trends can change rapidly.
5. Develop a Strong Social Media Presence
Social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn are essential for expanding your professional network and advertising your services. LinkedIn is excellent for networking, while Instagram and Twitter are highly useful advertising tools. Of course, just as you keep a separate bank account or email address for business purposes, make sure to have a designated business page for your media.
6. Save Time With Money Counters
Cash transactions can save you money and time since there are neither credit card fees to pay nor waiting periods for deposits into your account. Money counting equipment is an invaluable tool for quickly and accurately counting your cash earnings. Some devices, including AccuBANKER money counters, offer additional security through counterfeit bill detection features.
7. Invest in Credit Card Processors
Credit card processors are essential for businesses both online and offline, allowing transactions for the growing number of people who prefer cashless payments. Credit card processing companies do charge transaction fees and may hold funds for a short period, but having a credit card processor provides greater options for business transactions.
Developing a small business is challenging and, at times stressful, but can ultimately be very rewarding. The seven elements listed above are essential for any small business and can provide a secure and stable foundation for your company.