Do your homework

Your business will have the best chance to succeed if you do research prior to renting a commercial storefront or purchasing a building or lot. Hours spent studying your proposed business idea can save you money in the long run and can give you the proper information to avoid unsound business decisions. We recommend taking the following steps:

Create a Business Plan

A business plan serves two primary purposes: it helps a business owner analyze whether or not their great idea can bring in more revenue than it costs to produce, and it explains the business idea in great detail to potential investors or commercial lending institutions. This will help you get financing for your business endeavor.

Here's tips on writing your business plan:

Develop a projected budget for year 1 of your business (and beyond)

Developing a projected budget allows you to demonstrate your business’ potential profitability to potential lenders or investors.  If you plan on taking out a business loan to get started, be aware that a commercial lender will almost certainly want to see your startup budget before loaning you any money.

Most business schools and small business advisers recommend that you put together a projected budget for the first two to five years of your operation, and the farther you can project out, the better. At minimum, we suggest a projected budget for your first year so you can measure your startup costs against your projected revenues.

Make sure you’re properly capitalized

Many businesses take out small business loans from banks, credit unions, or other commercial lending institutions to get themselves up and running.  A general rule of thumb is to make sure you have enough operating capital on hand to run your business comfortably for a year assuming you make $0 in your first year.

Register your business with the Feds and State

Registering your business with the federal government and the state of Wisconsin is required by law.  Complete the following tasks:

Choose a business organizational structure (i.e. S-Corporation, C-Corporation, Limited Liability Company, Sole Proprietorship, etc.) – The choice you make here can have an impact on multiple aspects of your business, including taxes, liability, ownership succession, and others. We recommend that you consult your legal advisor and accountant before deciding the type of business entity to form.

Here are some helpful resources:

Register your business with the federal government – Fill out form SS-4 from the IRS for use with your federal taxes.  This will provide you with an Employer Identification Number for your business. Here’s a link to the IRS: