By Dr. Cindy Briggs
It was summer 1978 and I was 10-years-old. We lived in a neighborhood where everyone would be out in their driveways, chatting, barbecuing, and enjoying the company of their neighbors. As my friends and I rode up and down the street, we had an idea… we needed to create a lemonade stand. We knew we had customers ready, and we all had ideas of what we could do to pitch in.
Shawn ran to his house because he said his parents had lots of extra cups, Laura went home to get the lemonade, and she had some poster board to make the sign. I ran to my dad to ask if we could use a table, and if we could plant our business at the end of our driveway. Once all assembled again, we realized we needed ice, and my neighbor, Mrs. Dowler said she would donate the ice to our venture.
There it was…our lemonade stand. We quickly decided to charge .10 per cup (we technically had no overhead costs so it was pure profit!) We never once worried about cottage food laws, or getting our business license, or doing market research. We just had an idea, a passion, and the drive to make it happen.
As we grow up, we realize that staring a business isn’t as easy as those old lemonade stands. We do need to think about the structure of our business, and the forms we need to complete, taxes, and much more. However, what if for just a few minutes we focused on the passion and the drive. Let’s take that idea… the one burning inside of you… and let’s just dream for a bit. What if you CAN make it work? What if it IS easier than you have imagined? What if…. just what if…. you CAN be an entrepreneur?
I can’t give you every single thing you need to do in business in one single blog post, but I can definitely get you started! Let’s start with four steps and then I am going to give you a little homework.
- Write down your idea. You don’t need a name yet, or even a structure. Just write down the idea. Explain what your service/product would be, and imagine your ideal customer. Then answer this… WHY do you want to do this particular thing?
- Now that you have it written down, you need to determine the best business model for your idea. You can check out my freebie at www.cindybriggsphd.com to help you identify the best structure for your business.
- Now is the time to finalize a name. Be sure to do a search through your Secretary of State office (for your state). You can usually do a quick Google search also.
- File for your EIN number. That means your employer identification number with the IRS. DO NOT PAY for this to be done for you. You can do it yourself…free of charge. Just go to: https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/apply-for-an-employer-identification-number-ein-online and complete the information. WHY should you do this now? Because as you move forward in developing your business– you will be asked for this number. It is good to have it done right away.
These are just initial steps in the formation of your organization. Whether you are doing for profit or non profit… you have just made the very first steps towards that dream.
Before long, you will be selling that lemonade, and the neighborhood will be cheering you on!