Ecwid for Small Business

How to Start a Small Business in Alaska (AK)

Starting a business can be an exhilarating endeavor. While it is exciting, it can also be incredibly challenging, so it’s important to know what you’re getting into beforehand.

If you want to open up a business in Alaska, some great benefits are available to you. Alaska is ranked 1st in lowest income tax, as well as 1st lowest in overall tax burden. If that isn’t motivational enough, Alaska is also 4th in fastest startup growth.

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Alaska’s Most Popular Businesses

Choosing what kind of business you want to open can be one of the most exciting aspects of entrepreneurship. You get to create something you are proud of and inspired by. In Alaska, there are some highly popular businesses that easily prosper in the state. Car repair and tire services are always needed in Alaska. For something more fun, you could think about a bike rental service, drive-in movie theater, or a hookah lounge as your business.

Planning Processes

The planning process can be a make-or-break step in your business goals. This step allows you to learn the field and understand what is needed from you to open a business. Here are some things to consider along the way:

1. Pick a name

One of the first steps in understanding your brand is choosing a good name for your business. To get a better idea of what name to give your business, you are going to want to understand your business’s values and goals. Depending on what kind of experience you want to give your customers, a business name should have a certain personality to it. 

You’ll want the business’s name to be meaningful, but also unique enough to be memorable and stand out in the crowd.

In Alaska, there are some rules to remember when picking the name of your business, but don’t let that squash your creativity or slow down your dreams.

2.  Conduct market research

Market research can be vital when learning about your competitors and your intended audience. You can run focus groups, conduct surveys, and see what your competitors are doing in the field to determine how to proceed. or find ways to grow your business.

3.  Choose a structure

In Alaska, registering your business under a proper structure will increase its credibility and protect it from any liabilities. You can choose from nonprofits, corporations, an LLC, a partnership, or a sole proprietorship.

Registering in Alaska

By this point, you should’ve already picked a business structure you want your store to be under. The next step is to register it under that name. To do so, you must submit your business’s name, a registered agent to do your business’ taxes, an employer identification number, and formation documents.

Depending on which business structure you did choose, there could be other requirements to register.

It’s All About Location

When you are thinking of opening a business, location can be vital. In a more remote state like Alaska, where you choose to open can be a huge influence on your potential to succeed.

Popular areas like Anchorage and Fairbanks could be places to look into. Of course, if you plan to open a business online, its location may not matter as much.

Focus on Banking

You may have your own banking accounts for yourself personally, but when you open up a business, you want to make sure to create separate accounts. This will make sure you aren’t putting your personal items at risk. You will also want to open up your own business’s credit card to help separate personal and business payments.

If you want some more help with finances, you could hire a business accountant or download software that handles your finances, which may also make tax season less stressful.

Insure Your Business

Just as you have insurance on your home and car, having business insurance can help against any liabilities or risks. This can mean looking into either General Liability Insurance, Workers’ Compensation Insurance, or Professional Liability Insurance. No matter what, the state of Alaska has rules stating that if there are one or more employees for a business, there needs to be some sort of Workers’ Compensation Insurance.

Hiring Employees

Finding just the right people to represent your brand and business could be a time-consuming task, but no matter what, it needs to be done legally. In Alaska, you need to make sure you are registered in the state while also reporting new hires to the Alaska state government.

Branding

Every business that we as consumers buy from has a brand and logo behind it, even if we don’t see it right away. A brand is a way to make a company stand out, mean something, and stand for something.

What do you want your brand to represent?
How do you want to be seen by your customers?

Asking yourself questions like these can be a great way to figure out your business’s brand and get started creating something you are proud of.

Next to a brand, a logo is also extremely important. A logo goes on price tags, a website, coupons, and business cards—and in the end is a way to express your brand within a picture.

Get Online

After creating a name, brand, and logo for your business, it could be time to create a website for your business. A website is a chance for your customers to find you and see a rundown of your business, values, brand, and so much more.

Whether you are creating a brick-and-mortar or fully online store, social media can be a great way to grow your business as well. Having a Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat page can help connect to your audience all over the globe.

Online Business

Your website can showcase your products and brand. If you are making a fully online store, companies like Ecwid could lead to success, as they can help you create a website or adjust the one you already have. 

They can also connect your brand and products to multiple social media platforms, like Facebook and Instagram, from your smartphone or computer. Having an online store through Ecwid also offers the ability to keep track of your inventory and sales all in one dashboard, so you can easily run your business and sell at the same time. If you plan to have an online business, Ecwid could be a very good resource to utilize.

Marketing

One of the greatest things about utilizing social media for your business is that you can also market from there as well. Posting your products and brand or even buying out ad space can help you reach your desired audience. 

Platforms like Facebook and Google My Business are also amazing ways to connect with local customers and reach out to the community. You can use Google My Business to allow people nearby to find your business and see information like your website, hours, or phone number. 

A tried and true form of marketing includes email and text message subscriptions. This tactic can be ideal for gaining repeat customers or building a direct line to customers. 

Offline marketing shouldn’t be forgotten, either. Business cards, pamphlets, community events, and billboards will never get old and will be great ways to market your store. Utilizing press releases and SEO techniques within your website can also get your business in the eyes of your desired customers as well. On average, depending on how large the business is and its goals, offline and online marketing could cost as little as $250 to $1,500 a month. 

No matter what, if you’ve been dreaming of opening a business in Alaska, now might just be the time to make it happen!

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So you’re ready to start selling online. Now the million-dollar question… where do you start?

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Read real stories

Get Yourself Ready
For Surprises

Check out our blog series all about starting an online store without prior experience. It‘s sort of like our own ecommerce reality show—starring Nicole.

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We’ll help you navigate through the market and find the most profitable channels.

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Start Your Business Online

Starting a business online is faster and cheaper.
Transform it into an offline business later.

Start Selling Online

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