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Ecwid for Small Business

How to Start a Small Business in Maine (ME)

Starting a business is a dream for many people around the world looking to express their creativity and try their hand at being an entrepreneur. No matter what kind of business you’re interested in, or where you are located, this is a great day and age to pursue those dreams.

That goes double for opening a business in Maine. They happen to be 8th in the nation for lowest sales tax and 10th in startup early survival rate. On top of that, they are also 15th in access to funding. So, what are you waiting for, Maine locals? Get to work!

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Maine’s Most Popular Businesses

To open up a business, you need an idea of what you want to offer your customers. You may already have something in mind, but if not, that’s okay! There are so many opportunities out there and great ideas for getting going with your business. In Maine, there are some fan-favorite businesses for both residents and visitors, like campgrounds, arcades, sea salt businesses, and drive-in movie theaters.

Planning Processes

When you plan to open a business, you have a lot of steps to take before those doors open. Don’t fret; they are not as scary as it seems. Here are some important things not to overlook:

1. Pick a name

Picking a name can be a very exciting step in the creation of your business. This is the way you will be remembered and mentioned by customers. You’ll want a name that properly represents your visions and values.

2.  Conduct market research

Before you open your doors, market research can be a very beneficial step. This allows you to learn more about your desired customers and their needs and wants from a business like yours. You have the chance to see what your competitors are doing and see how you can improve it or do something different for your store.

3.  Choose a structure

An important part of starting a business is to choose a business structure. This will help with credibility and against possible liabilities. Depending on your goals for the business and what suits you best, you could choose a structure such as an LLC, sole proprietorship, partnership, cooperation, or non-profit.

Registering in Maine

After you pick a business structure for your store, the next step is to register it in Maine under that structure. You may be asked for information such as your business’s name, employer identification number, formation documents, and who your registered agent is that handles your taxes. Depending on what structure you choose, the state of Maine may ask for different documentation or certifications.

It’s All About Location

When you choose to open a brick-and-mortar store, you will want to pay close attention to where you open. You will want to pick a place with high foot traffic, where you believe your customers frequent, and good word of mouth. In Maine, you can start with cities like Bangor and Portland and go from there. Fortunately, if you plan to open an entirely online business, you have all of Maine to explore.

Focus on Banking

To help with the finance side of business ownership, you will want to create a bank account solely for the store. This will help your personal assets stay separate and be easier to track transactions.

You can also get a credit card that is only for business as well. Not only will this help keep track of your transactions, but it can also help get a credit score for your store. If you want your finances to be even easier on you, you could look into getting a bank accountant or software that helps keep your finances organized and make tax season less of a burden for you.

Insure Your Business

As your business grows, it can be more open to risk and liabilities from all different angles. To help against it, insurance should be gotten. Workers’ Compensation Insurance, General Liability Insurance, and Professional Liability Insurance are all options to look at. In the state of Maine, however, if your business has one or more employees, you will need to have some sort of workers’ compensation insurance lined up.

Stay Legal

Depending on what type of business you have, you will most likely have some licenses or permits you need to acquire. To make sure you have all the necessary documents, you will need to look through federal, state, and city rules.

Hiring Employees

When your business gets to the stage of hiring employees, it can be a great new step. It shows excellent growth and excellence in your store. Hiring employees allows you to pick people who have the same visions and values that your business offers. While it can be fun, you want to make sure you are going about it legally. This can just mean making sure you are registered in the IRS for Employer Taxes and reporting all your new hires to Maine.

Branding

As you build your business, you will want to think out a proper branding strategy. This is the experience your customers will have while shopping with you, how they portray your store, and how you want to represent your values.

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

Asking yourself questions like these could help you narrow down exactly what kind of branding you want to explore.

Aside from branding, logo creation is one of the most significant creative decisions your store can make. This is a smaller version of branding that will go on price tags, bags, your website, and business cards. You’ll want to create a picture or set of words that truly represent your business.

Get Online

With our growing virtual world, having your business online can make a huge difference. This could be as simple as having a website. A website is where customers can find information, photos, your values, and even products if you want to showcase or sell from the site as well. Whether you have an online or brick-and-mortar store, social media can be vital in letting customers find you from everywhere. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Tik Tok are gold mines in growing your business by showing off your brand and products.

Online Business

If you have been set on opening an entirely online store, starting a website is a no-brainer. Companies like Ecwid are there to help make your website and connect your products to other selling platforms to get the most out of your online store.

Ecwid can help get your business and products out on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. When your products are located on so many other sites, it can be important to be able to track your sales and inventory. Ecwid does that as well. All on one dashboard, you can see your sales numbers and where those sales are coming from. Opening an online store doesn’t have to be as tricky as you may think. Ecwid is there to make the process easier and more beneficial for you and your business.

Marketing

While getting online is crucial, marketing is what gets you sales. Depending on the size and goals of your business, having a budget of $250 to $1,500 a month for marketing can be a great starting point. If you want to stick with offline marketing, that money can go towards items such as business cards, signage, pamphlets, and community events.

On the other hand, if you want to be online, the budget can buy ad space on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, or Youtube. These sites can also be beneficial to have a business page set up as well.

A good mix of these two ideas could be Google My Business. This is a free account where local customers can find your store and see information, photos, or anything else you want to provide.

Online or offline, a tried and true tactic would be email and text subscriptions. These can help create repeat customers.

Allow your business dreams to become a reality and start an online or in-person store based in Maine. Take that next step and get ready for the ride of your life!

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Transform it into an offline business later.

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You don’t have to worry about the office or warehouse if you choose to sell online. Save your time and money.

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Learn the basics

Starting an Online Store Business is Easy.
We’ll Show You.

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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Find a product

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To Sell Online?

Discover best-selling products and how you can start selling them online and make money.

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Select sales channels

Catch Your Customers Where They Are

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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