Ecwid for Small Business
How to Start a Small Business in Maryland (MD)
Has opening a business been one of your life goals since you were a child? There is no reason to let those goals go unchecked. Opening a business in Maryland, in particular, can open so many doors.
Maryland ranks 6th nationwide in overall quality of life and 7th in startup early survival rate. On top of that, Maryland is also 8th in access to venture capital. This could be your time to shine in the business world. And Maryland could be just the place to make it happen.
Maryland’s Most Popular Businesses
When the idea to open up a business first comes to your mind, you may already have an idea of what you want to pursue. It should be something that excites you and can keep you motivated as your business grows. In Maryland, there are some popular types of businesses for residents and visitors, including care homes, banks, and clothing boutiques. Whatever you do choose to open, do it with your own vision in mind.
There are particular steps that are needed to be taken to open your business properly. Don’t worry though, these tasks can be fun and may even get you even more motivated for the business developments to come.
1. Pick a name
To even open a business you will need a name. This name is what customers perceive as a representation of your business values and goals. In Maryland, there are some rules to keep in mind while choosing a name, but don’t let those stop you from opening your dream store.
2. Conduct market research
Research your industry and try to identify your target audience. This research step allows you to learn what your desired customers are going to want and need from a business like yours. It can also help see what your competitors are doing and give you the chance to improve your strategies.
3. Choose a structure
To properly open your business, you want to choose a business structure that will correctly represent your business goals. This could look like an LLC, sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or
Registering in Maryland
Once you have selected the perfect business structure, you must go and register it with the state of Maryland. To register it under a certain structure, they may ask for information such as your business’s name, formation documents, employer identification number, and the name of your registered agent who handles the business’s taxes. Depending on which structure you chose, the state may ask for different documentation or certifications.
It’s All About Location
Location can make or break your business. This can be the difference between high or low sales. While picking a location you will want an area with a high amount of foot traffic, high word of mouth, and access to your customers base. In Maryland, you could try cities like Baltimore and Silver Spring. Research if these will suit your store. If you are thinking of opening a fully online store in Maryland, though, it could be said that you have a lot more options in the state.
Focus on Banking
Creating a separate bank account for your business can not only help keep your personal finances separate but can also help keep your personal affairs safe, too. Consider obtaining a credit card solely for the business. On top of keeping transactions organized, a credit card will help you earn a credit score for your business. Also consider hiring a bank accountant or selecting business accounting software, which can help keep your finances in order and make tax season less stressful.
Insure Your Business
Owning a business comes with certain risks and potential liabilities. To help keep these at bay, you can sign up for insurance for your business and employees. Consider workers’ compensation insurance, general liability insurance, or professional liability insurance. No matter what you may choose, in the state of Maryland, if your business has one or more employees you must have some sort of workers’ compensation insurance.
If you consider hiring employees for your business, know that this can be an amazing stepping stone. It shows growth and the potential to serve more clients/customers. To ensure you are going about it legally, though, make sure you are registered with the IRS for employer taxes and that you are reporting all your new hires to the state of Maryland.
When it comes to branding, you want to choose an image for your company that will help it stand out from competitors. This is your chance to offer a unique experience to your customers and demonstrate a high level of quality.
What do you want your brand to represent?
How do you want to be seen by your customers?
Questions like these can help you narrow down your values and priorities and determine how to brand your business.
Just as important as branding, a logo also helps represent your business. A logo is how customers will recognize you, as this image will be printed on price tags or business cards. A proper logo should be something that represents your company’s branding and values.
With our world becoming more and more virtual, an online presence is essential for your business. Set up a website. This is where your customers can find you and see information, values, branding, and even products (if you want to sell directly from your site).
No matter, if you have an online or
If you were hoping to open an online store, having a website is an obvious first start.
Companies like Ecwid are out there to help create a website and to connect your products with other selling platforms, like Instagram and Facebook. Ecwid can also help you track all your sales and inventory from one simple dashboard. From there you can evaluate which sites are doing better than others, and when you would need to restock an item.
Existing online can only do much; it is the marketing strategy behind it that helps you get sales. Depending on the size of your business and your goals, a monthly marketing budget of $250 to $1,500 could be helpful. If you want to stick to offline marketing, this money can go towards items such as business cards, signage, pamphlets, or community events.
If online marketing is more your speed, that budget can go towards paying for ad space on sites like Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube. Having business pages on these platforms can also increase customer awareness.
A solid mix of online and offline marketing includes the use of Google My Business. This free program allows local customers to find you easily, share information and photos of your business, and even rate their experience with you. One last marketing tactic involves email and text subscriptions. This is a proven way to get repeat customers and showcase deals.
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