YOU’RE IN BUSINESS – MAKING IT OFFICIAL
© Company Reimagined
So you’ve established your small business.
There’s a lot of celebrating to be done after all of your accomplishments thus far, but there’s a lot of technical details to address at the finish line of your long trek to establish a small business or startup. From patents to trademarks to bank accounts, there’s much to do to make it official in the eyes of state and federal government, as well as the business and investment community.
Where to begin? What do you need to do to ensure you’ve crossed everything off your list to launch your small business and introduce your brand to the world?
First, register your business with the state you live in, as a corporation, LLC, sole proprietorship, etc. Once you register your business, you’ll get liability protection. And, if you trademark your business name, you’ll protect your business from others who may try to snag the same business name. After trademarking your business name, your business will have the strongest level of protections provided from the government and it will certify it as a recognized business in your state. There are typically expenses tied to registering for these designations and protections and there may be annual fees to renew the registrations. You will also need to register for state and federal tax ID numbers (EIN), to officiate the launch of your business. As of late 2018, there wasn’t a cost for filing for an EIN, and it’s a simple application process. Don’t fall for the online service providers charging as much as $500 “to help you” do what you can do in less than a half hour.
In addition, you must apply for any appropriate licenses and permits related to your business or industry to cover all your bases when it comes to playing by the rules. Sound like a lot to start off with? It gets easier from here.
Make sure that you set up a business bank account for your company to manage all your company’s revenue in one place. You’ll need to bring your identification, your business license, any legal incorporation documents you have, and your tax identification number to open your business’s account with a bank. There’s typically little to no fees associated with opening this type of account, but be prepared just in case there’s a small fee, typically no more than $50. You may be required to have a minimum balance when you open the business banking account.
If you have specific products or technology associated with your business that you’re creating, or hope to create, you’ll want to apply for a patent. To do this, you’ll first want to make sure that a patent for your invention doesn’t already exist, that your invention qualifies for a patent at all, and be sure that you’ve documented your process of creating and inventing the product in very detailed language, so that it’s easy to prove you really are the sole owner and creator of your invention. Some startups hire an attorney or subject matter expert to help them with guidance and vetting through this process, and it may be well worth it. There’s also a significant time and financial investment that comes with pursuing a patent, but that shouldn’t hold up your show. You can establish and continue operating your business while concurrently pursuing your patent or determining if you should have one.
Want to make sure no one else steals your business name after you’ve launched? Of course you do! You’ll want to be sure to trademark your small business’ name with the U.S .Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the same office you seek patents at. This will cost you a fee that ranges between $100 – $400, depending on your business, but it provides you with many advantages that protect your business from others, like competitors, trying to take your intellectual property. Within six months of filling your business’ name with the USPTO, you should receive a response.
10 Hot Pitch Competitions
© Company Reimagined
More and more pitch competitions are emerging globally each year. An international, national or local pitch competition is an avenue for you to share your business or business concept to attract business community support, investor interest, media coverage, and some major cash! There are multiple pitch competitions all over the world and below are 10 to consider. Check out each to see eligibility requirements, pitch guidelines, submission criteria, deadlines, and rewards because it varies from competition to competition. With research, you’ll find even more pitch competitions and similar entrepreneurial contests available locally, regionally, nationally, and globally. Try one or try several. Give it a try and good luck!
- The Startup Conference
The Startup Conference is held in California, and it’s for startups with less than $2M in funding and less than 4 years old. The cash prize is $120,000 and a lot of exposure. For more information, visit: http://thestartupconference.com/startup-competition/
- TechCrunch Disrupt
TechCrunch takes place in San Francisco, New York, and Berlin. The winner gets $50,000 and exposure. For more information, visit: https://techcrunch.com/event-info/disrupt-sf-2018/
- QuickPitch Competition
QuickPitch Competition is hosted in San Diego. It’s a platform for startups to compete and win a cash prize of $50,000. For more information, visit: https://quickpitchsd.com/
- Hello Tomorrow Challenge
This startup competition, held in Paris, gives entrepreneurs an opportunity to empower deep-tech enterprises and also a cash prize of 100,000 euro. For more information, visit: http://www.hello-tomorrow.org/startups
- CodeLaunch Startup Expo
The CodeLaunch Pitch Day competition happens in Texas, mainly for entrepreneurs with ideas for new applications. The winner of the competition in 2017 won $35,000 and other amazing benefits. For more information about the eligibility for the competition, visit: http://www.codelaunch.com/
- U Pitch Competition
This competition takes place in Chicago and is mainly for student entrepreneurs to win $10,000. For more information visit: http://futurefounders.com/startup/uppitch/https://quickpitchsd.ccom/
- Get In The Ring
This pitch competition is in more than 100 countries worldwide. This platform allows entrepreneurs to compete to gain exposure and to get to know investors. For more information, visit: https://getinthering.co/competition/
- Hatch Pitch
Hatch Pitch is a startup competition in Houston, for tech startups to get an opportunity to meet investors and gain exposure. For more information, visit: https://www.haatchpitch.com/about/
- Startup Pitch Night
In 15 countries worldwide, Startup Pitch Night creates an opportunity for startups to improve their pitch. For more information, visit: https://www.startuppitchnight.com/startuppitchnigh/
- Startup Of The Year
Boston hosts Startup Of The Year which enables startups to get access to many tech investors, influencers and mentors, plus media exposure. For more information, visit: https://www.startupoftheyear.com