It is recommended to keep your business finance separate from your personal finances. Therefore, right after completing all the legal steps of forming a business, you can go ahead and open a business bank account. If you have an LLC, you will need your EIN number and a copy of certificate of business formation (you should receive it by mail after completing the Legal Steps II). 

The bank account should be free and you will receive a free debit card as well. You will also be asked if you want to order checks. There is a charge for it. In my case, they have asked for $100. There are cheaper options available. So, I passed on that one.

Click here to visit my store – www.musebazaar.com.

If you have formed an LLC or a corporation you will need to obtain an Employer Identification Number from the IRS. As a sole proprietor you can use your social security number for tax purposes or obtain an EIN.

In addition, you need to register with your state’s Division of Revenue for tax purposes.

To request  Employer Identification Number (EIN) follow the IRS link below and click on APPLY ONLINE NOW link.

http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0%2C%2Cid%3D102767%2C00.html

EIN is used in opening a bank account, filing a tax return, etc.

After completing the online application, you will receive an EIN number immediately.

To register with NewJersey Division of Revenue for tax purposes, click on the link below -

https://www.state.nj.us/cgi-bin/treasury/revenue/dcr/reg/sos_dcrnew01_page1.cgi.

Click here to visit my store – www.musebazaar.com.

This step is required for all legal entities except sole proprietorship. Since I have chosen the LLC legal structure then filing with the state is required. Before you can proceed with the actual filing there are a few decisions regarding the location of your business  and what state to file in that you need to make:

First you need to decide if you want to file in your own state or other states like Delware, Nevada, etc. It is best to discuss the different advantages or disadvantages with your accountant and lawyer. In my case, I have decided to file with my own state of New Jersey. I have also considered filing in New York but it is more expensive as there is a publishing requirement that can cost over $1,000 alone in Manhattan.

Second, you need to decide what is the address of your business. You may choose to use your home address or a mail box. To simplify the matter, I have decided to use my home address. 

You are now ready to file your LLC or corporation. It costs $125 in New Jersey and you can do it online. The link below will take you to the New Jersey Division of Revenue On-line Business Filing and Registration Service  – https://www.state.nj.us/treasury/revenue/dcr/filing/leadpg.htm.

For more information on forming an LLC in NJ visit http://www.citmedialaw.org/legal-guide/new-jersey/forming-llc-new-jersey.

Congratulations!!! You have now completed the filing for your LLC.

Click here to visit my store – www.musebazaar.com.

From the start, you will need to make a decision about the Business Entity type. There are multiple choices available and it is best to consult your attorney and accountant before making a decision as there are legal and tax implications.

For me the choice was between two options: 

1) Sole Proprietorship – it is easier to establish and there is less legal paperwork. However, you and your business are one and there is no separation between your assets and business assets.

2) Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) – there is more legal paperwork but it provides separation between your personal assets and business assets.

I have chosen to go with the LLC option as it was really important for me to separate between personal assets and business assets.

A good place to learn more about the different options is to visit the Small Business Administration (SBA) site at http://www.sba.gov/smallbusinessplanner/start/chooseastructure/START_FORMS_OWNERSHIP.html.

Click here to visit my store – www.musebazaar.com.

After you have chosen the name for your website, you are ready to choose the name for your business. This was an easy choice for me as I wanted the name of  the business to be the same as the name of the website. It doesn’t have to be that way and sometimes there are considerations for them not to be the same.

The next step is to verify that the name is available in your state.  Here is the link to check business name availability in the state of New Jersey – https://www.state.nj.us/cgi-bin/treasury/revenue/dcr/filing/page1.cgi. You will need to enter the name of the business and choose the type of the business entity (for example NJ Domestic Limited Liability Company or LLC). Even if you are not sure yet what business entity you can choose one of the options just to submit the name for verification. You then click on Submit Business Name button. It will take you to another screen and you will need to enter Business Designator (for Example LLC) and click on a Submit Business Name and Designator. If the business name is taken the system will notify you that the name is not available.

Once you confirmed that the business name is available you can proceed with other Legal steps.

Click here to visit my store – www.musebazaar.com.

Once you have decided on the name for your website you want to register it as soon as possible. There are many companies that provide this service. Two of the biggest providers are http://www.godaddy.com and http://www.1and1.com.

There are several factors to considers before selection a provider:
1) First year cost
2) Annual renewal cost – registration is for one year and need to be renewed annually
3) Private registration cost – this feature protects your contact information from appearing in the information provided by www.whois.com.

I have chosen to go with 1and1 because they provide free private registration and that was important to me. GoDaddy charges $8.99 for this feature.

Some web hosting plans provide free domain registration. However, I plan to use an ecommerce provider that will host the website and therefor did not consider these plans.

Click here to visit my store – www.musebazaar.com.

You have made the decision to start a new business. Congratulations!!!

One of the first things I had to do is to select a name for the website. This was actually more involved then I initially thought.

Here are the steps that I followed:

1) First, I have googled to see what information is available on choosing a name. There are multiple sites that provide you with basic guidelines. One of the key recommendations was that it needs to be short (less than 7 characters or so).

2) My next step was to try to come up with short names or combination of names. I used http://www.godaddy.com to check if the name was available or already taken. This turned out to be a challenge since many of the obvious short names are already taken.

3) Then I realized that the name doesn’t have to be exactly describing what you are doing but can be another word that represents the essence of what you are doing. In some cases the name is totally unrelated to the actual business activities. Think about all the known brands like “Google”, “Amazon”, “Nike”, “Blue Nile”, etc. You get the picture. I tried very hard to select a cool word that was available but no luck. I tried to create a new word by combining various letters to get a word that had a good sound to it. That didn’t work for me either. Totally new words just didn’t sound good to me. I also tried to create a new word by combining together parts of two separate words.

4) I tried to use a translator http://www.freetranslation.com to see if I can come with a phrase in Italian or French. Many of the words and phrases were already taken but I had a lot of fun learning how to say words in Italian and French.

5) Another option was to use your name or initials as part of the name. There were more options available.

6) Lastly, it helps if you have family or friends who can be your sounding board as you trying to choose a name.

After about two weeks of searching, I was able to pick a name that everyone seemed to be happy with. Yee!!!

Finally, I can move to the next steps.

Search Engine  Optimization Tip – choosing a domain name that is optimized for SEO is very important in driving traffic to your site and can save you a lot of money and time. It is best to use one of the keyword research tools described in my blog post Product – Niche Market Research to find a strong keyword for your market niche and use it as a base for your website name. 

Click here to visit my store – www.musebazaar.com.

About This Blog

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This blog will take you on a journey of starting an online retail store.

Inspired by Tim Ferris’s book “The 4-Hour Workweek”, I have decided to create an online jewelry store and enter the world of ecommerce. In this blog, you will find the steps I followed to start my internet store.  

Click here to visit my store – www.musebazaar.com.

Best,

Ziva