Start a Business

This is the sign you've been looking for neon signage

Camera Icon Austin Chan / Unsplash

Step 1: Business Planning and Research

Think of this as your business' blueprint. At this stage, you define what your business is going to be, who your customers are, and how you'll make money. This involves conducting market research to understand the demand, competition, and potential pitfalls. A business plan outlines your mission, vision, target market, competitive landscape, financial projections, and marketing strategies.

In Simple Terms: Before you start building a house, you need a solid plan and a good understanding of the materials you'll use, the neighborhood you're building in, and how many rooms you need. Similarly, before you start a business, you need a plan that outlines what you're going to sell, who's going to buy it, and how you're going to make it all happen.

Grab Your Business Website Name

Before you get caught up in the whirlwind of setting up your business, invest in a domain name. It's a small but significant step that lays the foundation for your brand and makes it easier for customers to find and trust you. Just like you wouldn't build a house without securing the land first, don't build a business without securing your domain name.


Your domain name is more than just a web address; it's an essential part of your brand identity. It's what people will type into their browsers to find you. Securing a domain name that closely aligns with your business name helps you present a unified and professional image right from the get-go.


Having a domain name adds an element of legitimacy to your business. When consumers see that you have a dedicated domain name rather than a generic one (e.g.,, they're more likely to trust you. It's akin to having a business card versus scribbling your contact info on a piece of paper.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Having your own domain name can benefit your SEO strategy. Search engines like Google give weightage to domain names when ranking websites. A domain name with keywords related to your business can help you rank higher in search results, thus bringing more eyeballs to your product or service.

Avoid Losing the Perfect Domain

Good domain names are like good real estate—they're in high demand and can get snapped up quickly. If you delay purchasing your domain name, you might find that someone else has grabbed it, and then you're either out of luck or need to negotiate to buy it at a much higher price.

Early Marketing

Once you have a domain name, you can start marketing your business—even before you launch. A "Coming Soon" page with an email capture can help you start building an audience. You can also set up professional email addresses (e.g.,, which can be used on business cards and in other preliminary marketing materials.


Owning your domain name gives you the flexibility to move your website to any hosting provider without losing your web address. It's like owning a piece of land where you can build, rebuild, or renovate your store as you please.


Compared to other startup costs, a domain name is relatively inexpensive. Yet, its value can be immense. For the cost of a few cups of coffee a year, you can secure a critical asset for your business.

Once your plan is set, you'll need to take care of the "official" parts of starting a business. This includes registering your business name, getting necessary licenses or permits, and setting up a business bank account. You'll also need to decide on a business structure (e.g., sole proprietor, LLC, corporation) as this impacts taxes, liability, ownership power, etc.

In Simple Terms: Imagine you're throwing a big party. You'd need to send out official invites (registering your business), maybe get a permit if it's a big outdoor event (licenses), and pool your party funds separately from your personal money (business bank account). This step makes sure your business is legit and operates smoothly within the law.

Northwest Registered Agent

Professional formation services make starting a business pain-free.

Form Your Business Today
Business Insurance

Having the right insurance coverage is essential to protecting your business and your livelihood. If you formed your company, obtain insurance.

Learn about Business Insurance

Step 3: Develop and Market Your Product/Service

The final step is actually bringing your idea to life and introducing it to the market. This involves everything from creating your product or service to developing a marketing plan to attract customers. It’s essential to offer something that meets a need or solves a problem for your target audience. You'll also need a sales strategy, and possibly even a storefront, whether that's a physical location or an online platform.

In Simple Terms: Now that you've planned your big party and gotten the permits, you need to actually throw it. This means buying the food, setting up the decorations, and most importantly, getting people to come. For a business, this is the stage where you make what you're selling and get people interested in buying it.