Whether you want to escape your mundane job or want to expand on an idea you have, starting a business in Kansas is a great way to pursue different interests and create a new income stream. But, if you’ve never started a business before, you may wonder how you even begin.
In this article, you will find a step-by-step guide on how to start your Kansas business from scratch, as well as other helpful information like which business structure to choose and how to market your business successfully.
Step 1: Choose Your Idea
Choosing an idea can be difficult as you have to come up with an idea in the first place, and you’ll also need to decide if the idea will work. This idea is what you are going to be building your business on, so you must choose one carefully. At this point, your chosen idea doesn’t need to be overly thought out, as this is still the creative thinking process of starting a business.
If you’re struggling to come up with a business idea, try answering the following questions:
- What are my hobbies and passions? Consider your passions, hobbies, and interests, and decide if you can turn them into a profitable business.
- Do you see yourself enjoying running the business?
- Is there a place for my business in the marketplace? This is a particularly good thing to consider if many businesses like yours are already in Kansas.
- How could my business benefit the needs of my local community?
Step 2: Pick a Name
Picking the right name for your business is a big deal. The name you have chosen will be the first thing many potential customers will see and hear. Their first impressions and thoughts on your business will be based on your chosen name.
Here are some things to consider when picking a name for your business:
- The name should be easy to pronounce and read.
- The name should be 100% unique. In fact, the state of Kansas does not allow businesses to register their business name if it is already in use. You can check out the Kansas Secretary of State’s website to conduct a business entity search.
- The name should be somewhat relevant to the industry your business is in.
If you are battling to come up with a name for the business, try out the following methods to get your gears turning:
- Use an online name generator.
- Ask friends on Facebook for their opinions.
- Hold a brainstorming session with friends and family.
- Create a word dump.
Step 3: Write Your Business Plan
Once you have decided on your business idea and name, you must write up your business plan. Your business plan will have everything one needs to know about your business, from starting the business to how the business will be run.
A good business plan is also a great way of attracting investors for your business, especially if you include all the necessary financial information.
While there are no rules as to what needs to be included in the business plan, you should at least include the following:
- Information on your product or services. Describe what services you are offering.
- Explain why you have started the business. Answer the question: what consumer problem does the business solve?
- Explain what makes your business different from those already in the market.
- Describe your target market and how you plan on turning them into paying customers.
- Describe your marketing and sales strategies.
- Calculate all relevant financial information, such as how much you need to start the business, how much you will need to sell to make a profit, how much you will need to break even, and where you will get funding if required.
- Outline the different roles in the business and what skills you will need to fill them successfully.
Writing a business plan does not have to be complicated. Many free and ready-to-download business plan templates are available online if you’re unsure where to start.
Step 4: Get Funding
To start a business, you need to have money for capital, and if you cannot fund this yourself, you will need to get funding elsewhere. The three ways to get funding in Kansas are a grant, a loan, or an investor.
Getting a grant for your business is the most desirable as you do not have to pay this money back. However, they are the most difficult to get as they are a set of requirements businesses need to meet. The state of Kansas provides some information online about how to find funding for your business.
Getting a loan for the business is your next best option if you do not meet the requirements for a grant. The state of Kansas has several funding programs available on their Kansas Business One Stop online center. Visit their website to see what funding your business may qualify for. Alternatively, you can go the private route and get a loan from your bank or friends and family. As a top tip, make sure you always get everything in writing. Even if you are borrowing money from a close family member, the last thing you want is for money to get in the way of your relationship.
If you’re looking for investors, look at your connections. See if your family, friends, colleagues, or acquaintances want a piece of your business. Alternatively, you can try crowdfunding or seek out angel investors. Your business plan will come in handy here.
Step 5: Choose a Business Structure
Now, you will need to choose which business structure to use. It is crucial to select the proper business structure for your business needs.
A sole proprietorship is an informal business structure where there is no separation between the owner’s personal assets and the business’s. In other words, the sole owner is liable for the business. Low-risk businesses most commonly use this structure.
A partnership is also an informal business structure similar to a sole proprietorship, as there is no separation between business and personal assets. The only difference between the two business structures is that a partnership has more than one owner, all with equal shares in the business.
Limited Liability Company
A limited liability company, or LLC, is one of the most popular choices of business structures used by small to medium-sized businesses. An LLC is a great option if you’re looking for something that offers the flexibility of a sole proprietorship with the liability protection of a corporation.
S or C Corporation
An S or C corporation is the most formal business structure available. This business structure is commonly used by large companies that have multiple shareholders. Large companies favor this business structure because it is a separate entity from the owners. There are many tax benefits to forming a corporation.
Step 6: Register Your Business
Once you have chosen your business structure, you must register the business to operate legally.
There is no need to register a sole proprietorship with the Kansas Secretary of State. To operate legally, simply follow the previous steps and get started. Unlike many other states, Kansas does not require you to register a trade name (a business name that is anything other than your legal name). However, if you wish to register it, you may do so.
There is no need to register a partnership with the Kansas Secretary of State. However, the state does issue certificates for partnership agreements if you would like to file one. This can be done in the Kansas Secretary of State business section. You will need to create a profile on the site before proceeding. Additionally, you should file for a trade name if applicable.
Limited Liability Company
The cost to register your business in Kansas is $165.
C or S-Type Corporation
Registering a corporation is a very similar process to registering an LLC. First, you must complete and file the Articles of Incorporation with the Kansas Secretary of State. The cost to do this online is $85.
Step 7: Set Up Your Finances & Accounting
A critical step in starting a business is to set up your finances and accounting systems.
To set up your finances, you can open a bank account for the business, get a credit card for business expenses, and set up a payment method for customers to use. Finally, you should set up a payroll system if you have employees.
Hiring an accountant to run the business’s accounts can help ensure everything runs smoothly, especially if this is the first time you are starting a business.
Step 8: Get Business Insurance
Running a business without any business insurance is very risky; you should at least get a general liability insurance policy. This is a broad type of insurance policy that covers everything you need to run your business daily.
There are many other types of business insurance to choose from. And what you need will depend on the type of business you own.
If you aren’t sure what kind of insurance to get for your specific needs, speak to your local insurance broker for professional advice.
Step 9: Obtain Any Permits or Licenses Needed
While Kansas does not issue a statewide general business license, different counties have different requirements. You can find out what license your business may need by visiting the Kansas Licenses and Permits website.
If your business sells goods that collect sales tax, you must register with the Kansas Department of Revenue for a Sales Tax Permit.
Step 10: Build a Website
Every business should have a good business website. When building a website, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Make sure your web domain name is still available.
- Make sure your business name is upfront and easy to read.
- Ensure the font you use is neat and not too difficult to read.
- Don’t fill your web pages with unnecessary images, graphics, and GIFs, as this can slow loading times.
- Make sure the website is compatible with smartphones.
- Include a call to action so potential clients or customers can easily get in touch with you.
Step 11: Hire Employees (If Any)
When you find yourself running out of time to complete everything that needs to be done when running your business, it may be time to hire employees. Put an ad out and wait for applications from qualified potential hires. Set up interviews with your favorite applications and find a person that not only fits your requirements.
Kansas requires that all new hires be reported to the Kansas Payment Center within 20 days of their hire date. There is no fee to report new hires.
Step 12: Market Your Business
The final step in forming a business in Kansas is to market your business. Luckily, there are so many different ways to do this.
- Advertise on your website.
- Create events and engage with customers on social media.
- Attend local events and markets.
- Attend local networking events.
- Run promos and giveaways.
- Hand out business flyers.
- Advertise on your local radio and TV station.
Alternatively, you can hire someone to manage your business’s marketing.