Episode #326: What Not to Forget When Starting a New Business
TAYLOR BRADFORD: You are listening to episode number 326 of the Boss Girl Creative podcast. Today I’m talking about the nitty gritty things that you need to remember to do when you start a new business. On to the episode.
Hello, and welcome to Episode 326. I’m your host Taylor Bradford, thank you so much for tuning in today. Today’s topic is all about the nitty gritty things that you’ve got to remember to do when you start a new business. It’s also a great refresher in case you haven’t done these things for your own business. Before I dive into today’s episode, want to remind you that the Inner Circle membership is on a waitlist right now, if you want to get yourself on the waitlist so that you are alerted when the doors reopen, go to bossgirlcreative.com/InnerCircle.
Okay, it’s almost fall, which is amazing. It’s my favorite time of year, I’m still kind of recovering from whatever I had last week, which was an anomaly. And, oh, we’re super busy. And we’re about to get even busier. And oh, by the way, we’re starting a roofing business. And, you know, that’s just, this is just how my life goes. And so because I’m starting a brand new business, my husband and I are starting this brand new business, it means that I get to teach you through the things that I do to get this business off the ground. And so that’s what today’s topic is all about. Plus, there is another potential business, kind of floating in the wings and putting out there, we’re trying to start a wedding venue. And I will be starting a wedding venue one way or the other, whether or not it is in the next six months, or in the next few years. That is the goal. So that’s out in the universe, but it might happen sooner rather than later. And so I’m also prepping for that potential. So when starting any new business, obviously, there’s a lot of things that you need to check off a to do list and task list in order to even start the ball rolling with your new business.
First up on your list is going to be a name for your business. And that can start by figuring out what exactly it is that you’re going to do. So once you have the concept figured out, and you start really kind of diving into what that will look like, what you want it to look and feel like how you want your customers to experience the brand. That’s kind of where you start when you start deciding on what you’re going to call it. For this particular roofing business. We are actually naming it after my husband’s late grandfather. His nickname was Smitty. So we are calling this business Smithies roofing and construction. His grandfather was in construction his whole life and did a myriad of things, from roofing, to remodeling to streets and gutters and like the gutters on the street, and roads and highways and did a lot of different things. And this is where my husband picked up all his handiness skills, which I so appreciate. And so we’re naming the business after him, which I think is a great tribute. One of my future venues is actually named after my grandmother. And I’m excited to be able to explore that further. I’ve already started working on a logo for that, and I know what it’s gonna be called. So I appreciate that he wanted to name his business after his late grandfather, who was a huge, huge influence in his life. Both of his grandmother and grandfather were both influencers, but for sure his grandfather was a huge influence over his life. So that is what we’re naming the business medis roofing and construction. So once you’ve got that name figured out, now it’s time to go find a calm. Now that can be kind of tricky, because you get this name, you get it figured out, then you got to go see if somebody already has it. And thankfully, Smithies roofing comm was available. I wanted to keep it short and not make it Smithies roofing and construction calm. That’s a mouthful, and I wanted to easily be able to stick it on a business card, or on a sign a billboard or whatever. Thankfully, Smithies roofing.com was available. So now we’re the owner of that domain.
And the next step, once you get the domain is figure out your hosting. I use RFP hosting and it’s who I’ve used since 2012. And legitimately coming up on a full decade of using this hosting service. I am on my own hosting plan through RFP now although I did start out on a shared plan And which is how you can get fairly inexpensive hosting services. And I started out that way, but then I immediately bumped over to my own server, probably back in 2014, if I had to guess. And then within the last year, my sights were so big and I was doing a really big remodel of Sugar Creek Event Rentals COMM And I needed to not have my website down while I was working on it, like I was doing a major overhaul. And so I had to duplicate my website on a staging version of it. And because of how big it already is, the fact that I was duplicating it meant I didn’t have enough storage to do that. So now I’m bumped up into an even bigger server platform. And basically all that to say my monthly hosting service cost is not small anymore. But that’s okay, because I can continue to add additional websites to it without affecting anything, because the websites moving forward are going to be fairly small in relation to the Sugar Creek website. And because Sugar Creek is so large, it’s basically due to the inventory that is sitting in there, because I’m putting in lots of photos. So my website is really photo heavy.
Okay, so once you’ve got your domain name, you’ve got your hosting figured out. So I buy all my domains through GoDaddy I have for forever, I’ve actually let several of my domains that I’ve never done anything with expire recently, that was kind of a hard decision to make if you’re a domain hoarder like me, but I just knew deep down that there was nothing I was going to be doing with that name. And there was really no reason to hold on to it. So I’ve let several of them go. And what I spend yearly now with GoDaddy is probably going to be a little bit less and less, I keep buying more domains for new businesses, which is fine, you know what, this is an expense that can be written off, it’s part of business, etc, etc. Okay, so GoDaddy has my domains, but RFP is my host. So what that means is I actually have to change my name servers on GoDaddy, to point to my host at RFP. So that is a step that I have to do in order for my domain to become an active website. So once I’ve assigned a domain to RFP, and I’ve changed my name servers, it’s time to start building a website. When I build my websites, I use the Genesis Framework. And I use a child theme through StudioPress unless it’s going to be a feminine styled website. And then I’ll go out to Etsy or I’ll just Google feminine child themes for Genesis brainwork. And find something through there. I already own the child theme that we will be using for Smithies roofing calm, but if I didn’t, I would just go out on a hunt for something that I liked. That had a lot of whitespace. And that looked really professional from a roofing and construction standpoint. So building the website is next. Once I’ve got that website built, the next step that I need to do is install Google Analytics on the website. This will allow me to track the site analytics, this is an important step to not skip. Google Analytics is free. use their tools that are free to help you grow your business. Your analytics will show you where your traffic is coming from. whether or not your social media marketing is effective, if you’re growing, etc, etc. What keywords people are using to find you. So get Google Analytics, you can get a free account, if you don’t already have one, and then get the code installed on your website, follow all the steps. It’s very user friendly. And if it’s confusing, go out to YouTube, find a tutorial. Literally don’t skip that step. Your next step is to submit your sitemap to Google Search Console. Now the difference between Google Analytics and search console is Search Console. Actually, I think it’s now just Google console. But regardless, the difference between the two is that Google Analytics is the metrics of your website. And Google console is your search data. So this is search data coming straight out of Google itself. And it will allow you to see how you’re appearing in search, what words you’re appearing for, how many clicks you’re getting for those particular words, etc. So Google Analytics and Google Search Console are very, very important to get installed on your website. Now because I’m on WordPress, and I’m using the Genesis Framework, one of the plugins that I use for my website is the Yoast SEO plugin. I don’t know exactly what it’s called right now. Out Yoast something but you can put in Yoast SEO and still find it in the WordPress, actual depository of WordPress plugins, you can still find it that way, get that installed that will help you set up your sitemap, which is what you’ll submit over to Google Search Console.
Okay, the next thing is to go capture all of your social media handles. Now, this is actually a really great step to do in the very beginning, when you’re coming up with your name just to see what you are able to capture out on social media. For us, we are primarily going to be using Facebook, and Instagram. Now if I get a wild hair and decide that I’m going to start teaching the community about roofing, not necessarily how to roof their house, but the importance of why you need to take care of your biggest asset they’re ever going to own. Then if I start doing that, then I’ll add Pinterest, to the mix of social media, we probably will not be using Twitter, it’s just not a place where we’re going to be active. So our first two social medias are going to be Facebook, and Instagram. Now for Facebook, I had already started a Facebook page for my husband and the roofing business. But because we’re starting our own business and no longer going to be working for somebody else, I just did a page name change. And because the actual page was not very old, I was able to easily change it over to Smithies roofing. So I actually couldn’t take Smithies roofing for the URL, I did have to fully write it all out, which is interesting, because I bought the domain and was able to do it that way. But regardless, we have Smithies roofing and construction as our page name, which will be fine. And now I still have to go out to Instagram and get the Instagram handle, which is also going to be okay. So, Facebook page, get your name, get your Instagram, and then you’re going to need photos. So, with roofing, we already have photos of projects that have been completed by my husband, the roofing projects. So we’re going to be able to utilize some of those photos because he took them himself, not somebody else with the roofing company he’s been working for. And which is a bit of a like legitimately don’t use somebody else’s photos unless you have written permission, that’s copyright infringement. So the ones that he has physically taken photos of with his drone, we will be able to use on our website, if we weren’t, or if we didn’t have actual photos to use for our own website, I could go out to a stock photography website and either buy a license to use photos of somebody else’s roof, or use unsplash unsplash.com, you’re able to use photos from unsplash.com without actually purchasing anything, which is really nice. And so that’s the route we would take. So if you’re looking for some stock photography, then I would check unsplash. But then also, if you need something a little bit more niche specific, then I would check some of these stock photography sites that you will be purchasing a license to use and make sure you’re using the right license. You want it to have a commercial license for us. Because you’re going to be utilizing it in your marketing efforts for a website that’s going to eventually make you money in your own business. So make sure you’re using the right license.
Okay, so once you have photos, because you’re building out that website, remember, you need to get a Google My Business listing, again, something free from Google. Now, when I went to create an email for our roofing business, I just needed a gmail because that is how I can store everything. I have a kajillion Gmail accounts, but I need one specifically for the roofing. And I can basically just log everything under that email. For all the things, it won’t be the email we use, because it’s just Gmail, we will be using a domain email, which is also on the list to create. So once you get your hosting setup, you can get your Email Setup through your host.
Or if you don’t want to set up your emails through your hosts, you can actually use Google business suite and set up a email through your domain through that platform, which is what we’re going to do and I think it costs like $10 a month to host an email through them. You can host your email through GoDaddy as well and there’s a monthly fee for that. But I like Google business, for the email functionality because I know that when we send an email we’re gonna land In the customer’s actual inbox and not in spam, and that is something that I’ve had issues with, with RFP for a really long time. And so I just stopped using their email platform, which is not a big deal. And so anyways, I got at gmail for Smithies roofing. And now I can utilize that moving forward for everything. And it asked me are you setting up a personal or a business email. And when I said yes, I’m setting up a business email, it went ahead and allowed me to capture the Google My Business listing. So I went ahead and did all of that at the same time that I set up that gmail account. And now I’m just waiting on the little coupon card that comes in, it’s like a five by seven card postcard that comes through the mail, that gives me my code that will allow me to actually verify that it is me that just started this business. So that takes about a week to receive from Google. So definitely get your Google My Business listing set up. This is really great for local business. But it’s also really great for non storefront local businesses. So definitely consider getting a Google My Business listing, even if you don’t have a storefront, because you are able to say I don’t have an actual location. That way you do show up as a business gives you a little bit more credibility in your business by having a Google listing, that when you show up in search results, that is very, very, very important.
All right, next thing, file your LLC paperwork, or file your business paperwork with your state. When you start a business, it’s important that you start off on the right foot, and you go out and register your business as some kind of business entity. So we choose LLC C’s in our world, we have several of them in the state of Texas that cost $300 to file LLC paperwork. Now that is not your actual Corporation documents, we will be going to our attorney to help him draft or corporation documents. Because if you start needing banking assistance or loan assistance, they will ask for your corporate documents. And that’s not something that you can just go out and do yourself, you will need an attorney to draft those. And yeah, so I’m sure you could probably find like Legal Zoom or something to draft corporate documents. But it’s always good to have a relationship with a local attorney in your area. So that if things pop up, you have somebody that can directly ask your questions to it’s an important step. So we went with an LLC, I filed it this weekend and waiting for the state to acknowledge it. And then once the state acknowledges it, I need a federal employer identification number through the IRS. And that will be my next step. So once the state of Texas acknowledges our business filing, then I can go and register for an F-E-I-N, a federal employee identification number, which is what you actually use, if anybody any of your suppliers asked you to fill out a W9. That number is just really important, because they will use it in their own records to show that you’re doing business with them and etc. So having an FEIN is very important, your bank will ask you for it. Lots of different people will ask you for it with running a blog and running a YouTube and writing a podcast I have an FEIN. So when I get paid through campaigns or whatever, that money is actually being earmarked for that business and not under my social security number. So an FEIN is very, very important for any new business. All right, next step is business insurance. Now in the roofing business, we for sure need general liability insurance.
We also need business liability insurance, which is two different things. And we also need a bond. So that is something we’re working on. And we can’t actually move forward on that until we get our Fei n and our business paperwork accepted by the state but is on the list to do and it’s an important one specifically for our business.
And let’s see in the next thing, I’m going to be looking into getting a contractor’s license in my name or in the business name, but because I’m a female, I think this will allow me to then register our business as an H UB a hub business in the state of Texas, which is a historically underutilized business because I’m a female. So that is something else to consider depending on what type of business you’re in, and what type of licensing you might need. So as roofers, we don’t need a roofing license that doesn’t exist in Texas. But if you wanted to do additional construction projects, you most likely need a contractor license. So I’m going to go ahead and look into getting a contractor license in my name, well, really in the business name, and then I’m going to put ourselves up, I’m going to go through the process of getting us set up as a hub through the state because that will allow us to potentially pick up some government projects for roofing which would be a really amazing. And Okay, next step is business cards. So with part of building your website, that also means you’re gonna be building your logo. And so once I’ve got all that done, and I’ve already created his logo, so it is time to start working on his business card and what that needs to look like. And then in roofing, lawn signs are super important for marketing. So that will be the next thing that I start designing is our lawn signs. And also figuring out what our contracts are going to look like, which is something we will be discussing with our attorney to make sure that all of our T’s are crossed, and our i’s are dotted for when we go out and sign a new customer. So making sure we have all the documents that we need in order to protect ourselves in our business, etc. So make sure that’s another thing to be discussing with your lawyer is, from a legal standpoint, if I contract with somebody, what all do I need them to sign? What does it need to say, etc. I’m also going to be creating brochures for the business. That’s another important part. So with roofing, the salesmen do a lot of knocking on doors. And when somebody is not home, you either leave a business card and or you leave a brochure with your business card stapled to it. So I’ve got to get brochures made for our business. And then the next step is to figure out what software we actually need to run this business. Now, knowing how beneficial and important a CRM is, to my business, Sugar Creek, I was talking to my husband, I said, Listen, this is like what makes or breaks you when you get to a certain point. And you cannot manage your clientele list anymore, and you start forgetting things like that is a detriment to your business. So starting out on the right foot with some kind of CRM is going to be crucial from day one. Now, unfortunately, in the roofing business there CRMs are not cheap. And it’s actually really quite surprising, because I don’t understand, truly, from the wedding industry to the roofing industry, why they are like, Oh my gosh, like three or four times more expensive. But it is the market of roofing, which there’s a lot of money in roofing and construction. So maybe that’s how it allows them to charge for what they’re charging, I don’t know. But I have an appointment, a zoom call to go through a one of the top rated roofing CRMs that’s out there this week, and it’s most likely going to be the one we sign up with. Just because I’ve done some research already. And it’s got a lot of really great reviews. And it has definite room for growth, which is really exciting. So you need to figure out what software you need to use for your business.
So we’re going to be using a CRM, we will also be using an email system to communicate to our clients. And most likely we’ll be using MailChimp for that. And ultimately, we’re just trying to figure out or I’m just trying to figure out what additional software needs that we will have. I know we will be utilizing some very specific roofing software. One of them’s called exact To me it’s what the insurance companies use to basically give an estimate on repair and what that is going to cost and also an app called hail recon which gives you a really great it’s kind of like a weather app but not it doesn’t predict weather. It’s just showing you where there is hail or has been hail and most recent hail date. And then the biggest thing that I’m looking at is a phone system and it will probably be a voice system. I have no idea what that actually stands for other than I know it has something to do with the internet because I don’t want to give an insurance company my cell phone number and I will be talking with insurance companies a lot and with our subcontractors and it will just be easier if the business has a dedicated phone. Now all that to say I do already have two business phone numbers that ring on my cell phone I currently use the sideline app for Sugar Creek. And I use GoDaddy smartline app for our storage facility. And I know that Google has a phone. But ultimately, I need a system that has a few more tools than smartline, or sideline, and I and even Google phone. So I’m looking into different internet phone service options, that can be a little bit more robust for our roofing business.
Okay, the next thing to consider is listing your business with other business websites. Do you want to be a part of the BBB? Better Business Bureau? Now what I find interesting about the Better Business Bureau is that there is a monthly fee attached to that. So really, are you a better business? Because you have to pay for it. So I was talking to my husband and his current business card has BBB on it. And I’m like, does your boss pay for that monthly? Because? Or is he just using the logo. And the one time that I’ve had a bad experience with the BBB came back when we had an octave Carlotta has been several, several years ago, maybe even a decade ago, we had a client on the lot, a customer on the line. And he was really, really young. And he literally sprawled out all over this Camaro that we had for sale. And he set his keys and his phone on top of the car, and then just put his hands all over the car. And that is the worst thing you can do to a car is touch it, especially with keys and a cell phone, you will immediately scratch the pain. And so we have to still be there. It was late at night and I opened the door and I said Hey, would you please remove your phone and your keys and please stop touching the car. Like we don’t mind that you look at it. And we can open it up if you want to see inside it. But like take your belongings off the car, you’re scratching the paint? Well, evidently, the aunt was out in the car out parked on the street, and she had a problem with our exchange or with my exchange with the customer. And she reported me to the BBB. But we didn’t have a BBB listing. And I went round around with the BBB. And I said listen, like, legitimately I don’t even have a listing with you. So I don’t know how you plan on giving me a negative when I don’t pay to list with you. So I, I have an issue with the BBB. Now it is definitely a for profit company. And if you have to pay to list yourself, I mean I I know that you have to be like, approved by them to be listed through them. But really at the end the day you’re still paying them to have a listing. So is it really a great place for people to review you I think getting Google reviews is a much better place for people to review. And you just may not want to alert anybody to the BBB unless it benefits you. So some may consider but there are various industry associations and various places where you can list your business, in their listing or in their resource lineup. And it might be worth it to do some research to see where you might be able to also list yourself, Is it something to consider or should you consider listing yourself are getting signed up through your local Chamber of Commerce or CVB, your local visiting Bureau, it just depends on what niche you’re in, and where you might consider listing yourself. Again, you will be paying for those services. But some of them actually might be a great place to get listed for referrals because when somebody moves to town for the first time, a lot of times they’ll go to the local Chamber of Commerce to see what businesses already exist, etc, etc. And so it might be something to consider. If you’re in the travel industry, for sure connect with your local CVB because that’s another great place when you’ve got out of state people coming in to host conferences, they are looking for a vendor list. And that’s a great place to consider putting you and listing your business. Join associations, get yourself involved in your local networking. This helps you tremendously get the word out about your business, whether that’s you showing up at farmer’s markets or you showing up at Industry Association events. Get yourself out there so people know you exist. It also helps to put a face with the name. So definitely get yourself involved in associations, whether they are regional, local or national. I want you to consider that. And then finally, business checking accounts. If you need stamps for your business and I’m not necessarily post office stamps when actual stamp to you know sign the back of checks or signed documents or whatever getting stamps for your business. So these are the things that I have been working on and will continue working on as I get this business off the ground. And I hope that gave you some refreshers for whether or not you’re going to start a new business soon or in the future or even if you’re already in business, did I give you a step in there that maybe you forgot about? So I hope this was beneficial.
If you know somebody about to start a new business, I hope that you will send this episode their way so that they can get off on the right foot with their business. And thank you again just for listening and being part of this community. If you have any questions, or if you have any topics that you’d like to hear on a future episode of the Boss Girl Creative podcast, send me an email. Hello@BossGirl Creative.com. Until next time, I hope you have a great rest of your week.