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5 - 8 : The Complete 35-Step Guide For Entrepreneurs Starting A Business

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5. Build a Great Website for Your Company

You should devote time and effort to building a great website for your business. Prospective investors, customers, and partners are going to check out your site, and you want to impress them with a professional product. Here are some tips for building a great company website:

  • Check out competitor sites.
  • Start by sketching out a template for your site.
  • Come up with five or six sites you can share with your web site developer to convey what you like.
  • Be sure the site is search engine optimized (and thus more likely to show up early on Google search results).
  • Produce high-quality original content.
  • Make sure your site is optimized for mobile devices.
  • Make sure the site loads quickly.
  • Keep it clean and simple; visual clutter will drive visitors away.
  • Make sure you have a Terms of Use Agreement and Privacy Policy (and comply with the European GDPR rules).
  • Make the navigation bars prominent.
  • Obtain and use a memorable “.com” domain name.
  • Make the site visually interesting.
  • Make sure it’s easy for site visitors to contact you or buy your product.

6. Perfect Your Elevator Pitch

An “elevator” pitch is intended to be a concise, compelling introduction to your business. You should be able to slightly modify your elevator pitch depending on whether you are pitching to prospective investors, customers, employees, or partners. Here are a few tips for developing and delivering a great elevator pitch:

  • Start out strong.
  • Be positive and enthusiastic in your delivery.
  • Remember that practice makes perfect.
  • Keep it to 60 seconds in length.
  • Avoid using industry jargon.
  • Convey why your business is unique.
  • Pitch the problem you are solving.
  • Invite participation or interruption by the listener—this shows they are interested and engaged.

7. Make the Deal Clear With Co-Founders

If you start your company with co-founders, you should agree early on about the details of your business relationship. Not doing so can potentially cause significant legal problems down the road (a good example of this is the infamous Zuckerberg/Winklevoss Facebook litigation). In a way, think of the founder agreement as a form of “pre-nuptial agreement.” Here are the key deal terms your written founder agreement needs to address:

  • How is the equity split among the founders?
  • Is the percentage of ownership subject to vesting based on continued participation in the business?
  • What are the roles and responsibilities of the founders?
  • If one founder leaves, does the company or the other founder have the right to buy back that founder’s shares? At what price?
  • How much time commitment to the business is expected of each founder?
  • What salaries (if any) are the founders entitled to? How can that be changed?
  • How are key decisions and day-to-day decisions of the business to be made? (by majority vote, unanimous vote, or are certain decisions solely in the hands of the CEO?)
  • Under what circumstances can a founder be removed as an employee of the business? (usually, this would be a Board decision)
  • What assets or cash does each founder contribute or invest into the business?
  • How will a sale of the business be decided?
  • What happens if one founder isn’t living up to expectations under the founder agreement? How will it be resolved?
  • What is the overall goal and vision for the business?
  • If one founder wants to leave the business, does the company have the right to buy back his or her shares? At what price?

8. Obtain a Tax ID

In most instances, you will need to get a tax ID from the IRS for your company. This is also known as an “Employer Identification Number” (EIN), and it’s similar to a Social Security number, but for businesses. Banks will ask for your EIN when you open a company bank account. You can get an EIN online through the IRS website.

In some states, a state tax ID may be necessary as well (for example, California, New York, and Texas require a state ID, which can be obtained online).

forbes.com

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