10 Must-Haves for Launching Your US-based Business
As a woman with an entrepreneurial spark, you're well-positioned to take on the world of business in the United States. And with resources like the Female Startup Club (FSC), you can turn your startup dreams into reality. But where to begin?
Start by doing your market research, crafting a solid business plan, and choosing a company structure that suits your needs. Don't forget to comply with state and federal regulations, obtain necessary permits and licenses, and secure a tax ID and business bank account.
In this article, I'll address some of the most common questions that female entrepreneurs have when starting a business in the US. It’s been very much inspired by having Fiona Chan (founder of Youthforia) as a guest on the show last year, who picked up her biz and moved it all the way to the US from Asia in order to have a great chance of kicking off her TikTok strategy (-> catch her story on the podcast right here). I'll also walk you through the steps you need to take as a non-resident to get your business up and running in America.
Can a Non-US Citizen Start a Business?
A non-US citizen can start a business in America with the help of a registered agent. You can operate your startup from your home country if moving is not an option, or you can get a business visa to visit the USA to handle your business affairs.
A non-US citizen can start a business in the USA following state procedures and requirements.
There might be some additional steps and things to consider, but a non-citizen can easily register a limited liability company (LLC) or a corporation in America. You can watch this video to get more information.
How Much Money Do You Need To Start?
Ready to make your biz dreams a reality? Well, to get the ball rolling, you'll need about $1,000 to register your biz in the US (yep, that includes some pesky gov't and agent fees).
But listen up, this highly depends on the state you register your business in and the registered agent you work with. All states have different fee structures, and firms that provide legal assistance will also charge accordingly, so an estimated cost might range from $700 - $1,200.
How Can I Start With No Money
Don’t have that kind of cash to spare! No worries, girl! To start with no money, you can find investors to help with the startup cost. You can also leverage crowdfunding if your business idea has lucrative future income projections or facilitates social welfare.
Although you’d still have to spend some money to start your business, there are ways where you can find outside investors who’d be willing to fund your idea entirely from scratch. Do make sure your biz idea is super stellar and has major potential to rake in the dough or help the world. With a killer plan and some hard work, anything's possible!
List Of Things You Need To Start a Business
Below are the steps you will go through to register your startup in the USA. Remember that a registered agent with a good track record will help you along most of these steps, so don’t hesitate to seek their help.
Here’s a checklist of what you’ll need to make it happen:
Conduct market research on the product or service. Get the lowdown on your potential customers, competition, and funding options. This step will help you gain market insight and a clearer picture of the potential market share.
Develop a fabulous business plan. This roadmap will help you attract investors and map out your growth goals, and it also acts as a road map for other stakeholders on growth targets and provides information on the complete structure of your business.
Select a state of incorporation/organization. Carefully select a US state to register your LLC or corporation since it will determine the amount of tax you pay on profits.
Select a unique name for your business. Do your due diligence and pick a name that hasn’t been trademarked. Make it unique and memorable! And don't forget to check if the matching domain name is available.
Pick a registered agent. This trusty helper will guide you through the legal process.
Select the management structure for your startup. Member-managed or manager-managed? You decide!
Submit articles of organization and draft an operating agreement. These docs will outline how your biz operates and who's in charge. You can file articles of organization online with the state you have registered your business in. Also, prepare an operating agreement that states the responsibilities of stakeholders and provides information about the daily operations.
Acquire an EIN (Employer Identification Number). You need an EIN to file taxes, open a bank account, and hire employees. This number is crucial for taxes, banking, and hiring. Don't mess it up! If this is filed incorrectly, the IRS may penalize you.
Open a business bank account. Time to stash that startup cash! Once you have acquired the EIN, you can open a bank account for your startup, which can be done online. You can also obtain a visa and visit America if your country is not on the visa waiver program.
Acquire additional permits and licenses. Depending on your biz type and industry, you might need a few extra docs to get going. For instance, you will need a permit if you decide to manufacture alcoholic drinks or if you decide to cater to the transportation industry.
Phew! That's quite the to-do list, but with a little help and a lot of passion, you can make it happen. Also, if you’re found this article is any way useful, I have a feeling you would get a lot out of reading our weekly Female Startup Club Newsletter for founders and future-founders. Sign up here.