A creative’s guide to starting a new business

To create your mission, craft a clean, clear statement about what you do. Great mission statements are short and to the point. It can take some time to distill your ideas into the right words, so share your drafts with others and keep tweaking until you feel you’ve clearly conveyed the offering of your business in an authentic way.

I’ll use the same organization to provide an example of what a mission statement might sound like (this one could be shorter, but I’ll share it anyway): “Shaping the world by cultivating entrepreneurship to broaden youth perspective and enhance life skills through community connection and experience.”

To articulate your business’s values, jot down a dozen qualities or attributes that are important to you and those you work with. When I tackle this part, I like to imagine what words and ideas feel foundational to the business’s existence. Once you have a list, group together similar words and narrow it down to between three and five core values. And, just like that, you have your values.

Deciding to formalize your business, or not

Now that you’ve thought in-depth about your business idea, you’re left with two choices: go for it and formalize your business, or hang back. You can always offer services under your own name as a sole proprietor, and for this, while you do pay income taxes on any financial gain, you don’t need to register anything or apply for a license unless certain foods or beverages are sold directly to the public. Whichever route you decide to take, there are pros and cons to consider.

The cons of getting started with your own formalized business include, well, ownership. Once you own a business, you also own all of the liabilities associated with it, and are accountable for everything that happens with it. Additionally, getting a new business off the ground takes hard work and long hours. It also may require venturing into unknown territory with regard to legal and financial requirements. It can be a lot of pressure, and it may take longer than you’d like to turn a profit.

On the upside, when you own your own business, you are the boss. You set your own hours. It’s also easier to bill someone for your product or service when you have an EIN number (something you can only get when you’re registered as a business). Also, as a small-business entrepreneur you have the opportunity to take advantage of some nice tax perks. You can write off many expenses like travel, food, phone bills, portions of car payments/insurance, and more. And, certain businesses qualify for government incentives. Being a minority, veteran, or female-owned business are examples.

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