You think you’re ready to start a company and want to know what you should do first. To borrow the phrase made famous by Nike, Just Do It.
At the beginning of a new business, you have a spark of imagination or something you’ve been working on for a while. At some point, you decide that you want to give it a shot, but you’re wondering “now what?”
A half-dozen Google searches will lead you down a rabbit hole of to-do’s, but don’t fall for the trap. The easiest thing you can during the beginning of your business is find excuses to not do the hard work. You’ll read articles about the importance of a C-corp and an EIN from the IRS, and you’ll probably think about employment agreements and patents, but the only thing that matters in the beginning is the idea itself.
You could have an idea for the most phenomenal business. You may have sketched it out, talked to friends and think you’re really on to something. Then you set out spending weeks and hundreds of dollars getting things “set up” only to then come to the striking realization that you don’t know what you’re actually building.
Many people confuse the corporate entity with the business. The “Inc.” that comes after your company name is only the repository of the idea, that spark, the technology that is going to provide value. The business itself, what you’re building, is much more like a living/breathing thing: it needs a host to live inside of, the legal entity. But without the business the legal entity sits empty.
Many entrepreneurs find that the hardest thing about the business is building the ideas and turning them into product. The rest, a good lawyer can get set up for you in a week. What you need to focus on is the business, always. But that’s not to say you shouldn’t bother with the “legal stuff” — you should, eventually. In its infancy, a business is like a newborn baby in need of your constant time and attention to nurture it, to ensure it gets to live one day. Don’t look for distractions, Just Do It.