New Articles

Tips and Tricks on Starting a Business This Quarter: Incfile’s Planning Guide

quarter

Tips and Tricks on Starting a Business This Quarter: Incfile’s Planning Guide

It may take years for you to develop a business idea and muster up the courage to launch. So when you are finally ready to launch your small business, you don’t want to delay the process any longer. If the time for you to start your business is now, in the fourth quarter of 2020, you may be hesitant at first since the fourth quarter technically is when most small businesses’ fiscal year ends.

However, there are plenty of reasons why you should start your business during this quarter, and we have some tips and tricks that will lead you to business launch success.

Q4 Business Launch Callouts

Most entrepreneurs use the end of the calendar year as the end of their fiscal year. This means that Q4 is spent tallying profits, looking over financial statements, calculating potential tax projections and wrapping up planning for the upcoming year. Therefore, Q4 may not be the most desirable or popular time to start a business.

However, there are plenty of profits to be had during this season. Due to the holidays, consumers are willing to spend money on gifts and experiences. The increased sales potential during this season may help your business get off to a strong start. Holiday retail sales are likely to increase between 1 percent and 1.5 percent, according to Deloitte’s annual holiday retail forecast. During the same period last year, sales grew 4.1 percent.

However, Deloitte also forecasts that ecommerce sales will grow by 25 percent to 35 percent, year-over-year, during the 2020–2021 holiday season, compared to a 14.7 percent increase in 2019. And online holiday sales are expected to generate $182 billion to $196 billion.

In comparison to Q3 of 2020, consumers may have pulled back on their retail spending due to financial burdens caused by COVID-19. Especially since in August, 13.6 million people in the U.S. were unemployed, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

During Q4, consumers are looking to spend their money during this holiday season. With an increase in the number of consumers looking for services online or online shopping this year due to COVID-19, more traffic online means you’ll have a great audience for your online ads. This makes it a great time to test out your online marketing tactics and strategy.

One thing to consider as a new business owner during this season is that more established businesses already understand that Q4 is a hot time for sales due to the holiday season. They may be charging hard and spending quite the penny to capture consumers during this time.

Also, since Q4 sales tend to trend the highest out of all the quarters, launching your business in Q4 gives you no other timeframe to compare against. This can give you a false sense of how your business is going to trend in other quarters or you may see a significant drop in sales during Q1 and Q2. Being realistic and conservative about your potential revenue during Q1 through Q3 will help you understand your business’s actual potential.

Launching Your Business This Quarter

There are plenty of things you can do to set your business up for success if you are not shied away from launching your business in Q4. Here are some tips and tricks if you are ready to take the plunge this season:

Utilize resources. Entrepreneurship can seem daunting but don’t worry. There are plenty of resources to help you start your business successfully. Incfile’s in-depth “Start a Business” guides help you research everything you need to do before your doors open. We’ve researched key areas for your industry, from market data, customer needs and business taxes, to setting up your business, understanding regulations and laws and choosing the correct business entity. We also have a handy “Start Your Business” checklist, which will walk you through the steps needed to get off the ground and running.

Focus on “hot” online business ideas. One business that we anticipate being hot during Q4 is an Amazon business. If you want to be successful on Amazon, especially during this busy holiday season, finding the right products and buyers is absolutely essential. Due to the success of the platform, there is a vast amount of competition across almost every niche and product. The biggest factors that will decide your success are choosing the right product, understanding the demand for that product and selling it at a profit. An Etsy business may also be a hot business since consumers turn to this platform during this season for special gifts. You’ll need a strong, robust plan for your new business. There’s plenty of competition in the Etsy marketplace, especially in Q4, so having a novel approach, creating original designs and getting proper business discipline in place is essential.

Get your website, social media and marketing plan in order. With shoppers online and poised to make holiday sales, getting a website and social media accounts ready to go will be necessary for helping you market to your potential new customers. Create a content marketing strategy for your website that involves SEO and special offers for your visitors.

Create a legal business entity. No matter what business idea you go with, forming a business, such as an LLC or S Corp, is a smart move. This will give you a professional face forward to clients and also provide separation of your personal identity and finances from those of your business. If you need to open a business checking account, credit card or loan, banks are more likely to see you as a legitimate business with an LLC or S Corp designation.

If you are ready to launch your business in Q4, go for it. Don’t let the increased competition during this time frame scare you away from building your dream. As long as you do your research, approach with level-headedness and commit the time, money and energy into your new business, you will hopefully see success this season.

________________________________________________________________

Dustin Ray leads business development and growth initiatives at Incfile, a national incorporation service company specializing in business formation and small business services. Founded in 2004, Incfile has assisted in the formation of more than 250,000 corporations and LLCs.​

Small-Town Life: Why it’s Good for Business

When it comes to relocating your business, you can go big (city) or you can go home. But while conventional wisdom would have you believe bigger is better, there’s something to be said for going home to small-town life–and small-town business. If you’re on the white picket fence about whether to relocate your business to a smaller, more rural locale, let these four small towns prove that bigger isn’t always better. We asked economic development leaders from Dodge City, Kansas; Kiowa, Kansas; Moundridge, Kansas; and Vandalia, Illinois, why small-town life is good for business. Here’s what we learned.

“One of the great things about living in a small town is the connectivity of businesses and residents; we can really bring partnerships together,” says JoAnn Knight, executive director of the Dodge City/Ford County Development Corporation. Dodge City hosts a population of fewer than 28,000 but has dealt with housing shortages with aplomb, pairing businesses with local universities to build and flip homes. The program benefits not just residents and contractors but new businesses looking to relocate in Dodge City and create jobs.

In nearby Moundridge, which is one of the fastest growing communities in Kansas, Economic Development Director Murray McGee cites the town’s hardworking workforce as a benefit to small-town business. We have a lot of manufacturing here and people experienced in manufacturing,” notes McGee, who is also director of the Moundridge Chamber of Commerce. “Good hardworking people—a good quality workforce.”

Another incentive to small town business? Incentives themselves, according to Kiowa City Administrator Lou Leone, who oversees a population of only 964. “In a smaller town if the town owns the utilities, it’s easier to offer incentives,” Leone explains. “Larger cities can’t always do that.”

Vandalia Economic Development Director Amber Daulbaugh echoes the sense of community—as well as a lack of competition—as major small-town selling points. “Depending on [the] type of business, there may not be competition, and their presence will fulfill needs in the community,” she explains.

Big city business is intrinsically different from small town business, but as all four experts are quick to point out, only in the best ways. Leone says one benefit of doing business in a town such as Kiowa is less bureaucracy. “We can move faster,” says Leone. “There are less middlemen, and the permitting process is a bit more streamlined.”

Over in the historic Illinois town of Vandalia, easier, more streamlined access as well as possible savings over big city business are just a few more perks, says Daulbaugh, who also cites a sense of community pride. “Word of mouth and referrals are utilized tremendously in small town business,” she explains. “Collaborations between small businesses are organized in efforts to reach more potential customers, [which] provides a sense of pride.”

According to Knight, that strong sense of pride is also helpful to another class of business. “In our community, a lot of our businesses are run by individual entrepreneurs that have been here for years,” she says of the Dodge City faithful.

McGee seconds the notion that a strong sense of business support comes from small town living, pointing to another major difference in many small cities and towns such as Moundridge: Utilities can often be a one-stop shop. “There’s a lot of synergy,” says McGee. “In Moundridge, our city provides all services: gas, water and electric. One call gets you everything you need. It gets people on site within minutes. That’s a big deal, especially in manufacturing.”

Much like their larger counterparts, in addition to incentives, smaller cities have their own local charm that cannot be duplicated.

Take historic Vandalia. Chartered on March 30, 1819, it is the oldest existing capital city. It’s also where President Abraham Lincoln began his political career as a state representative. Naturally, this brings a hearty tourist boost to Vandalia each year, when visitors view not just the statehouse but the town’s museums, gardens, trails–and its fire breathing dragon statue.

According to Knight, smaller cities can offer something else unique: a more personal relationship with business partners. “I think any community can do this but not all want to: listening to the businesses and seeing what we can do to meet their needs. It’s not always about land or water. We need to build a network to get them what they need. In Dodge City, we take a very hands-on approach to get businesses what they need to be successful.”

In Moundridge, McGee cites freebies for would-be business investors as a perk you can’t always find in larger cities. “Our community owns property,” he notes. “We offer free land for development in exchange for investment, development and job creation.”

Kiowa’s Leone says ownership of utilities makes smaller towns unique—and easier to do business with. “We own all four utilities, so we can gear packages toward driving costs down,” he says. “We’re very conscious about taxes as a whole. We try to get you the best bang for your buck on a lot of our projects.”

In the end, it all comes down to which businesses will do best in which towns–and that largely depends on the needs of the town as well as the resources and the skills of the local workforce.

In Kiowa, that looks like manufacturing, but Leone isn’t about to limit prospective businesses to just that. “Kiowa is open to any kind of business,” he says. “We have a very progressive council and have been talking about municipal internet for internet-based businesses or a data center. We have Kiowa-net on the shelf but wouldn’t hesitate to pull the trigger to get it going here for the right business.”

Over in Moundridge, McGee also recommends manufacturing for small-town business. “In my community, manufacturing works well because we have three global businesses here,” he says. “We have a workforce that is used to working in the manufacturing arena. We also have a major switch facility for Verizon Wireless, so tech companies could thrive here, too.”

Towns such as Vandalia could use a little bit of everything, says Daulbaugh. “A clothing and accessories store that has clothing and shoe options for the whole family and of all ages, a full-service, family-oriented restaurant, a microbrewery—we have a distillery that will open in 2020 and this would complement it,” she says.

Ultimately, what’s important to remember, as Knight so succinctly explains, is that one should never judge a city by its size. “In this day and age, you can be wherever you want and get what you need if you have the right resources.”

Series C Attracts $44 Million Investment

Feature management platform, LaunchDarkly, announced they will invest big bucks along with Redpoint, Vertex Ventures, DFJ, and Uncork Capital. The company confirmed the investment will support company initiatives in risk management while increasing efficiencies.

“Our goal is to help product development teams worldwide, from small teams to huge enterprises, to keep up with the speed of innovation while reducing risk,” said Edith Harbaugh, CEO and co-founder of LaunchDarkly. “We believe the future is built on software, and the additional capital will allow us to further impact the world of feature management and meet the needs of our customers in delivering fast results and excellence to their own customers.”

“In the past year the LaunchDarkly platform has evolved both in scale (we now see over 200 billion feature flag requests per day) and capability– we’ve become a key piece of the puzzle for software teams practicing continuous delivery,” said John Kodumal, CTO and co-founder of LaunchDarkly. “This latest funding will help us scale the platform even further to meet the growing demand we’re seeing in the market and build new functionality to help our customers deliver better software experiences to their customers.”

This announcement closely  follows the company’s confirmation of the hosting of the upcoming April  Trajectory conference for software development professionals. The conference will be held in Oakland, California from April 8-9.

“The sheer speed of innovation today makes it more difficult than ever for enterprises to release product changes quickly and reliably,” said Ethan Kurzweil, partner at Bessemer Venture Partners. “Having invested in developer platform companies for nearly a decade, it was instantly clear that LaunchDarkly has the product and market vision to be the central platform for feature management. We are extremely excited to partner with Edith and the rest of the talented team at LaunchDarkly!”

“The LaunchDarkly platform enabled BMW to go from 0-60 in one Agile Release Cycle”,  said Chuck Medhurst, President & GM at BMW Technology. “The ability for BMW to test, develop and deploy variable feature sets across our premium brands, markets and platforms results in delivering the optimal value to our customers!”

For more information on the upcoming conference, visit:  https://trajectoryconf.com.

 

Source: LaunchDarkly