Here is a master list of all the resources I have used so far in starting the business. Each of these is mentioned in a blog post, but I have pinned this list to the top of the feed for easy access.
Domain Name: Namecheap
Maryland: Maryland Business Express
Checking Account: Bank of America Business Checking
Today, I spent an hour or so looking over different business bank account options. With so many banks, both physical and online, it quickly seemed like an endless rabbit trail of options and features to consider. In the research I did, here were some key factors for consideration:
On another front, I decided to signup for a 1 month free trial of Squava. I played around with the program for awhile and it seems really intuitive and set up well for professional services firms. Will post some further updates later as I get to it.
Finally, I will be adding a pinned post to the top of the blog feed with a running list of all the services and companies I am using. This will allow readers to find everything in one place, in addition to the mentions in each post.
Resources Used Today:
After applying for the LLC over the weekend, I don't expect to hear back from the State for at least a week. Not much to do there except for check on the status occasionally.
I did apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) with the IRS today. An EIN is required if you have any employees (which I do not yet) and is also required for most business bank accounts. Hiring staff is not on my radar at this point, but I definitely need to open a bank account in the coming weeks.
I also began taking a look at some potential software options for managing projects and finances. I looked at numerous options, but here are a few that stuck out:
Probably the most well-known accounting software for small businesses. Looks like it can handle all of my time keeping, project finances, and invoicing. In reading some articles, one appeal is the vast number of bookkeepers and accountants who are familiar with Quickbooks. If I do need to hire someone to handle finances in the future, it would be easy to get someone with Quickbooks experience. As of now, I think I would need the Plus version, which costs $70 per month.
Seems very similar to Quickbooks, with capability for time keeping, project management and billing. It seems that Freshbooks limits the number of clients for each tier...I would need to the Premium tier after reaching 50 clients (and it seems you need that tier to get the financial reporting anyway). Costs $50 per month.
Recommended by a fellow engineering entrepreneur. Seems like a much smaller operation than Quickbooks and Freshbooks, but also geared specifically towards professional service companies. Squava appears to have a great interface for tracking proposals, which could potentially alleviate the need for having a separate CRM for that functionality (though would need to explore this more). Costs $40 per month.
Based on the pricing and functionality, I'm leaning towards giving Squava a try. I really like that it is built specifically for professional services firms and that there are not tiers, just a flat $40 per month. The endorsement from my buddy who also started his own engineering firm is a big plus as well. I won't actually pull the trigger on this until I open up shop and begin client work.
Resources Used Today:
Welcome to a new series on The Building Code Blog. After nearly 10 years in the fire protection engineering and code consulting world, I have decided to make the jump and start my own company! I've had countless conversations and internal monologues to get to this point, but actually putting it in writing here does feel good!
Starting a business is hard, or at least that is what I hear. According to the Small Business Administration, 20% of business started this year will fail within 12 months. 30% within 24 months and the numbers increase from there. While I can't predict the future, I certainly hope to not be in that camp 1, 2 or 10 years down the road. In recording my daily steps here on the blog, I'm hoping to (1) keep myself accountable to take action daily, even if something small and (2) provide a resource for future entrepreneurs, especially those in the engineering community.
Today, I took the first, and maybe biggest step - a business name. Introducing "Campbell Code Consulting LLC."
To register the LLC, I went through the surprisingly easy Maryland Business Express portal. About 2 minutes to create an account and another 5 to complete the registration.
Next, I purchased a domain name for a future website using Namecheap.com.
After these two steps, I made a list of future actions and tried to plot out the next few days. Here is a list of things I need to accomplish, ideally in the next week:
The LLC formation can take 7-10 business days, and I can't apply for the firm license until the business is formed. Hopefully Maryland approves the LLC in short order so I can get on with the other steps, but there are certainly some non-legal items on the list too:
That's it for today, looking forward to another day of progress tomorrow!
Resources Used Today: