Starting a business is an American dream for many people, including immigrants who are looking to become part of the fabric of their adopted home country. While there are common steps all entrepreneurs need to take toward business ownership, there may be additional functions required for immigrants. A bit of advanced legwork can help ensure you get started on the right path, and Virtual Support Systems offers the following tips.
Take Stock of Your Eligibility
There are different factors that can impact your ability to launch a business as an immigrant. It might be worthwhile to speak to an immigration attorney to assess what, if anything, you need to do to start your own operation. VisaGuide.world explains that there are numerous classes of immigration status, including work, student, and business visas; naturalized citizenship; and permanent residence. You’ll want to ensure you have the most appropriate visa for operating a business without inadvertently jeopardizing your right to apply for citizenship in the future if that’s a path you’re interested in exploring.
Identify Potential Barriers to Success
For some immigrant entrepreneurs, language barriers can be an impediment to successful business operations. According to World Finance, if you think this may be an issue in your company, consider hiring a multilingual customer and client liaison who can help in this regard. In addition to customer interactions, interfacing with suppliers, vendors, and regulatory agencies can be more difficult because of communication issues, but a bit of advanced preparation can help you avoid this pitfall.
Also, keep language issues in mind when putting together your marketing and communication agenda — again, someone who is fluent in multiple languages can be an asset. An important, if not critical, element to incorporate in your marketing plan is the creation of a logo. Smart graphics transcend language barriers, so come up with a stand-out logo that speaks directly to your target audience. If you’re coming up short on ideas, check out Adobe’s online logo maker, a free tool that comes with tons of professional templates that you can use to customize your message.
Get Your Paperwork Together
According to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, would-be business owners likely need to have an individual Taxpayer Identification Number, also known as a TIN. You may also need to apply for a business license, select a company structure, and register your business. Establishing your operation as a limited liability company, or LLC, has a number of advantages, including flexibility, limiting some types of liability, and making it easier to file taxes. You can invest the time to do this work yourself, pay an attorney to file the papers, or hire a formation company to handle matters on your behalf.
Position Yourself for Financial Viability
Many small business start-ups require funding in the form of a loan to get their business up and running. An immigration attorney or financial advisor can help you determine what type of status you’ll need to apply for funding, particularly the type offered through the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Also consider looking for assistance through the Senior Corps of Retired Engineers (SCORE), local small business development centers, and chambers of commerce. You may also find financial assistance with small business banks in your area.
Get Business Planning in Hand
Every successful business requires a solid business plan. In fact, most banks and funding agencies will require that you have a fully developed plan completed prior to applying for a loan. A business plan helps you map out the course of your business by conducting a competitive market analysis, identifying target audiences, estimating operating expenses, and making projections about what you think it will cost to operate your business. The exercise of developing a business plan can be incredibly useful when it comes to developing the strategy for your business operations.
While immigrants have to go through a bit of a rigorous process to get their businesses off the ground, developing a game plan and identifying advocates can help you set yourself up for success.
Virtual Support Systems has been helping small businesses create, develop, manage and analyze search engine optimization and inbound marketing plans & strategies since 1999. Contact us today to set up a consultation! 941.927.2028