If you’re wondering how to start a small online business in Texas, we’re here to help.
Why Texas? Because it is one of the most business-friendly states with the world’s 9th largest economy and home to over 10% of the Fortune 500 Companies. That’s crazy! What’s even crazier is that more large companies are moving to Texas.
So, let’s talk about you starting an online business in Texas.
It’s not that difficult, but you do have to follow a few steps to get there and get successful. If you do these things and do them well, you’ll be successful in no time.
- Start with a Business Idea. Everything starts with an idea. It doesn’t have to be unique, it just has to be better than the others.
- Make Your Business Official – and Legal. First things first. Make your business legitimate.
- Create a Bank Account. You’ll want to have somewhere to receive payments and conduct transactions.
- Build a Beautifully Designed Website. This is your store. You’ll have full control over how your store operates.
- Get People to the Website with SEO. Having a website is a good start; however, if nobody can find it, you will not be in business for long.
We’re going to cover all of these points in this article. So grab a notepad and let’s get to it!
Start with a Business Idea
This is what stumps most entrepreneurs when they start a small online business in Texas, but honestly, it shouldn’t. There are literally thousands of great business ideas scattered across the internet.
You simply have to want to do them. Here are a few small online business ideas to get you started.
- Handmade Craft Retailer: Ever made something cool? Make it for others and sell it online.
- Online Tutoring: Tutoring students in a field you’re comfortable with. Parents love this!
- Blogging: Writing about the content you love, getting paid by the ads on your website.
- Freelance Writing: Writing for others, getting paid by others.
- Social Media Marketing: Managing and updating social media profiles for small businesses.
The startup costs associated with these businesses are minimal. You should be up and running in a day or two.
Even if you don’t use any of those ideas, hopefully, they inspired you for something else you could start online.
Once you land on your brilliant idea (it doesn’t have to be unique), now would be a good time to come up with a business name. You’ll need it for the next step and several steps after that.
Small Online Business Structure and Registration
This is not the fun part of the online business, but to be legitimate – and legal – you have to do this. It’s okay because you only have to do this once and everything should get better after this.
What type of structure (i.e. sole proprietor, LLC, corporation, etc) do you want your business to be? There’s challenges and opportunities for all of them and I don’t have the time to cover them here. But here’s some good reading if you want to learn more about business structures.
When you start a small online business in Texas, if you’re a sole proprietor or in a partnership, you don’t need to register anything with the state. However, if you plan on going with an LLC or corporation, you’ll need to register your business entity with the Texas Secretary of State. Sole proprietors can simply register their business with their local county clerk. It’s a simple form and does not cost much to register the name.
Open a Free Business Banking
You want to be as legit as possible with your business, so keeping your personal and business finances separate is a good idea.
Not only does this make it easier when it comes to taxes, but it can help in legal ways as well if you’re structured as an LLC.
Nonetheless, getting a business checking account for free these days is commonplace. You don’t have to look too far since banks will practically fall over themselves for your business.
Start by looking at the big name banks and seeing what they offer. Are you interested in free business checking? Perhaps something with online access? Unlimited transactions?
There are a lot of options out there, but how you run your business will dictate which bank you go with. You may also choose to go with a local bank as well. Again, it really depends on what services you want to enjoy.
At this point, you may be thinking about a business credit card. While you may find credit card offers thrown at you left and right, I would try to bootstrap your business as much as possible. You still need to get online, generate some revenue, and validate the efficacy of your business before you start racking up debt growing your business.
Get Online with a Business Website
The barrier to entry for any business these days is relatively low. You can put up a website and sell sneakers out of your garage.
While you don’t have to lease an office, there are some things you’ll have to line up to get into business. Don’t worry, they’re not that complicated – and always remember we’re here to help.
Picking the Perfect Domain Name
You’ve seen them all over the place, but now it’s time to get your own. A domain name.
This is the www.YourBusinessNameHere.com or whatever you want to call it.
Of course, you’ll have to ensure what you want is available and that’s as easy as checking on Google Domains. No, you can’t simply type the domain in the address bar and if there’s no website, then it’s available. That simply means a website isn’t connected to the domain, yet. You must verify through a certified domain registrar (i.e. Google Domains, GoDaddy, NameCheap, etc.) if the domain name is available.
After exhaustively trying various domains, you finally find the one that is going to represent your small slice of the internet. Time to purchase it. Generally, most .com domain names will run you around $15 per year. That’s right, you technically rent the rights to the domain and don’t own it outright. You must pay a small annual fee. If you’d like, you can set them up to auto-renew or purchase up to five years in advance.
You’ve purchased it and it’s in your name, now you just need a place to “point” the domain name. Let’s talk about website hosting.
Small Business Web Hosting
Your office may be in a spare bedroom in your home, but your website still needs a place to call home.
This is where you’ll need web hosting. It’s where the files and other data reside on a server.
In essence, a server is simply a computer that hosts your website so your visitors can view it. When they type in www.YourName.com, the server provides the website so they can view it.
Most small businesses don’t require massive infrastructures like Google or Facebook. Therefore, there are smaller hosting plans available to you starting at only a few bucks. Of course, for that price, it’s great for starting out, but if your business continues to grow you’ll need to invest in a higher-end host.
As your business grows to thousands of visitors a day you will have to consider upgrading your hosting to a more robust option.
Beautiful and Professional Website Design
Now for the files that reside on the server, you’ll need an elegant website to capture the attention of your visitors.
Depending on your business, this doesn’t have to be complex, either.
Simple, to-the-point, and beautiful is enough to convert visitors, to leads, to sales in no time. There is some essential information you will want to add to it such as contact information, hours of operations, and the services you provide. Also, this is an excellent opportunity to push your brand and build a name for yourself.
Of course, you can develop your website on your own using a platform such as Shopify or Wix, however, if you want to increase sales you’ll want a professional.
Even professionals are not that expensive. In fact, our small business websites start at $500 and are guaranteed to make you look more professional than your competitors.
Small Business Marketing and Local SEO
Your website is beautifully designed and resides on a server. Everything is perfect and just the way you wanted it.
But nobody shows. No visitors, therefore, no sales.
This is the equivalent of having a brick-and-mortar shop in the middle of nowhere. It might be the cutest place with the best prices, but nobody can find it. If nobody can find it, well, you’ll soon be out of business.
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, can fix that. SEO is a series of tweaks to your website that makes it more appealing to the search engines such as Google and Bing.
While SEO can be a massive endeavor and is an industry of its own, with a little work you can start to achieve some results and have customers visiting your website.
You don’t have to run it alone, however. We can help you every step of the way or develop and manage an SEO campaign for you. While you worry about your business, we’ll drive the traffic there.
By now you should be familiar with how to start a small online business in Texas. If you follow this structure – in order – you will easily start making money right from the comforts of your living room.