You already know that a business start up takes hard work and careful planning to keep you focused and on track. To be honest, we had a few unexpected challenges. Despite that, we actually did get our web development company up and running in two months, even with the added load of a 9-5 job.

From the Starting Blocks to the Finish Line

Kansas City Web Development CompanyTo give you some idea of the process, I’ve created a timeline of our progress. I’ve also included links to some research tools that we found helpful through the process. Of course, starting a business usually starts with an idea and the desire or need for change. Rob and I were both employed at the same interactive marketing company and had gleaned a ton of experience in marketing for the web over the years. We knew we could put this to good use to form Entity Creative Interactive.

December 21st, 2011,

We were chatting about the adventures of Apple gods Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak when the light turned on. With our experience and expertise, we could start our own interactive marketing company focusing on web development and search engine optimization. We were experts at small-business SEO and website development. Our web development company could bring big ad agency quality to small-mid sized business owners at a small agency price. Additionally, we had the expertise to build beautiful, responsive websites (See sidenote for an explanation) with zero outsourcing).

December 27th

After pondering the idea for a week, we decided to take the first step: making it a legal business. After checking online for legal assistance, we contracted because they were knowledgeable and the price seemed reasonable.  We did some research on the different types of corporate structures, deciding on an LLC.  After all the I’s were dotted and the T’s were crossed “getting legal” cost us $250.     (See research item 1 for information about corporate structures).

January 3rd, 2012

We rang in the New Year by registering a website domain name. There are many domain registration and hosting companies. The annual expense should be $150 to $250.You need to check into the real differences among them: customer service, hosting options and domain ownership. If you experience technical problems or need some questions answered, you want to be able to contact them via email, chat and phone. Not all sites will offer this.

Furthermore, not every company that registers domain name will host your site as well. Having to deal with multiple companies on one site can be frustrating. Finally, you need to be careful that you actually own the domain name and are not just renting it. If you rent a domain or sub-domain, it will not transfer should you want to change your webhost.

(See research item 2 for more information on finding a registrar and webhosting company).

January 4th

Time to start building the website. This can be an enormous, time-consuming task. Even though we could do all the work ourselves, we also knew that sometimes outsourcing is a better option. We crossed the border into Arkansasand found a great freelance copywriter, Steve Maurer, who saved us a ton of time by creating quality content to our specs.

January 6th to the 18th

Lots of odds and ends to clean up. Since we’re web-based, we needed to set up a P.O Box for business mailings: an additional $20 per month. We also set up a commercial bank account and credit line. In Kansas City, the APRs were running from 10-14 percent. Next item on the list was ordering business cards. After all, when you shake your prospect’s hand, you want to leave them something to remember you by!

February 1st

Our website was done, or so we thought. Launch rule #1: test before going live. We sent our work to a select group of friends for feedback. It’s a good thing we did because we had navigation issues, contact form problems and various other items to fix.

February 9th through the 12th – After debugging our problems, our website was fully operational. Our business cards had arrived, the bank account was in place, and we were legal and open for business. What’s next? Getting clients, of course; but that’s a topic for another time.

Additional Advice

Set additional budget for the unexpected items that will pop up.  Even the best planner will forget about all the expenses with starting a business. For example, we needed to upgrade to Outlook for email, another $120. We forked out another $167 for a printer with a scanner. But understand, when you are building a business, these are just minor bumps in the road. Building a website for small-business SEO, responsive web design or whatever your dream might be is worth the time, effort and expenses encountered.

So concludes the story of a small business startup out of Kansas City.

For more information on our business or other questions just shoot us a blog comment!

Research Item 1 – Corporate/business Structures

Sole Proprietorship: Basically, sole proprietorship is a company of one. When you register as a sole proprietorship, you are responsible for all expenses, debts, legal actions against and taxes on the company. You declare all profits and losses on your personal income tax.

Partnership: If a business is started by more than one person, it can become a partnership. All responsibilities, profits and liabilities are shared among owners.

Corporation: A corporation can be started by one or more people. A corporation affords more personal protection as it is considered an independent entity, separate from the owners. The corporation, not the owners, is responsible for financial and legal actions.

LLC – The Limited Liability Company provided limited personal liability for debts and legal actions against the company. However, the federal government does not recognize LLCs for tax purposes; therefore, the owner(s) must declare as sole proprietors, partners or a corporation at tax time.

Research Item 2 – Domain registration and hosting options

For more information on domain registration and website hosting, see Consumer Search.

Note: we are not endorsing the companies reviewed there. This is for informational purposes only.

Side Note – Responsive Web Design

One of the specialties of Entity Creative is the ability to build beautiful, responsive web designs. Because the Internet is accessed by so many different devices these days, it is vital that a business presents their information to fill these different formats. In the past, building separate, disconnected format styles was the norm. Not only was this inefficient, but costly as well. Entity Creative can build an interactive, responsive website that will look great on any device used to access the Internet.