Starting a Company as an Immigrant: The Fundamentals

starting a company as an immigrant

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You moved to the U.S. for better opportunities, and now you’ve resolved to start your own business. While being a business owner may sound like an exciting prospect, it involves many moving parts and requires a lot of time and energy, especially in the early stages! Yes, you will have more control over your destiny, but you will also have more responsibilities.

If you’re ready to get the ball rolling but are struggling with the logistics of starting your company, keep reading for some solutions from W.D. Strategies!

Research Visas

If you plan to launch a company in the U.S., you must acquire a visa. There are visas for visiting, business or employment, traveling through, exchange, or immigration. If you already have a spouse in the U.S., you can indicate that on your visa application.
L-1 visas are typically given to business owners from foreign countries who wish to expand their operations, and they last for at least one year. If you can demonstrate how you will run a profitable business, you may qualify for an E-2 visa. And another option is the H1B visa, which is issued to temporary workers that possess technical skills.

Brainstorm Ideas

Once you’ve obtained a visa, it’s time to get serious about your business ideas. Take time to brainstorm and write down however many thoughts come to mind. Then, conduct market research to determine which idea has the best chance of bringing a profit while also lining up with your interests and skills.
Look for W.D. Strategies among DesignRush’s list of top small business branding agencies.

Create a Business Plan

Once you’ve settled on a single idea, you will need to turn it into a business plan. This document should contain your mission statement, core values, product or service descriptions, target audience, marketing strategies, financial needs, financial projections, and other factors.

You can use your business plan to win over investors and guide your decisions in the early stages of your company. Find a simple business plan template online to get started.

Select a Legal Structure

Another essential step when starting a company is to choose a legal structure. If you would like pass-through taxation, limited liability, easier management, and other perks, consider forming an LLC. Your state will have specific regulations to follow, so you will want to learn as much about the process as possible before moving ahead. Rather than handling the legwork yourself, work with a formation service like ZenBusiness or LegalZoom, which can walk you through the process affordably and quickly.

Obtain Licenses and Permits

Most businesses need licenses and/or permits to operate. You will need to check with local, state, and federal authorities to determine which ones you need. For instance, you will need a license to operate machinery, transport animals, or sell alcoholic beverages.

Find Funding

Take time to estimate your startup costs and create a budget that will guide your decision-making and help you reach your goals. Once you know how much money you will need to get a solid launch, start reviewing your options. Here are a few possibilities:
● Grants
● Small business loans
● Investors
● Crowdfunding

Set Up an Accounting System

No company can make it without efficient financial management. You will need to determine an accounting system early in the process. And figure out how to keep track of your bills, investments, and growth opportunities. There are many software tools on the market to help you, and you also should consider hiring a certified public accountant (CPA).
Many immigrants open their own business in order to send money back home to support loved ones. In fact, according to The Dallas Morning News, immigrants in the U.S. sent a whopping $28 billion south to their families in Mexico in the first seven months of 2021 alone, up nearly 24 percent from the previous year. If this is one of your purposes, setting up an account with a reliable money transfer service is advisable. It’s also affordable and convenient; using a service like Remitly, for example, you’re able to transmit funds to 21 banks and over 40,000 cash pickup locations throughout Mexico.

Start Recruiting Team Members

Once you get the basics down, begin looking for team members who can help your business start on the right foot. Depending on your specific needs, you will need to hire freelancers, part-time employees, or full-time employees, if not a combination of these. Figure out all the tasks and projects you need help with, and then start finding the right people!
The U.S. is the land of opportunity and the perfect place to start a business. If you are coming here from another country, then you will need to take a few extra steps to get going. Along with following the advice above, keep researching other things you should do to lay a firm foundation for your dream company!

Need Help Starting?

Connect with the W.D. Strategies Team for Help Starting a New Business
This post was contributed by David Dixon, a guest contributor for the Business Intelligence Blog & Edited by the Business Intelligence Team.
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