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A guest post by Carla Lopez
Starting a business is the American dream. Entrepreneurs enjoy the freedom to pursue their passions, make money doing something they love, and give back to the community. Throughout history, this dream attracted tens of millions of people to the country. Even today, business-minded individuals are drawn to the land of opportunity from all over the world.
However, starting a business as an immigrant isn’t as easy as it may sound. You’ll have to navigate language barriers, establish your business as a legal entity, find funding, learn how to pay taxes, and more. To help you establish a legal foundation for your business, consider working with a professional attorney like Andrew M. Ayers as you get up and running. Here are some other tips to help you get started!
Registering Your Business
Anyone who plans on starting a business in the United States, whether a native resident or immigrant, must register their business. Registering will make your business a legal entity. Before registering your business, you will need to choose a business name and a business structure. The business structure you choose will determine your taxation, liability, and record-keeping obligations, so make sure you do your research! Many small business owners choose to form a limited liability company (LLC) to enjoy favorable tax benefits and shield themselves from personal liability should their business fall on hard times.
Where to Find Funding
If you just recently arrived in this country, you might not have the money to start your business without a little help. Most entrepreneurs will need to track down funding at some point. Thankfully, you have several options when it comes to funding your new startup. Entrepreneur.com recommends looking into special grants for refugees and immigrants designed to help newcomers to the country get established and become self-sufficient. You may also be eligible for SBA loans depending on your immigrant status.
Navigating Regulations and Taxes
Another common challenge for business-minded immigrants is navigating regulations and tax requirements. Failing to comply with federal, state, and local regulations can lead to penalties — or worse, the complete shutdown of your business. Make sure you understand all of your legal obligations before launching your business. If you have any concerns about business law, it’s best to work with a professional lawyer instead of trying to navigate a sea of legal jargon on your own.
Learning About Business Culture in the U.S.
If you’re thinking about launching a business in the U.S., make sure you understand the business culture in the country. The U.S. adheres to a distinct business culture that drives many daily interactions. For example, American business culture values efficiency, so businesspeople expect communication to be direct and to-the-point. It’s easy to break unspoken rules, so take some time to learn about basic business etiquette guidelines. Whether you’re looking for loans, meeting with potential partners, or hiring employees, you don’t want to make a bad first impression.
Maintaining Home Ties
One of the biggest struggles that immigrants face is maintaining long-distance relationships with family members back at home. It can be tough when you’re worrying about your loved ones from afar. Fortunately, technology makes it easier than ever to stay in touch and help them cover their financial obligations back home. For instance, if your family is back home in India, with a money-transfer service like Remitly, you can send money home in as little as four hours with no charge (if you send more than $1,000), while ParcelHero can get care packages to your home country in approximately two days. And for the seriously homesick, you can find travel deals through a platform like Kayak so you can fly over a family member to visit.
Starting a business as an immigrant to the United States can be a complicated process. While you may have to navigate several obstacles as you get up and running, the work is well worth it! Nothing beats the ability to be your own boss, do something you’re passionate about, and have control over your own income.
There are countless great resources out there that can help you establish a strong foundation for your business. Just make sure you cover all of your legal bases! If you have legal questions about starting a business as an immigrant, contact Andrew today!
Carla Lopez retired a couple of years ago, but she didn’t lose her entrepreneurial spirit. She created Boomer Biz for retirees like herself who still have a desire to work and achieve. The site is a resource for people in their golden years who want to start their own business or go back to work doing what they love.