Start Your Business Right: A Guide for Immigrant Entrepreneurs

Start Your Business Right: A Guide for Immigrant Entrepreneurs

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The U.S. economy depends on the hard work, dedication, and great businesses of immigrants like you. In fact, 41 percent of Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or the children of immigrants. Running a successful business requires a little elbow grease, some luck, and a lot of know-how — learning how to navigate the system is step one in making sure your company is around for years to come. Here are some of the most important things to remember as you’re setting up your business in the U.S.:

1. Choosing a visa

Technically, you don’t need a visa to start a business in the U.S. if you are not a citizen. However, it is a good idea to have one. The two kinds of visas you will encounter are:

L-1

For immigrants who are moving or expanding their business to the U.S. This requires you to write a small business plan and then demonstrate profitability after a year for the visa to be extended.

E-2

Used when starting or purchasing a business in the U.S. This company must create jobs and boost the U.S. economy. You need a small business plan that demonstrates how you’re going to do those things. You also need to be from a country with which the U.S. has a Treaty of Friendship, Commerce, and Navigation.

2. Navigating common challenges

There are several things you need to focus on when it comes to owning and operating a business in the U.S. as an immigrant. One challenge is the question of where and how to register a company. Keep in mind the kind of taxes that each state levies on companies like yours. Then, it’s a matter of registering your business’s name with the state you choose and filing articles of incorporation in order to register your company as an entity. You can also find funding in any number of places, including with the U.S. Small Business Administration. It’s a matter of where you look!

3. The business structure you need

You should choose whether to form a C-corporation or limited liability company (LLC). Each has its benefits. For instance, forming an LLC can have some advantages in terms of taxes and personal liability. You also enjoy “pass-through” taxation, which means that all the profits go to you. C-corporations, on the other hand, provide more protections for immigrant owners because the company itself is deemed a separate entity in the eyes of the law. (It’s important to note that neither the C-corporation nor the LLC has citizenship requirements.)

4. Maintaining home ties

One of the main reasons immigrants start a business in the U.S. is so that they can support family in their home countries. So while you’re focusing on getting your business off the ground and making sure you’re in a good position for the future, don’t forget to support and check in with family and loved ones back home.

For instance, if you have loved ones in India, you can send them funds by using a low-fee money-transfer service like Remitly that lets you send money in just a few hours. Keeping in touch also means making time for phone calls, staying up late to talk, and sharing schedules with one another so you know the best times to call. You can save on phone calls to India through Dial91 calling cards or its VoIP app — or use apps like Zoom or Facebook Messenger for free video calls. You can even create a family calendar on Google to ensure that busy lives don’t get in the way of these check-ins. Making family a priority even when you’re busy can go a long way for everyone’s well-being.

5. Hiring challenges

Another common challenge you may face is how to hire for the services you require. You may want to hire remote employees if your business is online-based, like bookkeeping services from The Hour. For more information about how virtual assistants can ease some of the stress of running your business and allow you to do more of the things that make your company run smoothly, get in touch for a free consultation today.

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