Every year, millions of people immigrate to the United States with the dream of starting their own business. It’s this entrepreneurial spirit that has kept the country going for decades, and that has led to some of the most successful companies in the world. If you are an immigrant with dreams of owning a business, you may be wondering where to begin.
Use the following resources and pointers to help launch your dreams of being a successful entrepreneur.
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Keeping Your Business Legal
It should go without saying that working with an experienced business firm to set up your new business is the most effective way to avoid potential legal issues.
A reputable law firm can also help you:
● Learn about statutes of limitations around common business lawsuits
● Negotiate the terms of lawsuits, contracts and business-related disputes.
● Stay informed about all current laws and regulations around your business.
In terms of state laws, it’s also vital that you understand the rules and requirements around establishing a legally recognized LLC in your state. In California, you can fill out and file LLC forms online but there are several steps you will need to take while doing so. Be sure to read carefully through these steps so you won’t make any potentially costly mistakes.
Overcoming Potential Obstacles
If you’re unsure about starting a new business as an immigrant, know that some states have had their economies shaped and bolstered by immigrant business owners. Across the nation, a quarter of all new businesses have been founded by immigrant entrepreneurs. In California, this percentage has reached a staggering 42%. Which means you’ll be in good company.
Aside from general fears about being an immigrant entrepreneur, you may also be worried about potential language barriers. Studies of Latino immigrants have shown language barriers to be one of the most pressing barriers facing those who wish to start a new business. One way to overcome this is to set your business up in an area where your native language is spoken.
You could also look into ESL courses and apps that will help you gradually pick up on English, and eventually start communicating with a broader swath of customers. Many organizations offer free classes to immigrants to help them learn English and hopefully reduce some stigma.
Finding Legitimate Business Funding
A lack of funding is another hurdle immigrant entrepreneurs face in America. SBA loans are typically a first choice for small business owners, and immigrants can apply for some of these loans. You generally need to have a green card or be an otherwise legal immigrant to do so, and even if you meet these qualifications, the amount of funding available can be limited.
Thankfully, there are also grant programs set up to help immigrant entrepreneurs found their new businesses. Some grants come from state and federal programs, so you will need to meet more strict requirements to qualify. Others are offered by nonprofits and immigrant advocacy organizations and may come with fewer stipulations and prerequisites.
Whether you are documented or undocumented, it’s also important that you understand your tax responsibilities. In either case, it is imperative that you pay any taxes owed through your personal or business income. Failure to do so can result in fines and even jail time. By the way, the IRS typically does not disclose taxpayer information to other agencies without a court order.
This is a nation that was built on the backs of immigrants just like you. For whom the American Dream meant opening a business and bringing something new to the local community. To unlock your dreams, be sure to use the helpful legal resources and startup suggestions above.
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Vivek Mukherjee InspiredExpatriates.net // firstname.lastname@example.org