Business Startup Checklist

Starting a Business Starting a Business
  • Prepare a business plan that outlines your business goals, operating procedures, competitors, as well as the company\'s current and desired funding.

  • Incorporate your business or form an LLC. It provides the owner with personal asset protection from the debts and liabilities of the company.

  • Address necessary post-incorporation formalities.

  • Obtain your federal tax identification number (also called employer identification number or EIN). It\'s used by the IRS to identify your business for all taxation matters.

  • Obtain a state tax identification number. Contact your state\'s taxation department to determine whether your state of formation imposes this requirement.

  • Obtain the necessary business licenses and/or permits. Licenses may be required by your city, municipality, county and/or state. Contact your Secretary of State and local government to ensure you meet any requirements.

  • Select an accountant and attorney you can turn to for advice when starting out, as well as throughout the life of the business.

  • Open a business bank account and obtain a business credit card. Contact your bank about business banking requirements to ensure you have all the necessary paperwork.

  • Set up your business accounting/bookkeeping. Be prepared to account for all disbursements, payments received, invoices, accounts receivable/payable, etc.

  • Establish business credit. A line of credit lessens the number of times your business must prepay for products. It also establishes a favorable credit history.

  • Obtain business insurance. Discuss your particular industry and business needs with your insurance agent to obtain the appropriate type and amount of insurance.

  • Ensure you comply with government requirements (e.g., unemployment insurance, worker’s compensation, OSHA, payroll tax requirements, self-employment taxes, etc.)

  • Determine your business location and take these steps: Home-based: Check zoning requirements, Other location: Lease office or retail space and obtain the necessary furniture, equipment and supplies

  •  Create any necessary contracts, service agreements and invoices so you can easily bill customers, track payments and keep records.

  • Obtain business financing.

  • Create a logo, business cards, letterhead, envelopes, etc., to build business identity.

  • Secure your company\'s domain name with a registration website.

  • Create a website. A company website allows you to establish your brand and will be the first opportunity to make an impression with customers.

  • Create a marketing plan for your products and services. Increase the likelihood for success with a plan for promoting your products and services to your target market.

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