I just stumbled on this simple and straightforward, yet useful checklist for those of you that are soon-to-be business owners.
The checklist is originally written by Jamie Downey on Boston.com. The checklist was intended to help the author’s friend, who was laid off several months ago and thinking about working on his sound business idea (his story is another proof that downsizing is a good reason to enter entrepreneurship.)
Without further ado, here is the checklist to help you starting out your small business the right way:
- Research the product or service you want to sell – This is pretty straightforward, but amazingly people keep “forgetting” that they should do it.
- Create a business plan – Business plan is your business diary – Create one can give a written direction to where your business is heading, and how.
- Create a budget – Budgeting can help you in safe-guarding your business bottom line. You may include this in the business plan.
- Determine your capital needs – Related to the budgeting above, you need to determine your capital need and how you would obtain it.
- Choose your business name and register it – Trademarking is also essential in protecting your business name.
- Open a company checking account – The rule of thumbs: Choose to partner with a local bank that offer lower fee and simple requirements to open an account.
- Choose what type of legal entity you want to use – You should find the right information about the pros and cons of corporation, limited liability company, partnership and sole proprietorship.
- Determine if you need any federal, state or local licenses/permits – Consult with the local organisation dealing with such licenses/permits.
- Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) (optional) – If you are the only employee of your small business, obtaining an EIN may be unnecessary.
- Obtain a sales tax number (optional) – This depends on the type of products and/or services you are selling.
- Set up your record-keeping system – Financial books and records-keeping is essential in avoiding troubles later on, such as taxes, business loans, etc.
- Choose a location for your businessHome-based or lease an office? In busy high street or in an alley?
- Talk to your insurance agent and obtain adequate business coverage – Consider protecting your business from force majeure, burglary, including your own health insurance.
- Create a marketing plan – Don’t fire blanks.
- Set up professional relationships – Over time you will need an attorney, a Certified Public Accountant, insurance agent and a banker. You also need to network with fellow small business owners to share tips and idea, as well as troubleshooting business problems.
- Obtain a business email address – Email is still important today, especially in helping you in business branding. That being said, consider avoiding free hosted email account, such as Yahoo Mail and Gmail.
- Obtain your web domain and set up the website – Web presence benefits you and your business in many ways. If you have never build or own a website, now is the right time.
- Find a mentor – A mentor has the valuable experience that he/she is willing to share them. Joining a business organisation, such as SCORE, can help you to grow your business and solve your business problems.
One of the best ways to get your start up noticed is by using giveaways like customized promotional items to help increase awareness.
Start a business today
Image by Larry and Linda.