Startup Business Checklist

Small business owners should go through the following steps to make sure they are ready for launch.

1. Choose a Viable Business Idea

When starting a business, it’s important to pick an idea that has the potential for success. Make sure your product or service is something people need and are willing to pay for.  Some questions to ask yourself include what problem does my business solve, who is my target audience, and how will I stand out from the competition?

2. Create a Business Plan

Your business plan should include your business goals, a market analysis, and how you intend to launch and grow the business.  A business plan is necessary for many things when starting a business such as securing funding, attracting investors, and developing strategies.

3. Determine Budgets and Financing

You’ll need to have a financial plan in place that includes startup costs and operational expenses. You should also decide how you will finance the business and if you’ll need outside investors.  A financial plan should also include projections of future cash flows and financial statements.

4. Make Sure Your Family is Behind You

Starting a business is a big commitment, and it can affect your family life. Make sure everyone in your household is on board with the decision to start a business.  Sharing your business plan and financial projections with your family can help them understand and support you.

5. Decide on a Business Name

Your business name is the first impression customers will have of your company. Make sure it’s something that reflects the values and goals of your business.  Some ideas for deciding on a company name include using wordplay, using a name inspired by your values or origin story, or using an acronym.

6. Register Your Business Domain Name

Secure a domain name for your business website to ensure you have an online presence. It can be your company name, a keyword related to your business, or something else.  Every business is online these days so registering your business domain name is important when starting a business.

7. Determine Business Structure

Figure out which business legal structure best fits your company. You could choose a sole proprietorship, LLC, partnership, or another legal structure.  If you’re not sure which one is right for you, it’s best to consult with a lawyer or accountant.

8. Licensing Investigations and Applications

Depending on your business, you may need to apply for local, state, or federal licenses and permits. Make sure you’re aware of any legal requirements and have all the necessary paperwork.  If your new business sells physical products, you may need to obtain a sales tax permit.