You always want to start off a business with a plan of action. Creating your startup business checklist is essential for your success! Your checklist is something you can refer back to to make sure that you are going in the right direction and reaching your goals.
Your business startup checklist will focus you on doing the important things, not just the urgent things. To start this checklist, you need an idea. Consider the resources and skills required for success and how they may change. List down your activities and be specific about the timeline. Understand the challenges that are ahead of you. Because some of the challenges are obvious and you can plan for them. But some will come out of left field and you will have to handle them to keep your business afloat.
Thats when being hyper organized will truly help you weather the storm.
If you are going to start your own business, there are a few things you should be clear about from the beginning.
1. What is your USP (Unique selling point)? Identify a viable product or service that your audience needs and will be willing to pay you for it. Your USP should be written at the top of your checklist so you always refer to it and tailor your business around it.
2. Prepare a detailed Business Plan that answers the following questions:
The Business – What problem does the product or service solve?
The Market – What are the market trends, size, growth, and segments? Who are your target clients?
The Competition – Who are your direct and indirect competitors? What are your competitive advantages and keys to success?
Tracking Progress – How many customers, buyers or clients do you have? What about your sales, revenue or pre-orders?
The Future – What are your objectives, goals, mission and vision?
3. Arrange Financing – How much do you need? Did you comparison shop? Did you research the different types of start up business financing? Which bank in your area is most likely to give you a start up business loan, and what are the requirements? Did you research alternative ways of financing your business? Such as finding an investor, factoring, equipment leasing, and don’t forget friends and family!
The Business Start-Up Checklist
Track your progress as you go along using this business start-up checklist.
- Write a business plan as discussed above – one that describes your business goals, identifies competitors and sets business goals. You should have in your plan whether or not you will open up with employees or independent contractors. Know what function each person in your company will have and what their expected contribution will be.
A business plan can grow with your business. Some companies will revise their business plan quarterly to make adjustments.
- Form an LLC or incorporate the company. Doing so provides you with the additional protection you seek as a business owner, which means you won’t be liable for the debts and liabilities of the company.
- Take care of the post-incorporation formalities.
- Get a federal EIN . The IRS uses this number to identify your business for all issues related to taxation.
- Contact the taxation department in your state and find out if you are required to get a state tax identification number. If needed, get one immediately.
- Get all the business licenses or permits required. This may vary from city, municipality or state. Get in touch with the local government to be sure that you meet all requirements.
- Hire an accountant as well as a legal counsel; be sure to ask for advice when you need it.
- Get a business bank account and a business credit card. Fill out the paperwork and be sure to meet all the requirements of the bank.
- Set up the business accounting and bookkeeping. Get accounting software to help with invoices, disbursements, payments received, accounts receivable, accounts payable and so on.
- Start building business credit. As a start up, it will be difficult to obtain a business credit card unless you have very good to excellent credit. There are other ways your business can build credit thought!
Equipment leasing is one of the easiest for start up business to get approved for AND you can have it report to your Dunn and Bradstreet. Thus you will have a verifiable credit line. Building business credit will help your business obtain financing easier in the future.
- Get business insurance. Talk to insurance experts and discuss the extent of insurance cover you will need for your business. Get the insurance that is most suited to your business needs.
- Find out if your business complies with federal and state government regulations on OSHA, worker’s compensation, self-employment taxes, payroll tax and so on.
- If you are a home-based business, check zoning rules that apply to you.
- Finding a location – Do you need to lease office or retail space? Or can you start your business using a virtual office?
- Ensure that creation of contracts, invoices, service agreements and so on are taken care of, so that it is easy for you to bill your clients, maintain records or track payments.
- Get a business logo designed by a professional. You should start to build your business brand immediately. A good place to find talented logo creation artist is Fiverr.com!
- Start a business website. Get the company domain name registered and find a reputable web hosting company. We recommend Siteground. We have been using them for years. Make a list of what you will need and then go shopping! Are you building an online e-commerce presence? Some hosting companies will provide free carts and online merchant services. Get your business website designed by a professional web designer (if you can afford it) keep in mind there are many low cost ways of creating a presence online cheaply.
- Prepare a marketing and advertising budget, especially if you plan on using paid ads. If you don’t monitor your paid advertising you can get an awfully big shock at the end of the month!
In conclusion, it is important to create a checklist for your startup business. Doing so will help you stay on track with your goals, get you where you want to go, and ensure the success of your business. A good checklist should include items such as writing a business plan, developing a marketing strategy, networking with potential clients or investors, knowing how to set up your finances, and more.
Starting a business can be challenging, but it is also one of the most rewarding things you can do. But if you tick all the boxes in the start-up checklist given here, you will be okay!