Are you thinking about starting your own business? If so, you’ll want to make sure you have everything in order before you launch. In this article, we’ll reveal the ultimate business checklist for startups to make sure you’re on track. This comprehensive guide will walk you through all the steps needed to get your business off the ground and running. Let’s get started!
Why Should You Use a Small Business Startup Checklist?
As a small business owner, you may be tempted to skip the preparation steps and rush into launching your business. But that can create unnecessary risks and complications down the line. Here are five reasons you should use a business checklist when starting a new business:
- It will help you stay organized. You’ll want to make sure you have all the necessary documents and tasks lined up and in order before you launch. This will help you stay focused and on track with the launch process.
- Identify potential problems early. A business checklist gives you the opportunity to double-check and ensure that everything is in order before you launch. This will help you avoid costly mistakes or problems that could set your business back.
- Save time and money. By having a checklist to follow, you can make sure that all the necessary tasks are done properly and efficiently. This will save you time and money in the long run.
- Ensure compliance. Following a checklist will also help ensure that you comply with all applicable regulations and laws for your business. This could help you avoid fines or legal trouble in the future.
- Improve your confidence. Following through on a startup checklist can help boost your confidence and make sure you have everything in place before launching your business.
Early Stage Business Startup 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. Apply for an EIN
To keep your personal and business finances separate, you should apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. Getting an Employer Identification Number is quick and easy and will help you set up a business bank account when starting a business.
9. 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.
10. Set Up a Business Website
Your website will be your storefront and the hub of your online presence. Make sure it’s professional, up-to-date, and has all the information customers need to know.
11. Create Social Media Profiles
Social media is an important part of modern business. Create profiles on the main platforms and make sure they stay active with posts and engaging content.
12. Start Generating Revenue
Once everything is in order, it’s time to start generating revenue. Focus on marketing activities and strategies that will bring in customers and help you grow your business.
13. Invest in Office or Retail Space
If your business needs physical space, you’ll have to determine the size, location, and type of space you need. Make sure it suits your business needs and budget.
14. Buy Business Cards
Business cards are essential for networking and building relationships. Make sure to buy ones that reflect your brand identity and the quality of your business. You can easily find them online or have them printed locally.
15. Open a Business Bank Account
It’s important to keep business and personal finances separate. Opening a dedicated company bank account will help you stay organized and protect your assets.
Pre-launch Business Startup Checklist
Small businesses should also consider the following steps to ensure a successful launch.
16. Get Your Accounting System up and Running
You’ll need to set up an accounting system to keep track of expenses, income, and taxes. Invest in a good accounting software or system that’s simple, easy, and straightforward to use. Consulting with a professional accountant can be helpful here.
17. Identify and Assign Co-founder Responsibilities
If you have co-founders or partners, decide who is responsible for what tasks. Put it in writing to avoid confusion and disagreements in the future. Clearly defining roles can help with accountability and ensure everyone’s duties are fulfilled.
18. Business Smartphone and Apps
Invest in a smartphone and the right apps to help you manage contacts, emails, expenses, and more. Having business apps can make your job a lot easier.
19. Free Small Business Resources
Take advantage of free resources offered by the SBA, local organizations, and other businesses. These can help you save money and time during your startup process.
20. Secure Business Insurance
Protect your business with the right insurance policies. Find an insurer who will meet your needs and budget. Business insurance is essential to protecting your business.
21. Make Your First Hire
You may need employees to help you grow your business. Determine the job requirements and start searching for potential candidates.
22. Identify and List Suppliers and Service Providers
Find reliable vendors and service providers who can help you with tasks such as printing, web design, merchandise, etc.
23. Obtain Patents and Trademarks
If you have a unique product or brand name, consider protecting it with patents and trademarks. This will help guarantee that no one else can use your intellectual property.
24. Utilize Your Network
Tap into your personal and professional contacts to help spread the word about your business. Ask them to share with their networks as well.
25. Don’t Focus on Partnerships
When first starting your business, don’t focus on getting into partnerships. Focus on developing the business first and gaining customers before looking for partners. This will give you a strong foundation to build on.
26. Make Sure Your Pitch Is Clear and Concise
When pitching your business to potential customers, partners, or investors, make sure you have a clear and concise message. Figure out what makes your business unique and highlight that in your pitch.
27. Optimize Your Product, Sales Approach, and Marketing
Continuously optimize your product, sales approach, and marketing activities. This will help you improve and stay ahead of the competition.
28. Ensure Your It Security
Make sure your data and IT systems are secure from hackers. Invest in cybersecurity solutions to protect your business assets.
29. Hire a Salesperson or Establish a Sales Team
Depending on your business model, you may need a salesperson or team to start generating revenue. Identify the ideal candidate and create an effective sales strategy.
30. Connect with Business Mentors and Advisers
Find a mentor or adviser who can give you advice on the best practices for running your business. Connecting with experienced professionals can provide invaluable insights that will help you succeed.
Your New Small Business Has Launched, Now What?
Most businesses don’t become successful overnight, so be prepared to put in the hard work and dedication. Take the time to review your business plan and goals regularly to make sure you’re on the right track. Keep learning, growing, and adapting your business for success. Good luck!