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2. The Checklist: From Beginning to End
Business Startup Checklist: Everything You Need to Know
A business startup checklist is important for a business whether it be big or small. However, as soon as you get over the initial excitement, it’s time to break down the procedure of beginning your startup into practicable chunks. A good checklist will help you to get the ball rolling.
The Checklist: From Beginning to End
 Select a Name and Legal Structure
Legal structure and name are important, so making sure you select something catchy is vital for your business. You essentially have 5 choices when choosing a legal structure: Partnership, Partnership, Sole Proprietorship, S-Corporation, or Corporation.
 Write a Business Plan
You want to be smart about starting a business. At a minimum, you’ll want to formulate a preliminary business strategy for your startup. Remember, the business plan is part of your vision, so you want to make sure that you write out one that is good.
 Obtain a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) & Open a Company Bank Account
If you are arranged as a Corporation, Limited Liability Company, or Partnership (or a sole proprietorship with employees), you’ll have to submit an application for a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) from the International Revenue Service (“IRS”). A FEIN is required in order to open a bank account or process payroll. Pick a bank and then get the company bank account opened.
 Federal Permits
Depending on the type of business you have established, you may need a permit or Federal license in order to operate. A lot of businesses do not require a Federal license or permit; however, if you get involved in one of the following industries, you will need to contact the associated Federal agency to determine what licenses you are required to obtain:
- Investment counseling
- Drug business
- Preparation of meat
- Ground transportation
- Selling alcohol
 State Licenses
Some professions and occupations must obtain a State license. If you are involved in one of the following occupations, you will need to reach out to the responsible state agency to determine the necessities for your trade: utilities, office furniture, State license, State license, permit, building contractors, banks, insurance carriers, physicians, appraisers, accountants, barbers, auctioneers, and private investigators. Also, some state licensing necessities are founded on the merchandise sold. For example, many states require special certificates to sell certain items, such as firearms, gasoline, and lottery tickets.
Licenses rules are different in each state. However, if your business is selling physical products inside the state where the business is located, you might need to collect and pay sales tax, which is typically achieved by obtaining a resale or seller’s permit.
 Business License
Most cities and counties require you do obtain a general business license, which authorizes you to conduct business and trade in that specific city and county.
 Hire Employees (if applicable)
If you intend to hire yourself or others as a part-time or full-time worker of your corporation, then you might have to record such employee information with the appropriate state agency, while also obtaining unemployment insurance and/or workers compensation.
 Set up an Accounting and Record-Keeping System
Arrange your record-keeping and accounting system; educate yourself about the taxes your new business is accountable for. Business documents are essential and must be retained for 3 years (this time period can fluctuate depending on the type of business you choose to operate), as well as an inventory of all proprietors and lectures, copies of all formation papers, financial statements, annual reports, and changes to the corporation.
 Obtain Business Insurance
There are numerous kinds of insurance for businesses, but they are typically referred to as a “Business Owner’s Policy” or a “General Business Insurance” and this can cover everything from merchandise obligations to company cars. A proper insurance policy can cost roughly $300/year and provides an added level of security.
 Systemize and Organize
Organize your business. Ensure that you have all necessary paperwork handy at all times. Remember – you will have to handle a variety of things, including work orders, bills, employee pay, taxes, licenses, etc.
 Develop a Business Identity
Getting a good business identity is something that you will want to spend time on. You might want to order some business cards, letterhead, and advertising materials for your corporation. A competently fashioned symbol can make your business look both established and professional.
 Get the Word Out (Marketing)
It is important to get the word out and generate a marketing strategy for your services and products that targets your model client(s). The more people who know about your business, the larger your prospective client base will be.
 Determine if Your Original Price Point(s) Will Work
Make sure you are describing the “issue” your business is resolving. Go over the “solution” your business offers, regardless of whether you’re offering services of some kind or a particular product. Describe your target marketplace. Describe your perfect client. Describe your marketplace size. You might also want to determine how difficult it is to find clients who will pay the price point of your service or product.
 Create a Formal Business Plan (particularly if you are seeking funding)
Although you don’t need a 40-page business strategy to get your business up and running, if you’re looking for funding, financial institutions may ask you for your specific business plan. In this instance, you can ask if a “one-page pitch” would suffice, which should include the following:
Draft an executive summary
List your products and services
Generate a sales plan and marketing
Outline metrics and key milestones
Catalogue your management team
Make a budget
Create an appendix
 Brand Your Business
Creating a strong brand is essential to client loyalty and increasing sales. Select a name for your business or select a product name you know you can brand. Agree on your “brand message;” this message will be recognized as your unique selling proposal.
 Identify Your Product’s Tone of Voice
The soul and heart of all your printed messages is important. Describe what your brand looks like, select a color arrangement, and pick your typefaces. Don’t forget to make a logo for your product and make sure it is interesting.
 Make Your Business Legal
Find for a domain name that corresponds to your business name. Make sure you file for trademark safety if you make the decision to use the name of the business to classify a service or product. Seek an attorney’s assistance if you need assistance with planning your business.
 Get Financed (if Applicable)
While not every business needs outside backing, most industries do necessitate some assistance. If you are a person that has worked through your business strategy and have a sound grip on your financials, pitching for subsidy should be easy, whether it’s to a financier, a venture capital, or your friends.
Guess your startup prices when supporting your business. Choose if you will use the following:
Cash from family and friends
Make the pertinent financial reports with the following:
Loss statement and Profit
Cash flow report
 Starting Your Business
Include your partnership or form an LLC since it offers the owner with personal advantage security from the liabilities and debts of the corporation. Obtain a state tax identification number if required.
 Testing the Waters
Testing the waters is key for the business. You want to make sure you operate a break-even examination to see when and how your business can produce revenue.
If you need assistance with a business startup checklist, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel’s marketplace. UpCounsel receives merely the top 5 percent of attorneys to its site. Attorneys on UpCounsel come from law schools all over the nation.