Small Business Startup Checklist: How to Start a Small Business

Small Business

Small Business Startup Checklist: How to Start a Small Business

Published on January 22, 2017

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The success of your new company depends on you finding the right small business resources and following critical steps to get off on the best foot. The combination of practical financial decisions, effective marketing strategies and necessary legal choices puts you in a position to thrive as your business grows. This guide aims to answer that all too important question: how to start a small business right.

How to Start a Small Business Plan

Every small business owner needs an actionable business plan that allows you to develop financial projections based on fact. If you are wondering how to start a small business, a well-defined business plan is your launching point.
According to the Small Business Administration, a business plan should include:

  • An executive summary
  • A company description
  • A market analysis
  • The business management structure
  • Information about your service or product line
  • Marketing and sales strategies
  • Funding and financial projections

Use available small business resources like those at your local bank or online from government agencies such as the Small Business Association to create a plan that stands out and gets your company noticed.

Develop Small Business Resources for Funding and Finance

This goes beyond just finding the money to open the doors. You need a tax or business accountant to ensure you file all the right forms and to help you navigate the legal issues. You will also need a business bank account and possibly startup funding.
The company will require an internal accounting system, as well, to manage:

  • Accounts receivables
  • Accounts payables
  • General ledger

Consider Your Insurance Options for Small Business

Insurance comes in many forms when you are a small business owner. One of the most effective small business resources available to you is a licensed insurance broker who can offer various health insurance options for you, your family and any employees you hire.
You will likely need other types of small business resources for insurance, too, such as:

  • General liability
  • Property
  • ­Commercial auto
  • Data breach
  • Life

Develop a Legal Structure for your Small Business

Small business resources from the IRS and your state government can offer advice on creating a legal structure for your new business. You’ll need to decide what option best suits your company for legal and tax purposes such as:

  • Sole proprietorship
  • Partnership
  • Limited liability
  • Corporation

You need to make this decision when filing for a tax identification number and registering your business with the state.

Get the Necessary Business Licenses for Small Business

Online small business resources from your state will guide you on how to file for business licenses and what the specific requirements are for approvals. It may take some time to get all the paperwork processed, so plan ahead otherwise you may end having to delay your opening while you wait.

Learn How to Be a Responsible Employer

Even if you are not hiring employees right away, at some point you may need to add more people to your business. Managing a staff is more complex than you might think. You’ll need:

  • To obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) – The IRS has small business resourcesthat can help you file for an EIN or talk to your lawyer.
  • To figure out how to withhold taxes and make tax payments
  • Learn to verify employee eligibility
  • Register with the state’s new hire reporting program
  • Post the proper employee notifications

It is fun starting a new business, but it is a lot of work, too. From developing your idea to recordkeeping, there is a right and wrong way to do things. Learning to use the small business resources at your disposal is a good place to start.
Please note that this article is for general information only, and is not intended to be a comprehensive guide and should not be used as legal advice.

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