Building from the Ground Up? Here is a checklist of things to do.
PRELIMINARY MARKET RESEARCH:
Is your new venture feasible, marketable and will it be profitable? If you are starting with a business plan, all this will be answered in advance. If you do not have a business plan, you should start one just to be sure you are not wasting your time or money. See the “business plan checklist”.
NAME YOUR BUSINESS:
Do some market research. Run Google searches, and look up the name on your state’s website. See if a domain name is available. You should trademark your business name and logo.
START YOUR WEBSITE:
Now is the time to start setting up your website. Why? Because your website will clearly explain your value proposition. You can get family, friends, and advisors to look at your site and provide you with feedback. This is much better than asking people to read over a business plan. If you are capable of selling online, this may be the first revenue stream for your company. Your email account will also operate from your domain name.
What type of business is best for you? Decide and set up your company. The most common business forms are sole proprietorship, partnership, S corporation, C corporation or Limited Liability Corporation (LLC).
EMPLOYER IDENTIFICATION NUMBER (EIN):
You can use your social security number – but it is best to obtain an EIN from the IRS.
REQUIRED BUSINESS LICENSES AND PERMITS:
You will need a business license in your local jurisdiction. You may need zoning approval. If you need a professional license, reseller’s license or a health department permit (as an example).
OPEN A BUSINESS BANK ACCOUNT:
After you are incorporated and have your EIN, you can open a bank account. Keep all your revenue and investment funds in this account and keep them separate from your personal account. This is especially important if you are thinking about growing your company (and selling or franchising). You must have a bank account to receive money from customers.
LIABILITY AND OTHER BUSINESS INSURANCE:
Before you sell to the general public meet with an insurance agent and obtain insurance that will protect you, your investors and your customers. You need insurance for your company vehicles, your furniture, and equipment. If you have employees, most states require you to carry workers’ compensation insurance. The type of insurance you need will depend on the type of business you are opening.
Now you are ready to sell your goods or services. You need a marketing plan and some marketing materials, a good website and social media outlets.