New Business Start-Up Checklist

Starting a New Business Checklist:

Before you open your doors:

  • So… You’re thinking about starting a new business.  Why? (What is your exit plan?)
  • Choose your Accountant, Lawyer and Financial Planner
  • Set up a Board of Directors (or an Advisory Board) and hold an organizational meeting
  • Choose your business entity wisely (ask your tax advisor which entity is best for you)
  • Choose a name for your business and lock it in with the Secretary of State and IRS
  • Create a long-term Business Plan (VERY important, as a failure to plan is a plan to fail)
  • Choose a location for your business (as Realtors will tell you, Location, Location, Location!)
  • Lease versus purchase for your business location – Which will be better for you and why?
  • Start the marketing process!
  • Fund your business (Business loan, personal loan, investment money??)
  • Open a business bank account (What not to put in your bank account? Personal expenses!)
  • Get your business license from your County or City if you are in the City limits
  • Set up your company for payroll (with the IRS, your State, Dept. of Labor)
  • Set up a Sales Tax account with the State if sales taxes will apply to your situation
  • Insurance – Many kinds for many situations – ALL very important to consider!
  • Signage – (easy to read). This may be a prospects first impression of your company
  • Get your IT needs set up
  • Identify your target market and the best way to get in front of them
  • Establish an internet presence (Website, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.)
  • Set up your accounting system
  • Get set up on receiving credit cards (many different ways to do it, all with different costs)
  • Start the hire process for your staff (Employees or Contract?? Are they really contract??)

After you open your doors:

  • Network Marketing (I call it Visibility Networking). People need to know you are here!
  • Other Marketing (Direct Marketing and Targeted Marketing, Social Medias)
  • Know where you get your new clients! This can be easily tracked in your accounting system
  • Staying in touch with your clients in meaningful ways
  • Enter your data into your accounting system (Income and Expenses) on a current basis
  • Invoice quickly after services are performed and stay on top of collections!
  • Enter your budget (preferably from your Business Plan) into your accounting system
  • Review your data frequently (and see how it compares to your Business Plan / Budget)
  • Meet with your Board of Directors/Advisory Board frequently (and record the minutes)
  • Revise your Business Plan annually (this is a living document)
  • Stay Compliant (taxes, legal, etc.). If you don’t, you will not like may happen later!
  • Repeat all of the last 11 steps often!!

Failure is not an option. It is, however, a nagging possibility that helps to keep you focused!!

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Published in: on December 8, 2012 at 6:58 pm  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Great checklist. You say “failure is not an option”. I disagree. With all businbess, start-up and established, failure is a reality.. it’s just that in most cases it is not fatal. It is these failures that you learn from and build a lasting and solid foundation for your enterprise.

  2. I also believe this should be included: http://smallbusinessonlinecommunity.bankofamerica.com/message/117183#117183


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