Are you interested in starting a small business? Congratulations! This is an exciting (and sometimes overwhelming) time. We’ve created a 20-point checklist to get you off to the best possible start. This list covers everything from researching your business idea to registering your business and everything in between. So, let’s get started!
1. Conduct Market Research
Like most people, you’ve thought about starting a small business at some point. It’s a fantastic opportunity to run your own business, choose your own hours, and improve your neighborhood. But where do you start? Developing an idea for a small business can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. By adhering to these easy steps, you may create a clear and workable plan for launching your own small business.
To flourish, you must have a strong sense of commitment to your business. To build your company idea, consider the following questions:
- What are your passions?
- What problems do you see that need to be solved?
- How can you fill a need in your community?
- What are your hobbies?
- Do you have any special talents or skills?
These are just a few questions to get you started. You may begin to fill in the details once you have a rough notion of what you want your business to be.
2. Write Your Business Plan
A business plan provides a sense of direction for your company, including your objectives, approaches, and methods for accomplishing them. While a business plan can seem daunting, it doesn’t have to be. Making a list of everything you must accomplish to launch your business is a good place to start.
It should include a brief history of the business, a description of the products or services offered, and a marketing plan. The business plan should also include a financial plan, which includes a budget and a list of financial goals.
3. Choose A Location
One of the most crucial choices you’ll make when beginning a small business is where to locate it. The location of your business can impact everything from your customer base to your employee recruitment to your bottom line. Consequently, how can you pick the ideal place for your small business? Here are a few things to consider:
Customer base: Where are your potential customers located? If you’re a retail business, you’ll want to be in a convenient location for your customers. You should be closer to your clients if you’re a service business. Consider your customer base when choosing a location.
Foot traffic: Is the location you’re considering situated in an area with high foot traffic? If so, this could benefit your business as it will increase the chances of people happening in your store or office.
Rent: Make sure you can afford the rent for your chosen location. If the rent is too high, it could strain your business’s finances.
The competition: It’s important to choose a location that’s not already saturated with businesses like yours. When you’re the only business of your kind in the region, you will have a greater chance of success.
Zoning regulations: Make sure the area is zoned for the kind of business you intend to run before choosing a location for your enterprise. You can check with your local planning and zoning department to find out what types of businesses are allowed in the area you are considering.
Why Location Is Important For Small Businesses
Location is important for small businesses for many reasons:
- It may be a deciding element in a business’s success or failure.
- The right location can help to attract customers and generate foot traffic.
- A good location can help to reduce operating costs.
When choosing a location for a small business, it is important to consider these factors.
4. Choose Your Business Name
One of the first choices you must make when beginning a small business is the name of your business.
The name should be reflective of what your business does. For example, if you sell handmade soaps, you might want to include the word “soap” in your business name.
The name needs to be simple to pronounce and remember. You need your website to be accessible to potential clients and remember your business name when they need your product or service, and the name should be unique. Check to make sure the name you’ve chosen by someone else.
5. Design Your Business Logo
Your logo is an important component of your brand identification and can draw clients and increase brand recognition for your company. When creating your logo, bear the following in mind:
Ensure simplicity: A complicated logo can be difficult to recall and may discourage potential clients.
Make it memorable: A memorable logo will stick in people’s minds and help them remember your business.
Use colors representing your brand: Colors can evoke certain emotions, so choose wisely.
Note: It’s crucial to remember that anyone who can create a powerful logo for their business doesn’t need to be a graphic designer. You can have the logo designed by a freelance graphic artist or create it yourself with the help of any number of tools available online.
You may pick from various options on various websites, and you will only be charged for the ones you implement. Other websites dedicated to logos, such as Logaster, will provide you with a free logo that resembles a professional design while offering paid services in case you need more.
6. Select Your Business Entity Type
Choosing the right business entity type is one of the most important decisions. Your choice of business entity will significantly impact the organization, taxation, and management of your business.
There are four main business entities: sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited liability companies (LLCs), and corporations. Before choosing, it’s crucial to grasp the distinctions between each because each has advantages and downsides of its own.
7. Create Your Business Website
Building a website is one of the first tasks you must complete when beginning a small business. Why? Because a website is essential for promoting and growing your business. A website is a marketing tool that works for you around the clock, informing potential clients about your business and convincing them to make a purchase.
It’s a terrific method to create confidence and trust with potential and existing customers. Plus, a website is a great platform for selling products and services and can be a powerful tool for promoting events and special offers. In short, a website is an essential part of any small business marketing plan.
The following is a checklist for creating a business website:
Choose your domain name carefully: Your domain name is your website’s online address. It should be easy to remember and brandable. Evaluating the availability of your proposed website address may be accomplished by going to a website that offers domain name registration, such as GoDaddy. You need to go ahead and register it if you want to prevent anyone else from using it for their website if it is accessible.
Find a good web hosting company: Your web hosting company will store your website’s files on their servers and ensure your website is accessible to visitors.
8. Obtain An EIN
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issues Employer Identification Numbers (EINs) to businesses for tax filing purposes. An EIN is also known as a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN). Applying for an EIN is a simple step that can be completed online, by fax, or by mail. There are a few reasons why small businesses need to have an EIN.
The first requirement for opening a business bank account is an EIN. This is because banks use EINs to help verify the identity of businesses. Secondly, businesses need an EIN to file their taxes. Lastly, some businesses may need an EIN to apply for business licenses or permits.
9. Set Up A Business Bank Account
You can manage your funds and keep track of your expenditures with the aid of your business account. A business bank account will also allow you to deposit your revenue and pay your bills. A few considerations must be made while opening a business bank account. First, you need to make sure you choose the right bank. You must do your research to find the best business account for your needs because many banks provide them.
Second, you need to make sure you have the necessary documentation. When you open a business bank account, the bank will require some information from you. This includes your business license, tax ID, and EIN. Obtaining a credit card for your business is another smart move to do.
10. Get Business Licenses And Permits
Making sure you have all the required licenses and permits is among the most crucial things you should do when beginning a small business. Depending on your business, there may be different licenses and permits that you need to obtain. The Small Business Administration or your local Chamber of Commerce may typically provide you with the information you require.
Once you know what licenses and permits you need, the next step is getting them. This can be a bit of a process, but it’s important to ensure you do it right. Start by filling out the required paperwork and then submit it to the appropriate office. Be careful to budget for any fees you might have to pay to obtain your license or permission.
11. Choosing An Accountant
Finding a trained accountant is one of the most crucial parts you can undertake as a small business owner. An accountant can assist you with managing your finances and taxes, which can become quite complicated. This is something that a competent accountant can do for you and offer advice on how to save money and grow your business.
Accountants also have extensive knowledge of effective accounting software and systems, which they can use in their work. In addition, a business accountant will assist you in making the most of your financial resources by helping you identify new avenues of revenue, potential tax write-offs and deductions, areas of the company where to reinvest funds, and a great deal more.
When you’re ready to start looking for an accountant, keep the following things in mind:
- Make sure they have experience working with small businesses. You want someone who understands the unique challenges and opportunities of owning a small business.
- Ask for referrals. Talk to other small business owners and see who they recommend.
- Meet with a few different accounting firms or individuals before making your decision.
12. Setting Up Your Accounting System
As a small business owner, you need an accounting system to help track your income and expenses. This will not only help you stay organized, but it will also assist you in taking note of your funds and ensuring the proper operation of your firm.
This procedure might be made easier with the assistance of your business’s accountant. After establishing the necessary banking procedures for your business, the following step is to select an accounting program.
There is an overwhelming variety of free accounting software platforms to pick from. However, if you are concerned about your business, you should begin with a free one or trial and then work your way up to a premium service. This is the recommended order of operations.
13. Search For A Lawyer
Finding a competent business attorney should be top of your priority list. A business lawyer can help you with all sorts of legal issues, from setting up your business to dealing with contracts.
They can also help you navigate the often-complicated world of business regulations. Finding a good business lawyer doesn’t have to be difficult. Start by asking for recommendations from people you know and trust.
Additionally, lawyers typically have networks of other specialists and professionals who can assist with various aspects of your business operations.
14. Obtain Capital For Your Business
Finding prepared investors is one of the most crucial phases in launching a new firm. Your new organization won’t be able to survive very long if you don’t have the money it needs.
Your personal savings are a great starting point, but also consider asking friends and family for assistance. You should also investigate other potential sources of funding, such as investors, bank loans, venture capitalists, and even crowdfunding, in addition to these potential sources.
15. Get Business Cards
our business card is what will help people remember you and your business, so it’s important to make sure you get them done right.
Make sure your logo is on your business cards. Your logo is what will help people remember your brand, so make sure it’s on there.
Make sure your contact information is on your business cards. This includes your website, email, and phone number.
Make sure your business cards are printed on high-quality paper. This will make them more durable.
Note: Your business will look more professional if you and your staff have business cards.
16. Purchase Equipment And Supplies
Determining what equipment and office supplies you’ll need to buy is a crucial company investment. Nowadays, most companies require basic tools like laptops, internet, and telephone connections. Additionally, some products and equipment are very reliant on the sector that your company operates in.
17. Set Up Your Price
This can be difficult, as you want to ensure you are making a profit but also want to remain competitive. When setting your prices, there are a few factors you should think about.
Cost of goods: This is the cost of the materials or services you provide. You will want to add a markup to this to cover your overhead and make a profit. This includes both the direct costs (e.g., materials, labor, etc.) and the indirect costs (e.g., overhead, marketing, etc.).
Competition: Look at what your competitors are charging and adjust your price. You don’t want to be too high or too low, as this could either turn away customers or leave you struggling to make a profit.
Consider the value of your product or service: How does it compare to similar products or services on the market?
18. Hire An Employees
You’re likely to recruit staff at some time. You must determine the salary range that your business can afford before recruiting anyone. The needs of your business and the kind of person most suited to satisfy those demands must also be precisely identified.
If you’re a startup or new company, you might need more funds to hire full-time employees; in this case, hiring independent contractors might be a wise move.
19. Get Insurance For Businesses
You must ensure your business is adequately insured as a small business owner. Insurance can shield your company against financial losses brought on by things like theft, natural disasters, and legal actions.
Many different types of insurance are available, so it’s important to research and choose the coverage that’s right for your business. Consider consulting with an insurance agent or broker to help you choose the right policy.
Some small business owners feel they don’t need insurance, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. If something happens to your business, you’ll be glad you have insurance to help you through it.
20. Promote Your Business
Creating a marketing plan can help you better understand your business, identify opportunities, and set realistic goals. It can also help you track your progress and measure your success.
Use social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and others to promote your new company globally.
Beyond these internet channels, focus on traditional marketing to effectively spread the word about your business, such as word-of-mouth, increasing SEO, and using the correct combination of methods.
Remember, starting a small business is a huge undertaking. It’s not something to be taken lightly. But if you approach it with the right mindset and a solid plan, you can increase your chances of success. Use this 20-point checklist to ensure you’ve covered all your bases before taking the plunge.