All about the Business Checklist and How to Build One
A checklist is basically a list of items required, things to be done, or points to be considered. When you start a business, it can be helpful to create a business checklist. It takes the guessing out and provides you with an easy visual of what to do and expect next.
Wondering what steps you must take to get your small business started? What should you do first? Where should you go? What to do next? What next? Starting a business checklist can come handy as it tells you the steps you need to take to launch your business the right way.
1. Startup Business Checklist
The small business start-up checklist below will help remind you of the tasks you may have to perform when starting your business. Here is how it works—the checklist includes items that apply to many different types of startups across various industries. Not every small business will have to complete each step. Depending on your business, starting a business checklist could be the best way of going about things. Since laws from state to state and by the type of business, be sure to check with local authorities to determine if there are any additional legal requirements.
2. Determine the Viability of Your Business Idea
First things first—you need to determine whether your business idea is viable. Be brutally honest with yourself. Your startup needs to be something you can make a profit doing. Ask yourself: Would you buy it? Are you satisfied with the service/product? Will customers pay enough so that you can cover costs and make a profit? There are a lot of questions you need to ask yourself, so be realistic.
3. Create a Business Plan
This is an important step that you simply cannot skip on. It’s easy to convince yourself that you don’t need a business plan—that you have got it all straightened out. But creating a business plan with financial projections helps you think through important details. Keep your plan a living breathing thing that you can come back to later and revise and adapt accordingly.
Most startups take a lot of time to get off the ground—staring a business is no cakewalk when it comes to finances. You must figure out how to pay the bills for the first year. What your living expenses will be and where it will come from—whether from savings, a job, spouse’s income, etc. If you need financing for the business, start exploring possible avenues of fundraising as soon as possible.
5. Get Family Behind You
An entrepreneur’s journey is full of ups and downs. You need the support of your family at every stage of the business. Make sure you have your family’s support. You’ll have enough challenges without resistance from family.
6. Choose a Business Name
This is one of the most important aspects—you want your business to reflect what your business stands for, a name that can resonate with customers and create a connection with people. You want a name that will stick with your target audience. And it shouldn’t already be taken by another company. Do Google searches and use a corporate name search tool to make sure that the name you have in mind is not taken and is unique. Check at the state and national levels.
7. Register a Domain Name
Everything is online nowadays. Even if the business you are staring at is a brick and mortar business, you will need digital exposure. Get a matching domain to your business name, along with a professional email address.
8. Figure Out the Legal Structure
Think about the legal entity of your business—talk over structure (corporation, LLC, sole proprietorship) with your attorney and accountant.
9. Register Your Company
These are the four major steps to be followed for startups:
- Acquiring Digital Signature Certificate (DSC)
- Acquiring Director Identification Number (DIN)
- Filing an eForm or New User Registration
- Incorporate the company (legal entity)
It’s necessary to get registered to run your business without any legal hassles.
10. Investigate and Apply for Business Licenses
Research and explore what kinds of permits and business licensee you need. Depending on the industry you are in and your location, you may need one, if not several, business licenses for your startup. Most licenses are at the state or local level.
11. Set Up a Website
Get your website up and running as soon as possible. Everything is digitalized nowadays and being online creates credibility. Start with company information and add an “About Us” page even if your product is not yet built. You can generate lots of hype before launching your product.
12. Social Media Profiles
Getting set up on the major social media channels (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram) is important and will make marketing on them later easier.
13. Start Your Revenue Stream
Do not wait for the perfect time—as soon as you have registered your business, start generating revenue. At the early stages of a startup, there is never enough money. Speaking of generating revenue, get your customer contract forms ready.
14. Rent Retail or Office Space
If you’ve got a brick-and-mortar business, you’ll need to sort this out in the early stages of your business. If you plan to run a retail business, you must pay attention to customer demographics, their needs, your local competition, foot traffic, accessibility, and other factors that will affect the number of people that will walk in your store.
15. Order Business Cards
Ideally, this can be done in the early stages of your business. As a startup founder, you’ll be doing a lot of networking. Cards give you credibility.
16. Open a Business Bank Account
Never mix business and personal accounts. It can be too easy to use your personal bank account to pay for business expenses, but it becomes very difficult to tally.
17. Set up Your Accounting System
Once you have your bank account set up, choose an accounting system. This is very important. Proper bookkeeping is vital. Also, get a card swipe device to accept payments.
18. Use Business Apps
A phone with good business apps can be very helpful in managing the daily tasks of your startup. Consider going digital in order to manage and automize tasks.
19. Business Resources
Join business networking groups to find small business resources can provide you with free advice, access to business templates, and other tools.
20. Secure Insurance Coverage
Depending on the type of business and the stage of business you are in, you may need certain types of insurance. Talk with your insurance agent to see what kind of coverage your business needs.
21. Line up Suppliers and Vendors
Finding a good source of inventory is critical for some types of business (like catering, retail, etc.), Line up reliable suppliers and vendors.
Don’t forget to network! Reach out to people and grow your business network. Reach out to friends and former co-workers.
23. Marketing and Sales Approach
As you go along you will learn more about the marketplace. Create a marketing and sale strategy. Don’t forget branding! Use customer feedback to refine your product and offerings.
24. Get a Mentor
The right mentor for your business is the one who shares your vision, understands the challenges that lie ahead and has the insight to mentor you and help you succeed. A mentor who has prospered in your industry can provide you with priceless advice and serve as a sounding board, and help you flourish and succeed.
Your checklist might be longer than this but organizing what needs to be done makes it easier to prioritize. Starting your own business may sound like a huge thing. It is. Yes, you must work hard, and commit to working on your business. But, if you have a checklist handy, it is simply down to making sure you’ve “checked all the boxes.”