Are you thinking about starting your own business? If so you are one of thousands of Americans that do so every year. More businesses fail than succeed, however the more you know about how to start a business the more likely you will have success. To help you do so we have put together a list of beginning stages to help you get your business started.
Create your business idea
1. Figure out the type of business you want to start.
2. Do some research and run some numbers to determine if your idea can make you money.
3. Create a business plan that includes profit/loss statement and cash flow estimations.
4. Get financing if needed to help your business get started. The process takes longer than you think.
5. Create a marketing plan.
Determine the best way to legally set up you business
6. Identify who will be owners or partners in your company.
7. Figure out how you want to structure your business. Hire an attorney or talk to you CPA.
8. Based on your business risks determine how much protection from liabilities you will need.
9. Figure out the best way for your business to be taxed.
10. Consider if your company could sell shares of stock one day.
Pick a name for your company
11. Choose a business name that is suitable for your products and services.
12. Check to see if those company names are available as website domains names.
13. Call the county clerks office to see if those names are on a list of assumed or fictitious business names.
14. If you are setting up as an LLC or a corporation see if those names are available with the secretary of state.
15. Conduct a federal or state trademark search. If your ideal names are being used delete them from your list.
Get your business name registered
16. If necessary register your business name with the county clerk as an assumed or fictitious business name.
17. If you are going to do business on a regional or national basis register your business name as a federal or state trademark.
18. Try to get the same domain name registered as your business name.
Set up the structure of your company
19. Will you be a partnership, LLC, S-Corporation, or Corporation?
20. Discuss with an attorney or CPA to determine what is best for you.
Find some commercial space
21. Identify the type of space you will need.
22. Figure out how much rent you can afford.
23. Drive around to see what locations would best suit your business.
24. Consider hiring a commercial real estate advisor to help with your search.
25. Ensure that any space you lease is properly zoned for your use.
26. Before signing a commercial lease make sure to properly negotiate the rate, terms, and contract.
Get all required permits and licenses
27. Get an employment identification number (fill out IRS form SS-4), unless you will be a sole proprietor.
28. If you are selling retail goods get a permit from your state.
29. Get your business license (aka local tax registration cert).
30. Get other permits (zoning, variances, etc.) as needed.
Obtain your business and real estate insurance
31. Determine what insurance you will need for your business and real estate.
32. Get quotes on general liability and property insurance. Landlords will want you to have this.
33. Get quotes on health and disability insurance for you and/or employees.
Get your books set up
34. Figure out which accounting method you will use: Cash or accrual.
35. Will you be on a calendar year or fiscal year?
36. Hire a bookkeeper or CPA or purchase quick books if doing it yourself.
Get your tax reporting set up
37. Learn the tax structure and scheme for your business
38. Find out what business deductions and depreciation you qualify for.
39. Get the IRS Tax Calendar for small business.
40. Get two IRS publications: #583 – Taxpayers starting a business, and #334 – Tax guide for small business
As you can see there are a lot of steps to start a new business. The time it takes to accomplish all this will be longer than you think. Get started early to get your decisions made and your policies, procedures, and paperwork in place.