The American dream is still a goal for many people. However, the idea itself has transformed to include one extra thing-owning a business. To work for yourself is a goal of many; yet, knowing where to start is what stops many people from moving forward. The list below you will find a startup checklist that has all the required steps to achieving opening your doors to the public.
The Business checklist
1) Having a Business Idea
It would be best if you had a business idea before you can open any business up. The best way for you to decide what company you best would succeed in would be to know what you are passionate about. If you have no desire to work in a particular field or area of work for whatever reason, then to try and open a business in that area would be foolish on your part. Here are some things to consider for the “business idea.”
- What are you passionate about?
- What would make you sacrifice your sleep with no regrets?
- What would you do?
- Where is your audience?
- Who would be your competition?
2) Do your research
Now that you have your business idea, now is to figure out how best to start. Here is where you will need to do some research to know where you will stand when you begin. This research is a step that should not be skipped. You will need to know where your audience is and what problem or problems you will be solving that other companies are leaving wide open. Here is where your startup checklist comes into play hardcore. Here are the questions you will need to be able to answer if you are serious about owning your own business.
- What problems will you be solving?
- What services will your providing?
- What will make you different from your competitors?
- Who are your competitors?
- Where is your audience?
- How will you be able to reach your audience best?
- How and where can you ask your potential customer what they want?
- How will you advertise?
- Do you need help financing your startup?
- How well do you know the industry that you want to compete?
- How many employees will you need?
- Will you offer shares?
3) Business Plan/ Finances
Depending on what business you want to start and the type of funding you will need, you may need to create a business plan. If you need a loan or financing from any finance institutions, then creating a forty-page business plan will be required. In it, you will need to list your products and services, a summary of what you will be doing, and create a financial plan, to name a few things.
In your business plan, you will need to include:
- Your products and services
- A summary of what you will be doing (Make it a one pager summary)
- A financial plan
- A marketing and sales plan
- A pitch
- Outline the milestones
- What are your forecast costs?
- What are your forecast losses?
If, however, you are planning on creating a business that only requires your talent like writing, drawing, or a small business that does not require a high startup cost, then you may not need to create a forty-page business plan. It is still an excellent idea for you to write a small one of one to five pages depending on what you need.
When it comes to the finances of your business, no matter the size, you will need to think about and answer the following questions in addition to the items listed above.
- What type of license will you need?
- What are your startup costs?
- Do you have an exit strategy?
- Who will you use for accounting? Is it in-house or outsourced accounting?
- Who will you open your business account with?
- Are there annual license renewal costs?
- What building type will you use?
- How much will your rent be?
- Where will you do your business?
- Will you have brick and mortar or sell online?
- How much will money per month be spent on advertising online or offline?
- Who is your target market audience?
- Where are they located?
- Where will you advertise?
- If you only sell your services online, who will you use?
- When will you need a CRM system to manage your customers?
4) Your Brand, Your Logo!
The most important thing a business can have is their branding. Branding is one of the critical parts of the business checklist; you must check off. Think of your branding as your reputation. This branding is what the customer first sees, so consider what you want them to think and feel. Your logo should tell the customer who you are and what you stand for. Consider the color theory when creating your logo and your business name.
If you have not heard about what the color theory is and how it works, then a quick explanation is in order. Each color of the color wheel conveys certain emotions in people. This is how branding color psychology comes about. Some of the best examples would be fast food and social media industries. Yellow conveys hungry which is used in many fast food logos, with one known for its famous arches, and Blue conveys trust and dependability, used by at least two social media platforms that keep people from all over the world glued to their phones.
Once you have decided on the name and the colors used for your branding, it is highly recommended that you legally protect them by having them trademarked. There is no reason to put in all this hard work and to allow someone to steal or copy it easily.
Here are some things you need to think about.
- What will your business name be?
- What style of writing will you use for your name?
- What will your logo look like?
- What colors will you use?
- Will your logo be simple or a little busy?
- How much will it cost to have your logo trademarked?
- How much will it cost to have your business name trademarked?
- Will you have them trademarked? (it is highly recommended that you do so)
- Will you have them internationally trademarked?
5) The legal side of it
Now that you have created a business plan, or at least an outline and have decided on your business name and logo, you will need to make it all legal. Here is where you have two choices. You can use either one, do it yourself online or two, go through a business lawyer to set everything up for you. Whichever your option, it must be done to be compliant with state and federal laws. Remember working without a business license results in huge fines.
Once you start setting up the legal side of your business, you will need to think about the type of business license you will need. There are four different types of business licenses, sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, and Limited Liability Company, or LLC. They are all taxed differently and offer different levels of protection if you are ever sued. Granted the size of your business and how many employees you plan on having will help determine what kind of license to get if you have not done your research yet.
Here are some things you will need to have and consider.
- A tax ID number
- A business License
- Will you have the business paperwork set up by a layer, or will you do it yourself?
- What state will you set your business up in?
- Will you be required also to get a county license as well?
- How often will these licenses be required to be renewed?
- Will your business require multiple vehicles?
- What type of insurance will be required, if any?
6) Time to set up shop
Now that you have checked off everything in this business checklist, it is time to find a location to open your business. When opening a brick and motor place, the most important thing to remember is location, location, location. Primarily if your business relies on heavy foot traffic, you will need to be in an area that people can easily find you. If that is not possible, then the location will need to have readily available signage so you can guide people to you. If you choose to do business online and at fairs like farm markets, then finding a location that has the right zoning areas for you to create and store your products will be significant. Think also about the cost of rent of the site and how large or small it will be. If you plan to grow your business with a few years, you may want to find a place a little larger then what you immediately need. It is all up to you to decide what will be best for your budget and the business that you want.
Once you find a location, you will need to decide on who you will hire for employees. What will the job description be? What requirements and qualifications will you require? Will they be freelancers, or will they part-time and full-time employees? How much will you pay them? Will you offer your employees insurance? Who will you go with when it comes to Workers’ compensation insurance?
Things to consider:
- The Location
- The size of the location
- The accessibility
- The parking
- The rent
- The foot traffics
- Does the location work for the type of business you want?
- Does the zoning area work with the business that you have?
- If your business only sells online, is the location big enough for growth?
- What are the job requirements that future employees need to meet?
- What kind of employees do you want; Full time or part-time?
- Will you or someone be training your employees to be a team player?
- Will you offer your employees insurance?
There are a lot of things to do and set up before you make your first sale. While this checklist may seem daunting at times, it is essential to make sure you have all your ducks in order before any trouble may come to find you. Remember, the IRS and the government have no sense of humor. Therefore, this startup checklist was created. So, you would know what to do without having to up the guesswork into it.
An author of Namaste UI, published several articles focused on blogging, business, web design & development, e-commerce, finance, health, lifestyle, marketing, social media, SEO, travel.
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