Business Startup Checklist? Many people dream of one day starting a business, but they don’t know where to begin. You’ll need to fulfill a few basic requirements and fill out some paperwork to get your business started, then get licensed, find a location, hire employees and find a way to deal with accounting. If you’re interested in starting your own business, here’s what you’ll need.
Starting a Business
For a lot of people, starting a business is a lifelong dream. You get to do whatever you want to do, and the only time you’ll have to change it up is when your business plan doesn’t make sense financially. Whether you’ve always dreamed of opening up a coffee shop where you roast your own beans and serve delicious baked goods, or you want to start a clothing store and offer some of the best bargains in town, you can pursue that dream. Not only that, but you are also fully responsible for making sure your business succeeds, so the harder you work, the better your business will do. Businesses with forward-thinking, hard-working leaders are the ones that go on to become massively successful.
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Business Startup Checklist: Meet Certain Requirements
Unfortunately, there’s another very real side to starting a business, and it’s something a lot of people would rather not go through. You have to meet certain requirements to start your own business, which includes registering your business with a chosen name, obtaining the necessary licensing and hiring employees if necessary. All of these steps take a lot of time and effort, and you need to have everything lined up before you start your business for the best shot at success. If you’re interested in starting a business, but aren’t sure what you need, check out this business startup checklist for some guidance.
Choosing your Brand Name
The first thing any business needs is a name. Not only does your name give your customers a way to remember and recognize you, but it also serves as your brand for anything you do that’s related to your business. If you’re handing out a business card, answering the phone or sending somebody an invoice, it will have your business’s name on it. This is why it’s so important to choose a good name.
Good Business Name
So what exactly makes a good business name? For starters, you’ll want to make it short and sweet. While a long business name comprised of two different words mashed together may be appealing to you, you need to resist that urge and think about the customer. People enjoy businesses with names they are familiar with. If it’s something that attracts customers’ attention, they are more likely to check your business out. If they like what you do, there’s a good chance you’ll be getting some business from word of mouth.
Avoid choosing a name that’s overly personal to you, difficult to say or potentially offensive in any way.
When you start a business, you have many different options for what type of business you want to start. You can start a sole proprietorship where you are the only one responsible for the company’s finances, or you can opt for less liability with an LLC. There is no one right answer when it comes to choosing a legal structure for your business; it’s simply a matter of figuring out what your business needs are and selecting a legal structure based on that. If you’re having trouble deciding, you can read more about the various legal structures online.
The most common legal structure for a business is a sole proprietorship, wherein the owner is completely responsible for the company and its finances. Taxes are paid personally by the owner, and the owner is responsible for any debt should anything happen.
In a partnership, two or more people agree to split the profits from a business. This works similarly to a sole proprietorship in many ways, except all partners are personally responsible for any financial matters relating to the company.
Large businesses are often managed under a sort of entity system as a corporation. Instead of having an individual who is responsible for the company, the corporation itself becomes a person. If there is a legal issue or taxes must be paid, they are the burden of the corporation. Of course, somebody will still have to pay taxes, but they will do so on behalf of the corporation.
Limited liability companies are a sort of balance between corporations and sole proprietorships. In an LLC, the owners of the business aren’t personally responsible for taxes and legal actions of a business, but they can still pass profits and losses through without taxation.
All businesses have to pay taxes, and the IRS needs to have a way to know which taxes are coming from which business, and who to contact when it hasn’t received payments from a certain business. Because of this, every business operating in the United States has an employee identification number (EIN). This nine-digit number is used for tax and employment forms to identify your company.
The good news is, you can apply for an EIN online as long as your business is in the United States. You will need to have a valid social security or taxpayer identification number to get an EIN. Next, you will need to fill out an application. There is an online application on the IRS website; you will need to fill this out in one session. If you leave the computer for more than 15 minutes at once, your session will expire, and you’ll have to start your application over again. When you finish, you can submit your form, and you will receive your EIN. You will get your EIN as soon as your application goes through, and then you can print an EIN confirmation.
Most people have one or two bank accounts for taking care of basic needs, such as bills and shopping. When you start a business, you need to open a bank account to take care of all your needs that aren’t basic—the ones that are related to your business. This will allow you to separate your company’s finances from your own and easily pay employees and other costs.
Before you start a bank account, you should call a few banks and ask about their requirements for starting a business checking account. For some banks, you won’t need much at all, while others require a great deal of verification to make sure you’re eligible for a business checking account.
Lease Your Space
If your business is going to require a physical space, such as an office or storefront, now is the time to lease that space. You can contact commercial real estate agencies throughout your city to see what sort of properties they have available for commercial use. It’s important to talk to a real estate agent and get your lease set up before you actually start your business since you don’t want to go through the trouble of starting a business without having an actual business to run.
Licenses and Permits
Depending on what type of business you’re running, you may need to get a license or permit to operate legally. Most companies don’t require you to have a license or permit, but there are plenty that does, including investment advising, drug manufacturing, alcohol, tobacco and firearm sales, broadcasting, preparing meat products and transportation via ground.
You may also need to obtain state licenses to make sure your business is fully legal. Businesses that require state licenses often include bill collectors, private investigators, banks, building contractors, accountants, funeral directors and more. To find out what licensing your business needs if any, contact the agency that is responsible for dealing with your line of business.
One of the most overlooked parts of owning a business is hiring employees. As much as you might like to control every aspect of your business, that’s simply not possible for many companies unless you’re working extremely hard or doing things on a small scale. If you know you can’t quite handle everything on your own, you need to make sure you hire a few good employees to help you out.
Hiring employees is a matter of reading people and looking for certain personality traits. You want somebody who listens well, works hard and doesn’t mind taking constructive criticism here and there. Before you hire anybody to help you run your business, you should interview plenty of candidates to get a good idea of the talent that’s available to you.
Whether you hire an accountant or take on the task yourself, you need to figure out a way to get your accounting and record-keeping set up right. These records can make all the difference if you find yourself in a situation where you need to produce them, so it’s incredibly important that they are accurate and complete.
The last thing you want is to be financially responsible for something that goes wrong with your business or the building it’s in. Luckily, you can get a good business insurance policy for a few hundred dollars a year. These policies will generally cover product liability, company vehicles, loss of income, employee injuries and illnesses, and perhaps more. Speak with your insurance provider to learn more about what they cover specifically.
Make the Move
Now that you know everything you need to start your own business, you can go out there and get started. So what are you waiting for? Start planning today, and your dream business could be a reality sooner than you think.