Every small business owner needs a good attorney and accountant on their team. You will also benefit from advisors such as the mentors at SCORE.
This should include a description of your business model, a competitive analysis and market strategy, how you will operate and financial projections.
Select your business name; make sure it’s legally available and trademark it. If you will be using a DBA (doing business under another name than your own), file a DBA with your city.
LEGAL FORM OF BUSINESS:
Decide if you will operate as a sole proprietorship, partnership, S corporation, C corporation or Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) and register your business entity with your state.
REQUIRED BUSINESS LICENSES AND PERMITS:
In addition to a general business license for your city, you may need specialized documents such as a reseller’s license or a health department permit.
TAX ID NUMBER AND/OR EMPLOYER IDENTIFICATION NUMBER (EIN):
Obtain these from the IRS.
BUSINESS BANK ACCOUNT:
Keep your business and personal accounts separate. You’ll need a business bank account to receive and make payments, pay taxes and pay employees.
Most startup entrepreneurs finance their businesses using their own personal savings or money from family and friends.
Depending on your industry, you may choose to run your business from home (check with the city to make sure it’s legal) or to rent a commercial office, retail or restaurant location.
Customers and prospective customers need a way to contact you. Depending on your business, you may get by with a smartphone or you may need a full landline phone system.
Purchase a domain (URL) for your business and get business email under that domain so your business looks professional.
Basics include a business website and business cards. You may also want to develop brochures, fliers, price sheets or other print materials.
It’s a good idea to get insurance for your equipment, your location and your business vehicles. If you have employees, most states require you to carry workers’ compensation insurance.
Business equipment generally includes computers, printers, furniture, phones, mobile devices and software, as well as any specialized equipment for your industry.
If you need employees to get your business off the ground, make time to hire and train them before you open. If you can’t afford full-time employees, consider hiring part-time workers or independent contractors.