How to start a business: The Checklist

Practical steps for a smooth start

Congratulations on preparing to move forward with your big idea! This is an exciting time. As you move through your “how to start a business” to-do list, you’ll find that you may never be busier than during this startup period. After you evaluate your business idea, research the market and your potential customer base, and determine startup costs, you’ll be ready to take on the next steps.

To help make sure you don’t overlook anything in the crush of daily duties, BizFilings and GoDaddy got together to create a handy “How to start a business” checklist.

From incorporation and business licenses to federal EIN numbers and building your brand identity with a domain and website, the checklist contains all the steps you should take to get your business up and running.

Track your progress as you go and you’ll be on your way to getting your company started the right way — and set up for success from the get-go!

Read on for highlights, and be sure to download your free checklist below

Spray Paint Checklist
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Checklist highlights: How to start a business

Here are some special features you’ll find as you go through the checklist:

Background steps

Take time to review the background steps you need to take before starting a business, including establishing business goals, determining the best location for your business, and assessing your financial situation.

An easy-to-use Incorporation Wizard

Incorporation is one of the most important decisions you can make and helps distinguish your personal assets from your business assets. But there is more than one way to incorporate.

The nifty Incorporation Wizard helps you discover the pros and cons of each business type (LLC, S-corp, C-corp or Non-profit) so that you can determine which is ultimately the right one for your startup.

You’ll also need to decide in which state to incorporate. Invest the time to go through the Wizard and read about your options, and talk to trusted advisors — it’s worth noodling this over from multiple angles.

Business License Wizard

Identify all of the business licenses your company needs to efficiently operate. Get instant access to applications for your business licenses and permits unique to your very own business and locale. Operating without the right permits can be risky and costly — and yet the regulations are complex. The Business License Wizard will show you the numbers — you may even need more licenses than you realize!

Links to important resources

The “How to start a business” checklist also includes links a number of valuable resources so you can take action on:

Many of these are important steps to establish your startup in a compliant way.

Branding basics

After you get a domain, move on down the checklist for ideas for how to create a website, business cards and logo. These branding basics can make a strong first impression to future customers.

Transactional to-dos

You’ll find a rundown of essential startup business transactions, such as hiring a lawyer, establishing a line of credit, and obtaining business insurance.

Pre-opening tasks

Learn about all of the pre-opening steps you may need to take, including reviewing building codes and joining professional organizations.

There’s a lot to do, no doubt! But this checklist will help you keep it manageable, ensure you’ve covered your bases early on, and put your startup in the best possible position.

Can’t view the document in your browser? Click here to download a PDF copy.

Image by: hyku via / CC BY-SA