Checklist To Help You Start Own Business

Brainstorming & Planning Your Business

  1. Are you ready to start your own business? I'm happy to hear that! Do you know what kind of business you want? Here's 50 small business ideas to help you think of YOUR perfect business.
  2. After you've decided that you're really serious about starting your own business, you need to have a business plan! It's your road map to success or at least, to your business survival. Don't hire someone else to write it for you... it's your business, you need to write your own business plan.

    I came up with an easy way to write your own business plan. It's not detailed enough to show the bank when asking for a loan. That wants a much more detailed plan! But completing a simple plan is better than avoiding writing a business plan because the idea scares you! Click here to see a simple way to write your business plan. Once you're sure you ready, this business checklist shows you some important things you need to do. There's an old saying that says, "The devil's in the details". That's especially true when you start your own business. Once you get started, all kinds of things you've never thought about before will need to be done. Handle them as they come up. So, where or how do you begin?

Naming Your Business

  1. I put choosing your business name near the business checklist for a reason. When you're starting a business of your own, I think that naming it as soon as possible helps “make it real” for you! It's hard to claim ownership, even in your own mind, of something that's "nameless." If you're stuck on this step, check out these business name ideas. And here's some other ideas about choosing your business name. You'll choose your domain name while you're working on this step too.

Legal Business Requirements

  1. Now you're ready for the legal side of starting your own business. Remember, I'm writing this in the US & talking about our requirements. First you need to register your business name. Your business name isn't a license although it's registered with your state. There can be only one business called by your name in your particular state. Here's how to register a business name everywhere it needs to be done.
  2. Choose your "business entity." What type of business are you forming? Sole proprietorship is the easiest to form. That is exactly what it sounds like... "sole" means only one owner. If you are working with someone else, you may want to look into different kinds of partnerships or corporations. Figure it out now while you're still in the planning to starting your own business. It's hard to change it later. Do check with your lawyer for more information.
  3. Here's everybody's favorite... Taxes! Tax set-up needs to be done while you're starting your business. There's federal, state and local taxes to set up. I'm in the US, so you may have different taxes to pay. You also have to decide whether to use your social security as your ID number. You may need a federal and state tax ID. To learn about this you'll need to do your homework. Talk to your accountant or business lawyer if you need to. Our government has a very thorough website with all the info you should need. Plan on taking time to study there.
  4. Licensing for businesses vary... check state and local gvt. for info. Most home-based businesses will only need a local business license. But we really did have to go door-to-door once, asking for signed permission when my husband started his home-based plumbing business within city limits! I've found a website that should help you a lot with the last four steps. Click here to go to a US government website with lots of info.

Here's The Part About Money

  1. Where are you getting the money for starting your business? It's important to have funds in place when you start, and enough to get by on for awhile. It will probably take some time before you're profitable. If you've been planning to start your own business for awhile, you may have money saved up. Good for you! That saves you the trouble of trying to find business funding. Here's info about finding money for starting a business.
  2. Banking- Who will you choose & trust to handle your money? This is important. "Interview" several different banks. Find out their policies, like ATM fees, overdraft fees, how long you have to wait before your money is available to you after it's deposited. These important details can make your banking chores either a pleasure or a nightmare. Choose wisely. Click here for more information about choosing a business bank.
  3. How will you receive money from your customer? Cash or credit card? The system you choose needs to be in place from the beginning. When you're just starting your own business, your choices may be limited. Talk to your banker AND do research online. You'll find a payment system that fits your needs.
  4. Write a basic budget. This step is hard to do when you're just starting own business. You won't have any figures yet to work with yet. Don't let that stop you from trying. List any expenses you think your business will have, weekly, monthly and yearly. Then add about 20% more, because something you don't expect will always happen. Write it all down. You can track your actual expenses and adjust your budget once you've started your business.

    This budget is very important to your success. While you're doing this, keep your own personal budget in mind. You'd better know how much you need to live on. Your bills don't go away just because you've started a business. Get out your personal records and do some math to figure out the minimum you'll need.

Set Goals

  1. Once you've written your business plan and have the rest of your business details in place, it's time to set some goals. Write them down. Make them specific and measurable. Give yourself deadlines for reaching them. What are you willing to do or give up to reach your goals. Be realistic, but think positive!

Well, that's about it. If you think I've left anything out, let me know. I really believe that the more you plan your business, the more likely you are to succeed. That's what this page and the rest of the Hungry Entrepreneur website is about.... advice on planning your business. By following this business checklist, you'll move beyond planning and starting your own business. You'll become a successful entrepreneur! Here's 10 business tips to help you.

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