Guides

Business Startup Checklist

After you evaluate your business idea, determine startup costs and research the market, you’ll be ready to take on the next steps to starting your business.

Track your progress as you go with this business startup checklist:

  1. Incorporate your business or form an LLC. This provides the owner with personal asset protection from the debts and liabilities of the company.
  2. Obtain your federal tax identification number (also called employer identification number or EIN). It's used by the IRS to identify your business for all taxation matters.
  3. Obtain the necessary business licenses and/or permits. Licenses may be required by your city, municipality, county and/or state. Contact your Secretary of State and local government to ensure you meet any requirements.
  4. Open a business bank account and obtain a business credit card. Contact your bank about business banking requirements to ensure you have all the necessary paperwork.
  5. Establish business credit. A line of credit lessens the number of times your business must prepay for products. It also establishes a favorable credit history.
  6. Ensure you comply with government requirements (e.g., unemployment insurance, worker’s compensation, OSHA, payroll tax requirements, self-employment taxes, etc.).
  7. Create any necessary contracts, service agreements, and invoices so you can easily bill customers, track payments and keep records.
  8. Create a logo, business cards, letterhead, envelopes, etc., to build your business's identity.
  9. Create a website. A company website allows you to establish your brand and will be the first opportunity to make an impression with customers.
  10. Create a marketing plan for your products and services. Increase the likelihood for success with a plan for promoting your products and services to your target market.

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