Small Business Start Up Checklist
Starting your own business has long been a dream of yours. So,of course, a small business start up checklist is the no-brainer place to begin.
Research your ideas or small business concept. Whatever you choose you must have a passion for your new business and a long term commitment…..who would want a short term business ? Your new business must check many boxes but first among them is your passion for the idea.
No Matter The Business
The Following Checklist Can Serve As Your Guide
- What is your passion ? Can you make a business out of it ?
- Is there competition ? if there is…..it is a good sign; you’re not alone in thinking the idea is a good one.
- Where will it take you in one year, Three or five years ? How will you measure if it is successful for you ?
Market Research –
The Key For Small Business Start-ups
- What need will your business fulfill ? Does it solve a problem ?
- Who is your target customer ? Go beyond picturing them; research who is supporting your competitors.
- How will your offering be better or improve upon the competitions ?
- Research, talk to and study successful people in your niche
- Design your businesses framework.and align your order of tasks to be done
- Will you need a partner or employees ?
- Set attainable goals
Provides Direction And A Road Map
- Develop a concise (less than 2 minutes) verbal sales presentation – this will open some doors for you.
- If you want to borrow money you’ll need a business plan; the more money the more detailed the plan will need to be.
- Funds from family or friends ? A one-page plan should suffice (and is a very good idea)
- Executive biography. Past accomplishments.
- What is your company about ? Brief description of why your company will meet a need.
- What products will you sell ? How will you source them ?
- Marketing plans. Pricing your wares.
- Outline your growth plan.
- Provide the numbers – Money in / money out for years 1 through 5.
* for a good reference book look here – Small Time Operator– by Bernard B Kamoroff
Choosing A Name Or Brand
- Think today and several years ahead. Bob’s Carpentry may fit today but not in 5 years when you’re developing entire neighborhoods. Robert’s Construction may be a better choice.
- Will you have an online presence? A necessity in todays world.
- Is your name of choice available ? See if the domain name is available and if not find one that fits and register it.
- Find an attorney that has experience in your area of business.
- An accountant is a good idea; also someone experienced in your business type.
- Be sure your licensing and tax situation is in order.
Make Or Break A Business
- Find an experienced local business realtor – can save you time, money and unseen mistakes.
- If you are starting a service company that works remotely, such as a plumber, carpenter or landscaper your location can be in a general area and not on Main St.
- If you need people to come to you then you need to be where the people are. A medical practice needs less traffic than a retail store and a business that needs a lot of foot traffic will need to be where the people are. The more traffic the higher the price per square foot you’ll pay. Research is key here; hence the business realtor.
Your Small Business Start-Up
Will Need A Legal Entity
** here the advice of both an attorney and an account is necessary.
- 60% of small business start-ups in 2017 were Sole Proprietors – If you work for yourself, by yourself, then in all likelihood this is how you will file your taxes. If you are a writer, a speaker, a barber or hair dresser this is your probable course.
- Many small businesses form a LLC ( limited liability company ) – as the name suggests this removes some of the businesses liabilities from you personally.
- A corporation or an S-corp are other legal forms.
Financing Your Business
- Many small businesses self finance or turn to family and friends. Be careful, do your research and be as sure as you can before you risk your money or money from your circle. I’m not saying you shouldn’t borrow from this group as most likely they’ll want to help and may even be eager to invest in your business. Everything is a risk but research and a good plan will provide a solid foundation.
- The larger the startup the more likely you’ll need to find outside investors. Be prepared.
- Your business plan will have to be fleshed out with the help of your accountant. The bank will expect to see your projections and forecasts in a format and language they’ll understand. And because you say something is so, that’s not enough; facts, figures and history will be very important.
- How much is enough ? Big question, no easy answer. The most often quoted answer here is 110 – 125 % of what you think you’ll need. Having been through the process 4 times myself I’d have to agree.
Setting Up Shop
- Your location, your plans and your money are all in place. Another checklist, the details of running You inc. on a daily basis needs to be completed. Each business has it is own set of details to be completed. Your job here is, yet again, research and check off the boxes.
Marketing Your Small Business Start Up
- You have your marketing plan
- You’ve networked your friends and family
- Shop signage
- Brochures and fliers
- Website up and running
- Social media in place (hopefully a 30-day countdown to your opening )
- A soft opening for those involved in your business
- A grand opening, with press if appropriate.
- Give aways and prizes.
* A good reference book here is – Small Business Hacks – by Barry Moltz & Rieva Lesonsky