Starting a business is undoubtedly one of the most daunting activities that a person can undertake because of the litany of items involved that must be contemplated, decided upon and ultimately executed in a very short period of time when you are trying to get a business off the ground. The reality is that making a simple checklist of items to go down can help you focus your efforts in the right place at the right time.
The startup checklist below is meant to guide any entrepreneur to help get his or her business of the ground successfully.
1 – Determine Feasibility of Business – This is the first and most important step in the business checklist that every potential owner needs to look in the mirror on. You absolutely need to determine if your business is going to be able to make enough money to sustain a profit for the long-term. You need to be very honest with yourself in determining whether or not your business exceeds this hurdle.
2 – Business Plan Creation – This step should be easy for someone who is excited about the business idea. This includes putting together financial projections that are realistic and determining exactly how your idea can be put into both a elevator pitch and a thesis pitch for potential investors.
3 – How will your Business be Funded? – This is the critical question for many businesses. Make sure that you don’t do anything that is considered wishful thinking when it comes to funding. You need to be able to count on funding for the first few years of your business which are usually the toughest one to get through because most businesses are not initially profitable.
4 – Choosing a Business Name – The name of a business is critically important because it is at the center of its identity. You will absolutely want to make sure that you are picking a business name that you can grow with and that will resonate and stick with your target customer base.
5 – Register a domain name – Getting a domain name registered that is similar to your businesses name is the first step to getting yourself a presence online. That may seem like an obvious move, but it is one that should not wait until later stages of your business formation. Your businesses online domain name establishing your presence online which has obviously become a major source of many businesses revenue in the last two decades.
6 – Understand ideal legal structure and potentially incorporate – There are so many types of legal structures to consider, but it is important to understand also how your liability limits will shake out under each scenario. There are also a lot of tax consequences to understand as you go through the evaluation of what legal structure bests suits your business. Our recommendation is to engage a local company incorporation provider to guide you.
7 – Investigate and Apply for Business Licenses – There are so many different licenses to contemplate while starting a business and they really do need to be treated as a priority so that you can broaden the scope of your business as far as possible initially in your quest to be profitable.
8 – Set up a Website – Once you get through the business checklist step of setting up a domain, getting the right look on your website is important because for many customers, the first web page on a website is like a virtual storefront that needs to be effective.
9 – Register Social Media Profiles – Social media is now a natural extension of the online world and the faster that you can build that profile, the more sales you are likely to get.
10 – Start your Revenue Stream – Building sales volume does take time so it is critical to start growing your revenue base as quickly as possible. That will allow you to have a stable foundation.
11 – Rent Retail or Office Space – The pandemic has offered many options for where and how your business can get work done so making the decision on the physical and digital space that you will occupy as a business.
12 – Order Business Cards – This is a simple step to make sure you are prepared for initial meetings.
13 – Open a Business Bank Account – You are going to want to have the ability to do check runs and issue ACH/wire transfer payments out of a business bank account.
14 – Set up your Accounting System – This accounting system will allow you to easily figure out how much you are making for any given period of time. A reliable outsource bookkeeper is good enough to help keep track of your daily transactions.
15 – Assign Responsibilities to Co-Founders (if any) – Co-founders need to pull their weight and if necessary a recalibrate and right size the business.
16 – Upgrade your Smartphone and Choose Apps – You are going to need more storage space and likely will have to upgrade the phone so that many of the ideas here don’t feel.
17 – Consult your Insurance Agent and Secure Coverage – This will serve as the immediate security blanket for you and your family so I want them to have that feeling of peace.
18 – Hire your First Employee – Make sure that this employee knows what their responsibilities are so they can align their expectation with yours.
19. Line Up Suppliers and Service Providers – You need to make sure that you have reliable suppliers lined up and service providers that can help your business excel. Make a list of all service providers and suppliers that you will need to be safe.
20 – File for Trademarks and Patents – This is the ultimate protection that you can get with the proper authorities is you exercise some patience.
21 – Work your Network – If there are people that can help you get the business off of the ground, you should reach out to them as soon as you know what their request would be.
22 – Refine your Pitch – There isn’t one set way to pitch your product or service, but the bottom line is that you need to persuade your target market to invest their money in your business. The pull of that first pitch will go a long way towards creating that image of your business.
23 – Refine your Product, and Marketing and Sales Approach – The last thing a new business wants to do is not be responsible to the feedback that they are getting to also be more responsive to what the customer needs and wants.
24 – Secure your IT – A good idea for a business startup is worth its weight in gold, so making sure that you can keep your business confidential until it hits the market is critically important.
25 – Get a Salesperson or Sales Team in Place – You will need a team of people who believe in your business to sell on your behalf. They will need to understand your idea and make sure that they can articulate it well to customers.
26 – Consider an ERP or CRM System – Once you setup your marketing and sales team, you will need to organize the operations or even follow up with your clients. Depending on your business you will need to choose between an CRM or ERP system to further expand your business.
27 – Get a Mentor – You may not think that you need a mentor when you have an idea for a business that you have so much energy devoted to making it successful. However, it is a great idea to bring in someone who has been through a multitude of business launches to tell you where the danger areas are.
The key to all of the steps above is approaching each step on the startup checklist with a great deal of thought and respect. There are no shortcuts in the work of small business for even the most seasoned of small business chiefs.
Remember that the checklist above is meant as a guide to achieving success, not an all encompassing success manual. However, you will be a long way towards being prepared if you follow the steps in this checklist.