So you want start a business – congratulations! Once you’ve gotten over the initial excitement, it’s time to break down the process of launching your startup into manageable chunks.
You might be overwhelmed by the number of items on your to-do list. But do not worry ; I’ve broken down this getting started checklist into the main tasks you need to do now and the ones you can defer until later.
What you need to do now
Complete the following tasks before launch or during the first few days of your startup.
1. Determine viability
Be brutally honest. Your startup should be something that you can achieve or deliver a profit. Ask yourself: would you buy it? Run the Numbers: Will customers pay enough that you can cover the costs and make a profit? Here is a list of 29 more questions to ask, attributed to famous investor Paul Graham.
2. Create a business plan
It’s easy to convince yourself that you don’t need a business plan, but creating a business plan with financial projections requires you to think through the details. Make your plan a living, breathing thing that you revisit and adapt regularly.
3. Calculate the money
Most startups take much longer to get started than expected. Know where your living expenses will come from for the first year (savings, employment, spouse’s income, etc.). If you need financing for the business, start investigating as soon as possible.
4. Put your family behind you
Take the time to make sure your spouse and other close family members are “on board” with your startup. You will have enough challenges without family resistance.
5. Choose a business name
You want a name that will stay in the minds of your target audience. And it shouldn’t already be taken by another company. Do some Google research and use a business name search tool to see if the name you have in mind is unique. Check state level and federal level.
6. Register a domain name
Obtain a domain that matches your business name. An AOL email address or a website with free hosting and a name like mysite.wordpress.com makes it look like (a) you’re not running a real business, or (b) you don’t plan on staying for a long time.
7. Incorporate / understand the legal structure
Incorporate your startup can protect your personal property. Discuss the structure (corporation, LLC, sole proprietorship) with your lawyer and accountant.
8. Apply for an EIN
An Employer Identification Number (EIN) helps you separate yourself from your business. You will need it if you are planning to incorporate your business or open a business bank account. In addition, with it, you can avoid giving out your social security number (an opening to identity theft). EIN numbers are free; apply online.
9. Investigate and apply for business licenses
You may need one or even more business licenses for your startup, depending on your industry and where you are located. Most licenses are at the national or local level. Here in the United States, the SBA has a useful business licensing and licensing tool.
10. Create a website
Launch your website as soon as possible. Today it is necessary for credibility. Even if your product is not yet built, you can start with company information.
11. Save social media profiles
Settling down on the major social media channels (Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, for starters) will make their marketing easier down the road. Also, it is important to reserve your brand as a profile name. To try Knowem.com reserve names.
12. Start your source of income
Start generating income ASAP. In the early stages of a startup, there is never enough money – resist the temptation to wait until things are “perfect”. Oh, and have your lawyer create all the necessary client contract forms.
13. Rent commercial premises or offices
If you have a brick-and-mortar business, you’ll need to sort this out early. If you plan to run a retail business, pay attention to foot traffic, accessibility, and other factors that will affect the number of people entering your store. EXCEPTION: If you don’t have a physical or retail business, forgo renting an office for as long as possible to avoid encumbering your startup with rental payments.
14. Order business cards
As a startup founder, you will be doing a lot of networking, so order a lot of business cards. They’re inexpensive enough that you can order them later if things change. Without cards, you lack credibility.
15. Open a professional bank account
It’s too easy to use your personal bank account to pay for business expenses, but it becomes a problem to sort out later.
16. Configure your accounting system
Once you’ve set up your bank account, choose an accounting program. Start as you intend to go. Few things will do your business faster than messy books.
17. Assign responsibilities to the co-founders
If you have one or more founders, it is imperative that you decide up front who will do what. Put it in writing. The disagreements of the co-founders can destroy your business.
What you can do later
While you don’t want to delay these tasks for too long, there’s no need to check them off your list before starting them.
18. Upgrade your smartphone and choose apps
As an entrepreneur, you will be on the move a lot. I can’t stress enough how useful a good phone with good business apps is for running your startup. Also, get a credit card reader to accept payments.
19. Find free advice
Your local SBA office, SCORE, and other small business resources can provide you with free advice, access to business models, and other tools.
20. Consult your insurance agent and obtain coverage
Depending on the type of business you are starting, you may need insurance of one type or another, such as liability insurance, health insurance, or health insurance, especially if you are hiring staff. fulltime.
21. Hire your first employee
Depending on the type of business you have, you may need staff from day one (retail) or you may be able to outsource to freelancers, interns, and third-party vendors for a period of time. (service and technology companies). Remember that trying to do it all yourself takes you away from growing the business.
22. Align suppliers and service providers
Finding a good source of inventory is crucial, especially in certain types of businesses (retail, manufacturing). Beyond inventory, line up good suppliers and reliable service providers so you don’t have to worry about the details.
23. Trademarks and patents file
The best thing to do is to consult a lawyer as soon as possible about the need for patents, in particular. Get the advice early. Then you may be able to defer filing for a period of time, depending on the nature of your business.
24. Work on your network
Communicate with former colleagues and colleagues, as well as with your friends and family. Don’t force them to buy your products or services. Instead, use them for presentations and help yourself with other things on this starter checklist.
25. Don’t waste time in “partnerships”
Be careful not to waste time on “business partnership” discussions. Your business will only be attractive to potential partners if and until you start to make progress. Focus your precious time on making sales and getting customers.
26. Refine your pitch
There are many reasons you need a good pitch: potential investors, clients, potential new hires, bankers. If you can’t present your business convincingly and clearly, how can you expect key stakeholders to buy in?
27. Refine your product and your marketing and sales approach
As you go, you will learn more about the market. Use customer feedback to refine your product and service offerings, as well as your go-to-market approach.
28. Secure your IT
Whether you run a tech company or not, you likely have sensitive data on computers and devices that you want to protect. Protect it from intrusions and disasters. Save it! Computer problems can derail a fledgling business.
29. Set up a salesperson or sales team
In many startups, the business owner starts off as the sales manager. But to grow, you need a dedicated sales function, so that you can focus on activities other than day-to-day sales.
30. Find a mentor
It is too easy to work “in” your business rather than “on” it. As Michael Gerber tells us in The E-Myth, we have to work ‘on’ our businesses if we are to grow and prosper. A successful mentor in your industry can provide invaluable advice and act as a sounding board.
Your checklist might be longer than that, but organizing what needs to be done before you get started and what you can take care of next makes it easier to prioritize your tasks.