Startup Checklist (Part One of a Two-Part Series)

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The ladder of success must be set upon something solid before you can start to climb. – Anonymous

If you’ve been thinking about launching a startup, you should be aware of the steps required to successfully get your business up and running.  Whether you plan to operate your practice full or part-time, it’s important that you have a plan.  The following checklist will help you perform all the startup tasks in the proper order:

1. Name Your Business. Recognize that naming your business is just the beginning of creating a brand for yourself.  It’s important that you put some serious thought into your business name in order to best appeal to your target market.

2. Create a business plan. Perhaps you’ve spent hours dreaming about your business, imagining your achievements, and talking with friends and family about your goals, but without a business plan you haven’t given yourself the opportunity to truly plan all the necessary details and build a foundation for your success.  Read up on how to create a successful business plan.

3. Create a marketing plan. No matter how good you are at accounting, you still have to focus some of your energy on marketing; if you don’t do any marketing, you’ll have no one to do any accounting for. So what do you do? You create a marketing plan to go along with your business plan.

4. Determine your business entity. There’s no one right or wrong answer when matching your business to the right business entity. And the business entity you choose depends largely on your personal situation and circumstances. We don’t want to imply that your decision isn’t a weighty one; the type of business entity you choose will affect your liability, your creditors’ access to your assets, and your tax obligations. So it is a decision that requires pertinent information and considerable thought. Sometimes just a little knowledge can ensure that you make the best choice for you.

5. Determine your business location. In real estate they say what matters most is location, location, location.  The same applies to your business.  The most important element in picking the right location is finding a place that will allow you to be productive and focus on your work.  If you’ve decided to lease an office, take the time to research an appropriate area.  Can you find a business district that complements your services?  Can you realistically afford to lease an office space right now?  Is there a room in your house that could be dedicated to your new business?  Weigh the pros and cons and pick a place that works for your current situation and budget.

6. Make it legal.  It’s important to start your business off on the right foot.  File the proper papers and pay the required fees.  It’s also not a bad idea to consult with a lawyer to ensure you’re headed in not only the right direction, but a law-abiding one.  Also, as you begin working with clients, document your correspondence and save your files.

Knowing what to do and when to do it can be crucial to your startup’s success.  Join us next week when we share the final 6 items on our Startup Checklist:

7.  Open the necessary bank accounts.

8.  Purchase your equipment.

9.  Organize your office.

10. Launch a website.

11.  Determine your business hours.

12.  Spread the word and open your doors.

Financing a Small Business

Whether you would like to secure a small-business loan for yourself or a client, our manual, Financing a Small Business, can help.  Packed with clear-cut instructions and terrific resource materials, you will find that completing a loan application package is much simpler with this book.  Using the sample loan package included as a model, you can easily apply for a valuable business loan or help your clients apply.  Within hours you can begin offering your services as a financial consultant.  Get ready to launch your startup and order your copy now!

Resources

–.  “Checklist for Starting a Home-Based Business.”  Small Business Solutions at smallbusiness.dnb.com

–.  “Homebased Business Startup Checklist.” Entrepreneur.com

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