SUPPORT SYSTEM:

Every small business owner needs a good attorney and accountant on their team. You will also benefit from advisors such as the mentors at SCORE.

BUSINESS PLAN:

This should include a description of your business model, a competitive analysis and market strategy, how you will operate and financial projections.

BUSINESS NAME:

Select your business name; make sure it’s legally available and trademark it. If you will be using a DBA (doing business under another name than your own), file a DBA with your city.

LEGAL FORM OF BUSINESS:

Decide if you will operate as a sole proprietorship, partnership, S corporation, C corporation or Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) and register your business entity with your state.

REQUIRED BUSINESS LICENSES AND PERMITS:

In addition to a general business license for your city, you may need specialized documents such as a reseller’s license or a health department permit.

TAX ID NUMBER AND/OR EMPLOYER IDENTIFICATION NUMBER (EIN):

Obtain these from the IRS.

BUSINESS BANK ACCOUNT:

Keep your business and personal accounts separate. You’ll need a business bank account to receive and make payments, pay taxes and pay employees.

STARTUP FINANCING:

Most startup entrepreneurs finance their businesses using their own personal savings or money from family and friends.

BUSINESS LOCATION:

Depending on your industry, you may choose to run your business from home (check with the city to make sure it’s legal) or to rent a commercial office, retail or restaurant location.

BUSINESS PHONE:

Customers and prospective customers need a way to contact you. Depending on your business, you may get by with a smartphone or you may need a full landline phone system.

BUSINESS EMAIL:

Purchase a domain (URL) for your business and get business email under that domain so your business looks professional.

MARKETING MATERIALS:

Basics include a business website and business cards. You may also want to develop brochures, fliers, price sheets or other print materials.

BUSINESS INSURANCE:

It’s a good idea to get insurance for your equipment, your location and your business vehicles. If you have employees, most states require you to carry workers’ compensation insurance.

EQUIPMENT:

Business equipment generally includes computers, printers, furniture, phones, mobile devices and software, as well as any specialized equipment for your industry.

EMPLOYEES:

If you need employees to get your business off the ground, make time to hire and train them before you open. If you can’t afford full-time employees, consider hiring part-time workers or independent contractors.