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Top 10 Checklist Items for Starting a Small Business

  • 28th Jul'22

No matter what kind of business you are starting, there are a few important things you must do. Use this checklist to help you get started and continue on track.

There are basic processes and tasks involved in starting a small business, which can be overwhelming. Follow this business checklist below to make your life easier. If you lack the skills to build your own startup checklist, it may be of benefit to you. In either case, launching a business will go a lot more smoothly if you have a checklist of must do items.


1. Write Your Ideas

If you've had business concepts floating about in your head for a while, the first thing you should do is to focus on those that have the potential to become a real company. Separate and flesh out opposing concepts to gain a sense of what will work and what won't.

Start with the type of business you have in mind, and then ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you desire a service-based or a product-based company?
  • What products or services will you provide?
  • How are you going to deliver them?
  • Where will you buy your goods from?
  • What is the name of your company?


2. Focus On Your Audience

Who is utilizing your services and purchasing your products? That should be listed on your new business checklist. Your company will fail if there are no clients. The reason why this list and the next can be done interchangeably is as follows.

By deciding on the customers you want to draw in and then conducting market research to find out where those individuals are, you can determine who your audience is. It will be easy to target them once you know where they are by focusing your business there.

On the other hand, you can first carry out market research to see which regions are successful for companies similar to yours, then utilize that knowledge to choose your target market. Let's examine market research in more detail.


3. Do Market Research

Our third part is market research. There are a variety of reasons why you might conduct market research for your company. One is to select a more specific target market. This stage is critical whether you first identify your target and then undertake market research, or you first identify your audience and then use that information to do the research.

What you're looking for in market research is as follows:

  • How many similar firms are there in a particular area?
  • Who are their clients?
  • What is the state of these businesses?
  • What other kinds of businesses are there nearby?
  • What might prohibit your company from being successful?

It requires striking a compromise between the desire to be where companies like yours prosper and the desire to be where your company won't be slowed down by competition right out of the gate. This item on the list is much the same if you want to launch an online business, except that now you're dealing with the entire internet rather than a single city or town.


4. Test Your Ideas

Giving your business ideas to family and friends is not destructive. They should be the ones who care the most about your success, so perhaps they'll be the ones who will provide you with the most honest criticism. A business name suggestion, examples of product or service ideas, marketing suggestions, and anything else you can think of that might benefit from outside opinion should be presented to them. 

Consider making two of everything, presenting them to different groups, and observing which version receives the best feedback. This will point you in the right direction.


5. Craft Your Business Plan

Writing a basic business plan should always be on your business startup checklist, whether this is your first or fifth venture. Several factors determine the kind of business plan you write and the level of detail you include. You should create a far more thorough business plan with substantial financial estimates if you require capital from investors or loans from banks to get started. Investors and banks can only learn about your repayment strategy through this method. It's best if you can be as specific as possible.

You can take a much more relaxed approach and even utilize one of the many one-page business plans that are readily available online if you're drafting the business plan to organize your thoughts or show it to a focus group for feedback.


6. Secure Funding

If you require funding, secure it first before continuing. You might be asking how you'll know how much money to request if you haven't yet chosen a location, purchased merchandise, or purchased equipment, among other things. All of those concerns are legitimate ones, but you should address them as you write your business plan.

To draft your business plan and develop a realistic business budget, you'll need to research the tools and supplies you'll need, real estate prices, marketing, maintenance, etc. In conclusion, you need to have a clear notion of the amount of money you'll require.


7. Choose A Legal Structure For Your Company And Register It

You'll probably start as a sole proprietor, thus it's extremely advised that you select a business structure and register your business for both tax and legal reasons. It might be challenging to comprehend, especially for a newbie, and you will need to register in each state where you intend to conduct business. 

Online legal services like My Corporation, Legal Zoom, or Rocket Lawyer may assist with business creation, registration, legal paperwork, business tax preparation, and much more if you don't already have an attorney on hand to help you with this.


8. Get Any Necessary Licenses Or Permits

You'll need basic business licenses and permissions in addition to any physical location-specific requirements, such as a certificate of occupancy from the city, to operate legally. 

The following is a list of a few of those licenses:

  • General business license
  • Sales tax permit
  • Zoning permit
  • Home occupation permit

Before starting a business, be sure to check with your state to see if there are any additional requirements because licenses and permissions can differ from state to state.


9. Consider Branding

You will require a brand concept regardless of the kind of business you run. This will help people recognize your company. For instance, the logo, colors, typefaces, and patterns should remain consistent once a customer has visited your company website. 

Always use the branding for the following:

  • Business cards
  • Flyers and pamphlets
  • Packaging
  • Advertisements
  • Social media

Use your standard branding components wherever your company is displayed to maintain consistency. 


10. Advertise Your Business

You may move on to the more enjoyable components of launching a business now that the legal and formal aspects are over. It's time to spread the word about your company, and advertising is the greatest method to achieve this. It’s up to you how you do it, and there are plenty of options.

No matter the industry, these are the most well-liked:

  • Social media
  • Local television commercials
  • Newspaper or local magazine
  • Radio advertising
  • Networking events

Some forms of advertising, like basic social media, can be free, but the majority will have a cost that you'll need to factor into your entire business growth strategies and advertising budget.


The Bottom Line

The things on the list above are essential, but they are by no means all that is required. There are countless additional requirements, but the ones mentioned above are the ones you just cannot launch a business without. You will be well on your road to business success if you go through the list and cross items off as you finish them.


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Shellye Archambeau is determined to help you with all possible strategies to climb the ladder of success. She values your feedback. Do mention them in the comment section below.


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