Startup Checklist

Starting your business is a busy time in any entrepreneur's life. Critical steps can be easily overlooked until you are well into the process. To help budding entrepreneurs in getting their businesses set up efficiently, legally, and soundly, here is a checklist of primary steps that every business needs to include.

This checklist assumes that you already have an idea for a business and are ready to make it real. If you are still at the stage of looking for the right business, take a look at Choosing the Right Business.

Given everything else is in place, here is a checklist of the basic areas you need to cover before opening your business:

Items to Be Completed Check if Completed
Choose & Register a Business Name  
Decide on the Legal Form for the Business  
Write a Business Plan  
Set Up a Relationship with a Banker  
Set Up Other Professional Relationships  
Set Up a Relationship with an Attorney, if Needed  
Meet Legal Requirements for Operating a Business  
Get Licenses and Permits  
Set the Price for Your Product or Service  
Determine the Financing You Will Need and How You Will Get It  
Obtain Office Space, Equipment and Suppliers  
Plan for Risk & Insurance  
Set up Recordkeeping Systems  
Set up a Financial Management System  
Develop a Marketing Plan  
Hire Employees  
Develop a Day-to-Day Managerial Plan  

Each of these areas needs careful consideration if your business is to become a reality and prosper. You may feel comfortable with managing some of these areas, but not others. Check out the links above for any of the areas that you are unsure about to learn more about how to handle that area of operating a business. The goal is to have a solid base for your business so that it can grow and you can be freed from unexpected problems in the future.