Last updated: December 16, 2022

Starting a business can be an exciting and rewarding experience. Having said that, when there are so many things to consider and plan for, it can also turn out to be pretty overwhelming. For this reason, having a checklist can prove to be an important asset. It can help you stay organized, focused and motivated as you work to get your business off the ground.

A starting business checklist makes sure entrepreneurs stay on track when launching a new company. It provides all the necessary steps to get the business up and running, such as obtaining the necessary permits and licenses, setting up a business plan, and creating a marketing strategy. A checklist can also help entrepreneurs stay focused on their goals and avoid getting overwhelmed by the many tasks that need to be completed.

In this blog post, we’ll provide you with a comprehensive starting business checklist that will help you get your business up and running in no time. We’ll cover everything from choosing a business name, and registering your business, to creating a business plan and finding financing opportunities. With this checklist in hand, you’ll be well on your way to achieving your business goals.

Starting business checklist template: stay organized

Research your industry and competitors

Researching the industry and understanding key terms: This is critical for any entrepreneur starting a business as it involves understanding the industry and its dynamics, trends and the competitive landscape. It is important to gain an understanding of the language used in the industry and the common terms used by its participants.

Analyzing the major players in the industry: By learning about the industry’s major players, their business models, and the strategies employed, it is possible to gain an understanding of the industry and what it takes to be successful in it.

Determining how your business model might be different from or similar to existing businesses: It is important to consider whether your business model should be similar or different to existing businesses in order to differentiate it and achieve optimal success. Additionally, understanding how existing businesses operate can be a valuable source of insights to inform the design of your own model.

Draft a business plan

Write an executive summary: This document outlines the necessary steps for creating and launching a successful business. This includes establishing a business structure, developing products and services, and creating finance and marketing strategies. Additionally, this document provides resources and forecasts for sales and expenses.

Outline business structure and legal considerations: The first step in starting a business is to determine the business structure and consider the legal requirements. The most common structure options are sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, or corporation. Every business will have different legal requirements based on its size and scope, so it is important to research the laws and regulations that apply specifically to their business.

Describe products and/or services: It is important to spend time researching and developing products and services that offer customers value and meet their needs. This includes conducting market research to identify what the target market is, what products and services are in demand, and who the competitors are.

Detail finance and marketing strategies: Developing a finance and marketing strategy is important for any business. The finance strategy should include pricing, budget, and financial goals. The marketing strategy should focus on identifying and understanding the target market and developing specific tactics to reach them.

Forecast sales and expenses: It is important to accurately forecast sales and expenses to understand the financial needs of the business. This prognosis can be used to develop a budget and make informed decisions about the future of the business. Additionally, it can help identify any potential cash flow problems and help to manage them.

Secure financing

Determining the type of financing needed: This step requires researching the various types of financing available, including debt and equity financing, as well as choosing which type will best suit the needs of the business.

Develop a loan package to submit to financiers: Once the type of financing needed has been determined, a loan package should be developed to submit to financiers that includes a detailed description of the business and its purpose, along with any additional information requested by the financiers.

Present business plans and financial strategies to financiers: The business owner should be prepared to present the business plans and financial strategies to potential financiers in order to demonstrate the viability of the venture.

Negotiate terms of any financing agreements: Finally, the entrepreneur must be ready to negotiate any financing agreements, including interest rates and repayment schedules, in order to secure the best possible terms for the business.

Obtain licenses and permits

Identify the licenses and permits needed: When starting a business, there are likely several different licenses and permits that will be needed in order to legally operate. Firstly, the type of business that is being set up must be identified, as different businesses may require different types of licenses or permits. There may also be different licenses and permits required at state and local levels.

Research the requirements for each license or permit: Once the licenses or permits required have been identified, the specific requirements must be researched. There may be different fees that need to be paid or additional paperwork that must be submitted.

Submit applications for licenses and permits: After the requirements for each license or permit have been outlined, the applications for each should be submitted. It is also crucial to make sure that all required information is included in the application and that all fees have been paid.

Follow-up to ensure timely processing: After the applications have been submitted, a follow-up with the appropriate agency is key to ensure that the applications are being processed in a timely manner. If there are any issues with the application, these should be addressed as soon as possible.

Choose a business location

Research zoning laws and regulations: Zoning laws are legal regulations that are imposed by a local or federal government dictating the use of land and buildings. It’s important to research the zoning laws in the area the entrepreneur is considering opening a business in to ensure that the business is allowed in that area and meets all the requirements.

Identify different potential locations: Once the zoning laws have been research, it’s time to identify the different potential locations for the business. The access, amenities and cost of each potential location must be considered to determine which one is the best for the business.

Consider Factors Such as Access, Amenities, and Cost: Access, amenities, and cost should be taken into consideration when choosing a location for your business. Access refers to how easy it is for customers to get to the business, amenities refer to the services and facilities available in the area, and cost refers to how much it will cost to lease or purchase the space.

Negotiate Terms of a Lease or Purchase Agreement: Once you’ve chosen the best location for your business, it’s time to negotiate the terms of a lease or purchase agreement. Consider factors such as the length of the lease agreement, the cost of rent, and any additional costs that could be associated with the agreement.

Set up supplier relationships

Identify potential suppliers: Starting a business often requires finding reliable and cost effective suppliers or vendors. Business owners should take the time to research potential suppliers to ensure they will meet their company’s needs while providing quality products or services. This can involve reading reviews, looking at customer reviews, and asking for references. Once potential suppliers have been identified, they can be contacted to determine if they are able to meet the company’s needs, and how much they will charge for their services.

Compare prices and services: After a few potential suppliers have been identified, business owners should take the time to compare their prices and services. This can involve researching prices online, comparing competitor’s prices, and asking for quotes. The process may help to ensure that the business is getting the best value for its money and is not being overcharged. It can also help to identify any potential savings that can be made.

Negotiate long-term contracts: Once a potential supplier has been identified and the best price has been determined, business owners should negotiate a long-term contract. This will involve discussing the terms and length of the contract, as well as the cost of the services. The negotiation process can help make sure that the contract is fair and meets both parties’ needs. Additionally, it is often beneficial to negotiate any discounts or incentives that can be obtained with a long-term contract.

Identify your target market

Research the target market: Researching your target market is a crucial step in starting a business. It involves understanding the characteristics of the demographics your business will be selling to, such as age, gender, income level, education level, location, and lifestyle. Knowing these characteristics will help you determine who your ideal customer is and the best ways to reach them.

Define the characteristics of the ideal customer: When researching your target market, you should look at your competition, survey potential customers, and look at market research studies. These activities will help you learn more about your customers’ needs and wants, and where they shop. Then, you can create an ideal customer profile, which is a description of the buyer persona you are targeting. Defining the characteristics of your ideal customer will help you identify the best ways to reach them.

Identify the best ways to reach the target market: Once the ideal customer and their needs are established, the most effective marketing strategies can be drawn. This could involve digital marketing, such as search engine optimization, content marketing, social media marketing, and email marketing. The business owner could also consider traditional marketing channels, such as radio and television ads, print ads, and direct mail. Knowing the target audience and their needs will help choose the channels that will reach them the most effectively and cost-efficiently.

Set up accounting systems

Set up an accounting system: This task involves setting up the financial infrastructure of a business. It is important to have an organized and accurate system for recording and tracking all financial transactions. This includes setting up a chart of accounts, setting up a system for tracking all income and expenses, setting up payroll systems, and creating a system for tracking customer payments and accounts receivable.

Create financial statements: Financial statements typically include a balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement, and can that provide an overview of a company’s financial health. The balance sheet shows the company’s assets and liabilities, the income statement shows revenues and expenses, and the cash flow statement shows all inflows and outflows of cash.

Establish a budget: A budget is a critical tool for any business, large or small, as it can help a company stay on track, identify opportunities for growth and savings, and keep expenditures under control. It is a document that outlines a business’s financial goals and the resources and strategies that will be used to meet those goals. The budget should include both income and expenses, and it should be reviewed and updated regularly.

Establish an online Presence

Develop a website: It is essential for any business to have a website, as it provides a platform to promote their products and also a means to reach out to potential customers. A website should contain information about the company, such as the company’s profile, products, services, and contact information.

Set up social media accounts: Having an online presence is key in the digital era. Therefore, setting up social media accounts is an important step when creating a business. Social media accounts such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter should be created to promote the business, attract customers, and link back to the website.

Create e-commerce capabilities: E-commerce capabilities are necessary if the business is selling products online. Creating an online store can be done through an e-commerce platform and this will enable customers to purchase products directly through the website. Additional options such as payment processes and shipping methods should also be considered when setting up a digital store.

Hire employees

Write up job descriptions: This step involves analyzing the roles within the business and creating job descriptions that outline the duties, responsibilities, and qualifications needed for those roles.

Post job openings: Job descriptions should be posted on external and internal job boards, as well as other job search websites to attract potential candidates.

Source potential candidates: Various methods to source potential candidates could be put into practice, such as announcing jobs online, on social media, job boards, at job fairs, and through word-of-mouth.

Conduct interviews: Interviews with potential candidates must be scheduled and lead to assess their skills, qualifications, and other necessary criteria to determine whether they are the right fit for the position.

Do background checks: Background checks must be conducted to verify the qualifications and previous employment of potential candidates.

Train and onboard new hires: New employees should be provided the necessary training and onboarding to ensure they have the skills and knowledge to be successful in their new role. This may include job shadowing, mentoring, tutorials, and more.

Launch your business

Set up operations systems and procedures: Establishing the day-to-day operations of the business is a crucial step in the process of starting a business. This includes setting up the financial system, determining roles and responsibilities, establishing protocols and procedures, obtaining necessary licenses and permits, and preparing the physical workspace.

Develop an advertising and promotion plan: An advertising and promotion plan is a strategic document that outlines how a business plans to spread awareness of their products and services. It should include an analysis of the target market, the goals of the campaign, the budget and timeline, the methods of advertising and promotion being used, and the evaluation of results.

Launch your business and website: Launching a business involves officially beginning operations. This includes opening up the physical space, if necessary, opening accounts with suppliers and other vendors, and launching the website.

Distribute press releases: Press releases are written statements that can be distributed to the media, providing information about the new business. This can be a great way to boost visibility, credibility, and sales.

Start marketing and selling your products or services: After launching the business, the next step is to begin marketing and selling the products or services. This will involve developing a marketing plan, launching campaigns, setting up sales channels, and engaging in other activities to generate interest and sales.

Starting business checklist: FAQs concisely answered

What is the purpose of my business?

The purpose of your business should be to create a solid foundation for success, so that you can achieve your overall business goals. This could include providing a specific product or service to customers, generating revenue, creating a brand or identity, and so on. It is important to have a clear and concise goal, as this will help guide your decisions and give you focus.

Who are my target customers?

Your target customers are the people who are most likely to purchase your product or service. It is important to research and understand your target market, so that you can tailor your products and services to meet their needs. This could include demographics such as age, gender, location, income, and other factors. Additionally, understanding what motivates your customers and their buying habits can help you better target your product to them.

What services or products will I offer?

The services or products you offer should be based on the needs of your target customers. You should focus on providing quality products and services that will fulfill the needs of your customers. It is also important to differentiate your products and services from those of your competitors, in order to stand out in the marketplace.

What is my budget?

Your budget should be based on the costs associated with starting and running your business. You should factor in the cost of equipment, materials, licenses, permits, rent, and other expenses. Additionally, you should include a certain amount of cash flow to cover any unexpected expenses or delays.

What legal structure will I use?

The legal structure you use for your business should be based on your individual needs. Some common structures include sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited liability companies (LLCs), and corporations. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it is important to research and understand the differences before making a decision.

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