When you have a new business idea, going from concept to revenue generation can seem overwhelming. This startup checklist takes you step-by-step through the process of forming your startup and preparing your business for its first client.
Create a Business Plan
Although many entrepreneurs operate without a formal business plan (or startup checklist!), if you need a business loan or a line of credit, your bank may require a comprehensive business plan. This document lists your startup’s objectives and your plan for achieving them.
Choose a Business Name and Register Your Domain
Choosing a strong business name is the first step in creating a recognizable brand for your startup. Avoid hard-to-spell names or names that limit how or where your business can expand. Check the Secretary of State’s records to see if your desired name is similar to a business that already exists in your state or the state you wish to incorporate in. (We can help you with this search.)
Once you choose a business name, register your domain name. Securing the .com version of your domain gives your startup the most credibility. Also, secure your business name on any social media platforms you plan on using, like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
Select a Legal Structure
Choosing the right legal structure for your startup is very important. You have several legal structures to choose from — sole proprietorship/DBA, a type of Partnership (General or Limited), Limited Liability Company (LLC), C-Corporation, and S Corporation. Our startup lawyers can guide you in choosing the best legal structure for your startup.
Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)
Obtaining an EIN is easy and free at IRS.gov. If you choose one of our Startup Packages, your EIN is included.
Open a Bank Account
Once you decide where to bank, call ahead to find out what documents your bank requires to open a business account.
Apply for Licenses and Permits
Some states and cities require licenses or permits to conduct business depending on your industry. Check with your city, county, and state for specific requirements.
Buy Business Insurance
Business insurance protects your startup’s assets from property damage, lawsuits, employee injuries, cybersecurity, errors and omissions, and loss of income. Consult with an insurance agent to find the plan that provides the best protection for your startup.
Set Up an Accounting System
Your startup is responsible for paying taxes on its income, and to do that, you need to keep accurate financial records. Choose a trustworthy accountant or accounting system that is easy to use but provides comprehensive financial information.
Purchase Marketing Materials
Order business cards, letterhead, and other marketing materials with your startup’s logo on them. As a new business owner, you will be networking and attracting new clients, so have plenty of these on hand. Quality marketing materials make your business look professional and using your logo/mark early can be used as evidence for a trademark down the road.
How Can We Help Complete Your Startup Checklist?
As a startup law firm, we understand the unique challenges that startups face. This startup checklist should help you hit the ground running. Hiring a qualified attorney who offers cost-effective, personal service to set up your business, could protect you from expensive litigation later. Whether you are in the early stages of developing your startup or a mature company, contact the startup lawyers at the Law Office of Elliott J. Brown, today!