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How to start a small business checklist

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How to start a small business checklist

Starting a small business can be one of the most rewarding things you can do. You get to take control over you future and build something to be proud of to leave a legacy for your family. Here is a quick guide on how to start a small business checklist. This is the same list I have used when I was investigating starting my own small business. 

How to start a small business checklist

Starting a small business can be a great way to control your own work/life balance and earn a good income. But it’s not always easy to get started, and there are a few things you should keep in mind if you’re thinking of starting your own home-based business.

First, make sure you have the time and commitment to devote to your business. A small business is a big responsibility, and you’ll need to be able to dedicate the necessary time and effort to make it successful.

Second, choose a business that you’re passionate about. Not only will this make the process of starting up more enjoyable, but you’re more likely to stick with it in the long run if you’re doing something you love.

Third, do your research. There’s a lot to think about when starting a business, from financing and marketing to legalities and insurance. Make sure you know what you’re getting into before taking the plunge.

Fourth, put together a solid business plan. This will help you map out your goals and how you plan on achieving them. Knowing what you want to achieve and how you’re going to get there is essential for any successful business venture.

Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help on how to start a business. Whether it’s hiring an accountant or taking a small business course, there’s no shame in seeking out professional help when starting your own home-based business. Getting expert advice can make all the difference in ensuring your new business gets off on the right foot.

checklist for a small business

  1.  Decide on a successful business idea
  2. Niche down on that business idea
  3. Create minimum viable product of your product 
  4. Test your MVP
  5. Create business plan
  6. Determine your business structure
  7. Register your home small business
  8. Obtain any licensure and requirements
  9. Create separate financial accounts for your business
  10. Obtain business insurance
  11. Start setting up your software stack

How to start a small business checklist

1. Decide on a successful Idea for your business

Coming up with a small business idea can be a daunting task. After all, there are already so many businesses out there. how can you be sure that your idea is unique and will actually be successful? However, there are a few ways that you can increase your chances of coming up with a great small business idea. Try to think outside the box. What are some needs or problems that are not being adequately addressed by existing businesses? What are some of your passions or skills that you could turn into a successful small business? Make sure that there is actually a market for your small business idea before you invest too much time or money into it. By following these steps, you’ll be well on your way to coming up with a small business idea that is both unique and successful.

 

2. Niche down on your business idea

When you’re small businesses, you can’t be all things to all people. You need to niche down and focus on a specific target market. By doing this, you’ll be able to better serve your target market and stand out from the competition. When you niche down, you’re able to focus your marketing efforts and message. This allows you to speak directly to your target market and connect with them on a deeper level. As a result, you’ll be able to build a loyal customer base that is more likely to remain loyal and continue doing business with you for years to come. 

3. Create a MVP (minimum viable product) of your product or service

The purpose of this is to determine if your product or service has potential and if you can find customers for it. 

Minimum viable product for homebased business

Before launching a new product, it is essential to conduct extensive market research. This will help to determine whether there is a demand for the product and what features consumers are looking for. Once this has been established, the next step is to create a minimum viable product (MVP). 

This is a version of the product that has just enough features to be marketable, allowing businesses to gather feedback from consumers and make necessary improvements. The MVP should not be too complex or expensive to produce, as this could delay or prevent it from ever reaching the market. With careful planning and execution, an MVP can help businesses to assess the potential of a new product and make any necessary adjustments before making a larger investment.

Too many businesses get caught up in a lot of the other details of starting a home-based business without ever determining if anyone is going to purchase their product or service. 

4. Test your MVP

As a small business owner, you can’t afford to put out a subpar product. Not only will it reflect poorly on your brand, but it could also result in costly returns and refunds. That’s why it’s essential to test your product before making it available to the public. By doing so, you can identify any potential issues and make the necessary adjustments. Additionally, testing can help you fine-tune your product and ensure that it meets customer expectations. As a result, taking the time to test your product can save you a lot of headaches down the road.

5. Create a business plan

A business plan is an important tool for any entrepreneur or small business owner. It helps you to define your business goals, and map out a path to achieving them. It also forces you to look at your competition, and your target market to determine your marketing strategy. 

A well-crafted business plan can also help you to secure funding from investors or lenders. 

In short, a business plan is essential for anyone who wants to start a business. Without one, it will be difficult to make your business successful.

Here is what the SBA says: Ozb5LRAh9z8AAAAASUVORK5CYII=

Here is what a good business plan should include –

  1. Executive summary 
  2. Company description 
  3. Your business goals
  4. Organization and management
  5. A description of your product and services 
  6. Market research
  7. Outline of your marketing and sales plans
  8. Financial projection analysis
  9. Appendix
The purpose of a business plan is to give you a roadmap to follow and gives a document to present if you are requesting financing. 

6. Determine your business structure

Limited liability company llc, limited liability company, LLC

When starting a business, one of the decisions you will need to make is what type of business entity to establish. There are several different types of business structures, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. 

The most common types of business entities are sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited liability companies (LLCs), and corporations. Which type of entity is right for your business will depend on a number of factors, including the size and scope of your business, your personal financial situation, and your current tax obligations. 

Sole proprietorships are the most common type of business entity in the United States. They are relatively easy and inexpensive to set up and maintain, and they offer complete control to the owner. However, sole proprietorships also have some drawbacks. One downside is that the owner is personally liable for all debts and obligations of the business. This means that if the business fails, the owner’s personal assets could be at risk. In addition, sole proprietorships can be more difficult to raise capital for than other types of businesses.

Partnerships or a S Corp are similar to sole proprietorships in that they are relatively easy to set up and offer complete control to the owners. In a partnership, two or more people share ownership of the business. This can provide some important benefits, such as pooled resources and knowledge, but it also comes with some risks. 

Partners could have disagreements about the direction of the business, which could lead to tension or even dissolution of the partnership. In addition, partners are jointly liable for all debts and obligations of the partnership. This means that if one partner mismanages funds or makes poor decisions, the other partners could be held responsible.

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Limited liability companies (LLCs) combine features of both sole proprietorships and partnerships. Unlike sole proprietorships, a limited liability company offer personal liability protection to their owners; and like partnerships, LLCs allow for multiple owners. LLCs also have some tax advantages over other types of businesses. For example, income from an LLC can be “passed through” to its owners, which means that it is taxed at the owner’s individual tax rate rather than at corporate tax rates.

LLCs can also choose how they want to be taxed; For example, some LLCs elect to be taxed as S corporations while others elect to be taxed as C corporations. The right tax status for your LLC will depend on a number factors including the size and structure of your company and your personal tax situation. 

Corporations are separate legal entities from their owners ( shareholders). This means that shareholders are not personally liable for debts or obligations of the corporation. One of the downside to this type structure is that it can be more expensive and complex to set up than other types of businesses.

When deciding on a business structure you should always consult with an accountant or attorney so you can explain your situation. They than can tell you the best way to structure your business. 

7. Register your small Business

Every business should be registered if you are going to be generating income from it. There are generally 3 different government levels you need to register with

This is what the SBA admin says:

 

  • Federal
    • You need to register at the federal level if you are creating a corporation 
    • Register for a EIN number for employees
  • State
    • State tax id
    • If you need to register sales tax within the state
    • If you are register as any type of corporation
  • Local
    • Need a permit or license from your city or county 
    • Local sales tax
    • Most local ordinances have a law requiring your to register your business if you going to be generating specific amount of income.

8. Obtain any licensure and permits requirements

Some business are going to require a business license and permits, and in order to operate the business, you will need to obtain a business licenses and permits from the government. The process of obtaining a business license can vary depending on the country, state, and city in which you are located. However, there are some general steps that you will need to follow. 

1. You will need to determine the type of business license that you need. There are different licenses and permits for different types of businesses, so it is important to make sure that you get the right one. 

2. Fill out an application. The application will ask for basic information about your business, such as the name and address of the business. You will also need to provide proof that your business is legitimate and that you have the proper insurance in place. Once your application has been approved, you will be issued a business license. 

Depending on your location, you may need to renew your license on a yearly basis. 

9. Create separate Financial accounts for your business

When you start a home-based business, it’s important to create separate financial accounts. This will help you keep track of your business expenses and income, as well as ensure that you are paying the appropriate taxes. 

Business Bank Account

As soon as you start accepting money for your services you should open a business banking account. 

Common business account include a checking account, savings account and a merchant services account which allows you to accept credit and debit cards. 

Some of the benefits of having a business banking account are

  • Personal liability protection by keeping your personal funds separate from your business funds
  • Creates a perception of professionalism. Your customers and clients are able to write check directly our to your business instead of you personally

When selecting a business bank account, be sure to compare fees and services to find one that best suits your needs. Once you have opened your account, be sure to deposit all of your business income into this account and pay all of your business expenses from this account. 

Business Credit Card

You should have a separate credit card for you business. A business credit card can be a valuable tool for any small business owner. Not only does it provide a way to track expenses, but it can also help build business credit. This can be important when it comes time to apply for loans or other financing. In addition, many business credit cards offer rewards such as cash back or travel points. This can be a great way to save money on business expenses.

10. Obtain Small Business Insurance

If you’re running a business, you might not think you need business insurance. After all, your home insurance policy should cover any damage to your home or personal belongings, right? Wrong. Home insurance policies typically exclude coverage for business-related activities. That’s why it’s important to have a separate business insurance policy in place to protect your small business.

Business insurance can help cover the cost of property damage, liability claims, and lost income if your business is forced to close due to an accident or natural disaster. It can also provide peace of mind knowing that you and your business are protected in the event of an unexpected setback. 

11. Start setting up your business software stack

Every business needs software to run in this day and age. The right software will make you more money and if optimized correctly will help you run your business better. 

When it comes to software, there are a few basics that every home based business needs in order to function effectively. First and foremost, you’ll need a word processing program like Microsoft Word or Google Docs in order to create documents such as proposals, invoices, and marketing materials. 

You’ll also need some form of accounting software in order to keep track of your income and expenses. FreshBooks is a popular option for small businesses, but there are many others to choose from as well. 

Some software that home based business needs are: 

  • Accounting software
  • Invoicing software
  • Inventory software
  • phone software
  • Meeting software
  • payroll software

With these software programs in place, you’ll be well on your way to running a successful home based business.

 

What are the benefits of starting a small based business?

Small businesses are the lifeblood of the American economy. They create jobs, spur innovation, and drive growth. According to the Small Business Administration, small businesses make up 99.9 percent of all firms in the United States. 

What’s more, small businesses create two out of three net new jobs in the private sector each year. If you’re thinking of starting a small business, there are plenty of good reasons to do so. 

Small businesses are typically more nimble and adaptable than large businesses. This means they can respond quickly to changes in the marketplace and take advantage of new opportunities as they arise. 

Small businesses often have a closer relationship with their customers than large businesses do. This allows them to provide better customer service and build loyalty over time. 

Small businesses tend to be more community-minded than large businesses. They tend to invest more in their employees and give back to their communities in ways that large businesses often don’t. 

If you’re looking for a way to make a difference in your community and spur economic growth, starting a small business is a great place to start.

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