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New Small Business: Your Startup Checklist Starting your own business can sometimes be a daunting task. Fortunately there are ways to make starting your business easier. You can begin by following a startup checklist for your new small business. Following a checklist will help you keep track of all the things that have been done, and what you still need to do. A checklist always helps make things more manageable. As you complete one task, you mark it off and begin the next one. The list that follows doesn’t have to be accomplished exactly in the order that it is written; and some entrepreneurs can skip a step here and there if it doesn’t have anything to do with their business. These are the basic first steps to starting any new business, so you should try to accomplish all of these tasks on your checklist in order to make sure that you have covered as much ground as possible. Here is your startup checklist for the new small business: 1) Think of a great business idea: You should think of an idea that you know about, something you can research, and preferably something that you enjoy doing. Think long and hard about what you would like your business to sell or produce, or the types of services you want your startup to offer. 2) Research your idea: You should always research your business idea to see how other businesses sell the same product or service. Take note of how well the competition is doing with the same business idea. If you are really, really lucky, you may have stumbled on a startup idea that you just can’t find much information about regarding competition. This is every budding entrepreneur’s dream, but unfortunately with the Internet so readily available with an abundance of information on all kinds of subjects, thinking of something totally new doesn’t happen very often. Gather as much information as you can about your idea and keep a list of the information that could be needed later on. 3) Do a self-assessment and a business assessment: You need to determine not only if your business idea is suitable for you, but also whether or not you are ready, willing, and able to start a business at this time. One self-assessment test found online is: Self Evaluation Test for Going into Business; another great resource is at the Small Business Administration’s website titled “20 Questions Before Starting”. 4) Choose a business name: Choosing a name for your startup isn’t always as simple as it sounds. Sometimes you just can’t think of anything, but most of the time it’s because there are just so many other companies in the world, that it’s very hard to find an original name. Also, you usually have to register your business name with federal and local agencies. 5) Register your trademark: This is a good way to protect your business name. To get information about registering your startup’s business trademark go to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s website. 6) Choose a business Structure: You have to decide just what type of business you are going to run. There are several types of business structures for you to choose from for your startup, with each having its own advantages and disadvantages. Here are 3 of them:

1. Sole proprietorship: This is a one man, or woman, show. You own all the assets, gain all of the profits, and take complete responsibility for the liabilities of your startup. You also do all of the initial work, and make all of the decisions. 2. Partnership: Two or more people share the same benefits and risks as that of a sole proprietorship. There are several types of partnerships to choose from. To find out what types of partnerships there are go to the link that follows this section of this article. 3. Corporation: A corporation is a company that cannot hold its owner(s) legally responsible for mishaps such as lawsuits. Legally the corporation is what would be responsible for such things, and the owner(s) would not have to pay out of their own pockets. Of course there is more to a corporation, but that is a basic definition. For more information about types of a business organization download and read the pdf document titled “Forms of Business Organization”. 7) Create a business plan: This is an essential step in your planning process; especially if you plan on seeking financial help with your startup. Even if you plan on being the only financial basis for your new business it always helps to have a business plan mapped out so that you can determine the assets you will need in order to get started. A great, free site that will help you create a business plan is WickedStart. 8) Get all of your legal processes in order: This includes business licenses and permits where required, tax identification numbers if necessary, bank accounts, business insurance, and other legal considerations. 9) Hire an accountant and attorney: This is always a good idea. These professionals can help protect you from legal and financial mishaps that could jeopardize your business if they aren’t considered early on. Of course, if you have a lot of knowledge about business law and finances then you don’t always have to hire these agents. 10) Develop a marketing plan: You must decide how you wish to market your product or service. That includes whether or not you want an online presence or not. You have to consider all of your marketing options at this point. There isn’t a single way that works better than another when it comes to marketing; as a matter of fact, using multiple forms of marketing is always your best bet. 11) Set up and maintain an accounting system: Even if you don’t have any employees you will still need accounting in order to know just how your business is doing financially, as well as how much that you will end up paying in taxes each quarter or each year. 12) Hire employees: This of course is optional. A lot of businesses start out with just the owner running things. If you want to try and run things on your own, you can always hire an employee or two later on as your business grows. 13) Get to Work and Enjoy the Adventure So that’s your startup checklist for a new small business. These are the most important steps that you should take in order to start. There are other things that you may have to take into consideration, depending on your startup. The best advice is that, if you are ever in doubt

about anything do your research on it. If you still can’t find all of the information that you need then it is definitely time to hire a professional to guide you through your checklist. Feel free to print out the checklist in order to keep track of where you are in the startup process. For more information about starting your own business, you can visit me at I am a certified local marketing consultant with expertise in the areas of multichannel digital strategy, Analytics tracking & optimization, WordPress blogs, Video & Audio Creation and Marketing, Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Social Media, Mobile Marketing, Google Places/Maps for Business, Reputation Management, and digital Information Products.

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