If you are a budding entrepreneur, without a business, owning one is for the most part hitting the final nail on the head about your entrepreneurship status.
Every aspiring business owner wants to start running their businesses as soon as possible, whether, on a small or large scale, they just want to start.
However, we always advise that before starting lay a foundation or build groundwork so you don’t get frustrated when things look like they’re heading sideways. More so, we encourage having a business checklist to make sure you have it all planned out during the infant stage of the business’ growth.
The last thing you need is wanting to make sudden changes that will affect a business plan that’s already in motion.
20-Point Checklist for Starting a Small Business
In this article, we’ve put together 20 business checklists a budding entrepreneur should use as a foundation before starting a business. If you’re aspiring to own a business anytime soon, this checklist will prove most useful as a roadmap to the things you need to sort out before getting started.
1. Determine Sustainability:
Sustainability makes sure you meet the present needs of the present but do not compromise the future of the business as your business develops and grows on a large scale.
You need to ask yourself some critical questions, be completely honest, and make sure you aren’t trying to venture into a business just because you love to or others are doing it. Ask yourself: what is my why (your “why” gives you the clarity you need and motivation to keep going)? Knowing and running the numbers: Is the business sustainable to drive enough profits to cover the payments and other necessary increments? How soon can you scale the business:
In terms of scalability, have you created the right environment in which you want to build it? Can your business still thrive or benefit from a shaking nation economy.
These are some critical points you need to look at in checking if the business is sustainable enough.
2. Decide on a business to start:
Choosing a particular niche or industry that your business should fit is difficult; you would tend to encounter and possibly get confused. Most entrepreneurs find it difficult to choose a business to start; you aren’t alone in this.
Carefully follow these questions I would be asking as it tends to help you discover a niche you would want to venture in.
- Discover what you love doing: This is one of the most viable questions asked, what do you love doing? You can use it to make some cash on the end. Maybe you love solving problems and creating a solution for them.
- Researching Industries and small business: Now you discover the business you want to go in. Research some industries and other small businesses that your business falls into; this solves many problems because you would have known the industry and how to deal with it. Let’s move on.
3. Decide on a business name:
Having a name on your target audience head can seem a task but not hard to achieve. An easy, not hard to spell or remember can do the trick of selling out your business from mouth to mouth; this is called organic marketing. It would help if you were extremely thoughtful in deciding on a business name. Got you covered on this, some useful and helpful tips;
- Research your business: As said earlier, you need to note how they pitch their business name. Does it describe their business? Is it something unique about them, using themselves as a brand for the business, an original identity?
- Use a business generator: Thinking of names looks hectic and time burnout. Some of these business generators going to be listed offer free services; generators might ask a few questions about what problem you are trying and how you would tackle it. It is going to be essential in generating your business name. You could check out these business generators.
- Shopify Business Name Generator
Make sure it is unique and original; this will distinguish your business fully from others in offering services to your customers.
4. Create a business plan:
A question is currently flowing into your thoughts, why should I need a business plan? I can store everything and keep track of it in my head; likely not possible; as your business expands and demands to keep increasing, a plan helps you keep track of what you should be expecting and records of some important things. What should a business plan contain?
- A clearly stated vision of your business shouldn’t belong; a three-word should do the magic of giving an insight into what your business is and where it should be heading.
- Projection of data analysis of the business market you want to venture in.
- Categorically state your execution strategy. Your business should excite investors when sourcing out for funds, and lastly, the state in five or six years, what should have happened with a data projection showing everything in detail. As you grow in your business, revisiting the plan gives you an insight into what you missed or didn’t do well.
5. Find the ideal location:
The next thing you would want to do is find a suitable location for your business. You would want to consider the cost of acquiring a property to do your business deals and services. It depends on you know what would be suitable for you.
If considering cutting some costs by not leasing a property, create a special working space from your home just for your business transactions and services. Once demands keep coming, setting up and acquiring a property would be much easier.
6. Get a domain name and Hosting:
Everything is getting set gradually; the next step is to register a domain name at a domain name registration site, e.g. Namecheap, which is much easier, right?
You can also use that to find out if your business already exists. Once it is available, register it quickly before another individual uses it.
Also, note that it would be much better if you could get a domain nearly close to your business name.
When you’re ready to build your business website you will need Web hosting, Web hosting is a server space that houses your website files on the Internet, We recommend you use any of these three top hosting providers; Interserver, Hostinger, or Namecheap, they are some of the best rated and small business-friendly web hosting providers in the world today.
7. Create a logo and social media accounts:
Finally, you got that done; moving on, you would want to create a logo for your business for visibility and your social media handles, which you also need to create. Firstly, your social media handles should have your business name to create the account.
Some social media handles have a business account for entrepreneurs with much wider options of reaching out to your audience; carefully look at those closely before creating an account.
Paying for a freelancer to create a logo isn’t in your budget now. Getting skilled as a graphics designer would come in handy as you create content on your social media accounts. Logaster offers some free services in getting a logo and card you might want to use in some business seminar which is helpful in networking.
Looking for templates you could edit, canvas offers templates and free services for you to design your logo and business card. Also, visit namecheap to reserve the names.
8. Create a sales pitch:
You have everything running quite well, create a sales pitch and work more on it. A sales pitch is like a call to action, intending to make that person buy your service or your product. How do you get this done, or will I meet up with them in their inbox?
That is quite different, and these are called cold messaging. Creating interesting content on your social media accounts does the magic of a “sales pitch.” Your first sales pitch should give your audience an impression of your business.
9. Choose a business entity type:
Different business entity types are taxed differently. Choosing a business entity type will determine how your business will be taxed. Currently, there are five business entity types.
- Sole proprietorship;
- C corporation
- S corporation
- Limited liability company (LLC)
Doing a self-evaluation of your business would determine a particular entity you want. Let’s go through this; Are you willing to bear the decision-making of everything that will happen in the business and the costs(Sole proprietorship)?
Considering having a partner in the business (partnerships)? Looking to get investors into the business and more partners(C corporation) or S corporation?; which is also similar to C corporation, but the shareholders file the income, deductions, profit, and loss into their income tax, limited liability company(LLC) quite same with sole proprietorship but they are a hybrid business entity, you get to choose how you are taxed in your tax.
10. Acquire business licenses and permits:
Business licenses and permits give you the freedom to operate freely. There are different licenses and permits on which different businesses operate. Visit any federal, state, and city zone to obtain your licenses and permits.
11. Getting a lawyer:
Successfully acquired a business license and permit; getting a lawyer for your business. A professional attorney should guide you on how to structure your business properly.
Put you through legal issues and policies that should guide your business is likely to happen. The policy should contain some legal issues that your business should need. There are policies on how different businesses should operate in different countries and states if looking to expand.
12. File for trademarks or patents:
An attorney can get this done for you, or your lawyer can guide you through the process of protecting your intellectual property (businesses) from being used by another person. You can protect your company logo, contents, and designs your business has.
13. Acquire an accountant:
Getting an accountant shouldn’t be underestimated or out of your list. Handling financial records and paying taxes quite well is done by a learned person more than organizing records. Accountants can use good accounting software suitable for your business.
You might be looking to put your business as a co-operation, and they have this skill of tax write-offs and looking for new areas to invest in to generate more revenue. Having this on your team is an invaluable asset you don’t want to miss out on.
14. Set accounting software for your business:
Gotten an accountant; this should come in handy. Accountants can set up viable accounting software for book-keeping and other tracking transactions to keep your business revenue intact as money flows in and out.
There are free and premium services, but if you are serious about the business, a paid version should give you all the necessary tools, e.g., QuickBooks.
15. Seek funding:
Having enough capital to start your business sounds difficult and quite tasking with added interest. Sourcing out funds from your friends and family is one of the best ways to get free from interests with the probability that it is a gift for you to kick start your business.
It should get you enough capital you need for starting. Still not up to, consider loans from a bank, venture capitalist, and crowdfunding are still not up. Before that, make sure you research closely on their policies and agreement so you would be clear on certain things; if possible, get your lawyer to put you through it.
16. Get equipment and supplies:
Checking out what equipment and supplies you would need for your business is one crucial step you need to do. Counting the costs of each piece of equipment and supplies, you probably want to focus on leasing them to cut costs. It all depends on you and looking at what the budget can do.
17. Knowing your prices:
For setting up equipment and supplies, you need to know your numbers closely here. Knowing a little math can come in handy, as businesses are mostly numbers you deal with; missing a number affects your revenue.
Carefully sort out the prices for the services you would be offering or your products. Checking out how other related businesses offer their services and products would give you an insight into attaching a price to it.
18. Build a team:
You get burnout along the way as tasks keep coming up at different angles; you would want to consider hiring some employees and making sure your needs are special in each specific job role. Hiring contractors to do some short-term goals will be a good solution to cut costs and save some money for other important things.
19. Create a marketing strategy:
Social media handles have been created and are ready to be used for marketing. Employing 4ps into your market strategy has proven very effective and useful in executing marketing strategies. What are the 4ps? They are;
These can guide you in creating an effective and call-to-action marketing strategy.
20. Getting business insurance:
Most business owners don’t have insurance covering their business. Finding the right insurance is critical to avoiding unnecessary costs on your revenue.
Why should I get insurance? Having insurance makes you avoid unnecessary spending if an accident should happen to your business or an employee gets injured at your business; these are some critical things you should look closely at. Your lawyer can help you get the right insurance for your business.
If you’re still trying to find the perfect business idea you can check this out.