The list below is meant to remind you of the tasks you may have to perform to start your business.

Not every business will have to complete each step. For instance, you may decide not to register your trademark with state or federal officials. Or, you may not be required to publish a notice of intent to do business.

Since laws vary by state and by type of business, be sure to check with local authorities to determine if there are any additional legal steps you need to take.

[ ] Choose a business based on your skills and interests.

[ ] Research the business idea:

  • What will you sell?
  • Is it legal?
  • Who will buy it and how often?
  • Are you willing to do what it takes to sell the product?
  • What will it cost to produce, advertise, sell & deliver?
  • With what laws will you have to comply?
  • Can you make a profit?
  • How long will it take to make a profit?

[ ] Write a business plan and marketing plan.

[ ] Choose a business name.

[ ] Verify right to use the name.

[ ] Reserve corporate name if you will be incorporating.

[ ] Register or reserve state or federal trademark.

[ ] Register copyrights.

[ ] Apply for patent if you will be marketing an invention.

[ ] Check zoning laws.

[ ] Choose a location for the business or make space in the house for it.

[ ] File partnership or corporate papers.

[ ] Register business name and get a business certificate.

[ ] Get any required business licenses or permits.

[ ] Order any required notices (advertisements you have to place) of your intent to do business in the community.

[ ] Have business phone or extra residential phone lines installed.

[ ] Check into business insurance needs.

[ ] Find out about health insurance if you will not have coverage under a spouse.

[ ] Apply for sales tax number.

[ ] Get tax information such as record keeping requirements, information on withholding taxes if you will have employees, information on hiring independent contractors, facts about estimating taxes, forms of organization, etc.

[ ] Call Department of Labor to determine labor laws if you have employees.

[ ] Apply for employee identification number if you will have employees.

[ ] Find out about workers’ compensation if you will have employees.

[ ] Open business bank account(s).

[ ] Have business cards and stationery printed.

[ ] Purchase equipment or supplies.

[ ] Order inventory.

[ ] Order signage.

[ ] Order fixtures.

[ ] Have sales literature prepared.

[ ] Get adequate business insurance or a business rider to a homeowner’s policy.

[ ] Send out publicity releases.

[ ] Place advertising if yours is the type of business that will benefit from paid advertising.

[ ] Call everyone you know and let them know you are in business.

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