More than 627,000 new businesses get started each year. For most of these companies, getting started is the hardest part. There’s more to running a successful startup than simply advertising your services. It takes planning, strategy, and determination.
You need a startup checklist to make sure you take care of everything before you open your doors. Here are a few of the most important tasks to take care of that will set you up for success as a new company.
1. Pick a Name for Your Company
Before you can launch your new startup, you’ll need to choose a name for your company. Think about what you’re trying to accomplish with your business, who you’re catering to, and what services you’ll provide.
Use these things to help you come up with a name. Remember, great names are memorable and unique enough to help you stand out from your competitors. Don’t overthink it. If there’s something that stands out and sounds great to you, it’ll likely draw others’ attention, too.
2. Get Registered with the Local Government
Before you can start providing services, you’ll want to register your company with your local government. For most startups, this just involves registering your business name with the state and your county. But you may also want to register as a particular type of company.
LLCs, corporations, and other business structures have different tax and legal benefits. Take a moment and think about the types of services you’ll provide and your goals. Once you have these in mind, you’ll be able to choose the right structure for your business and register the structure with your business name.
3. Create a Detailed Business Plan
You’ll need to write a detailed business plan to attract investors and set your brand up for long-term success. This involves figuring out your company’s mission and writing down the steps you’ll take to accomplish this mission. Remember, it’s better to get down with the details than it is to be brief.
Your business plan is what investors use to decide if it’s a viable investment. If your business plan is thorough, it will show them that you can and will earn them money. But if it’s too short or too general, they won’t have confidence in what your brand has to offer.
4. Figure Out Funding
Once you’ve got your business plan in place, you’ll want to figure out how you’ll pay for your company. There’s no wrong answer here. If you have personal savings or are willing to take out a personal loan to get things off the ground, that’s fine. But if you’re able to, finding investors can give you access to more capital and help you grow faster. Whatever you decide, make sure you can hold up your end of the deal. Don’t take out more in loans than you can afford to repay each month.
5. Find a Location
If you are self-employed, you can run your company out of a spare bedroom in your home. But if you’re planning on hiring employees or need to meet with clients, you’ll want to find a business location. If you have the budget, renting or buying a commercial property zoned for your business is a great option. But if money’s tight, a coworking office may fit your needs better. As the company grows, you can always expand into a larger location.
6. Speak with an Attorney
As a business owner, you’re open to possible liability issues that you may not experience outside of your startup. This means you’ll want to speak with an attorney, especially when you’re just starting out. Look for an attorney that’s familiar with your industry.
This way, they’ll be able to give you advice that’s actually helpful for your company. In most cases, the first consultation is free. Use this to your advantage and interview different attorneys until you find one you like. Once you do, you can return to them for legal advice as needed.
7. Separate Personal Finances from Business Finances
Though it’s tempting to use your personal bank account and credit card when you’re first starting out, it makes life difficult in the long-run. Over the course of the year, it will get incredibly tough to determine which purchases were for personal use and which were for your business.
Even if you save the receipts, parsing out those charges will take time. And it can hurt the number of tax deductions you’ll qualify for at the end of the year. Instead, open a business bank account and business credit card. Use them for business-related expenses only and keep your personal finances separate.
8. Create Proof of Income for Yourself
Even when you’re self-employed, you’ll need to have proof of income on hand. This gets used for tax purposes, but it can also get used to help you get personal loans, buy a house, or even to finance a car. That doesn’t mean you need to find a payroll expert to get the job done. All you need to do is create paystubs to reflect your earnings.
When creating a paystub, make sure you include your business name, address, and EIN for tax purposes. You can list yourself as the employee and use these paystubs as proof of income as needed. Don’t worry–you don’t have to start from scratch. You can use templates to take the stress out of creating your proof of income.
9. Hire Employees If Needed
If you’re able to run things alone, go for it. It may save you money especially during the startup process. But if you find yourself needing a little extra help, hire someone. Taking on too much alone in the beginning is the easiest way to keep your business from growing.
Just look for people who share your ideals and have the passion and experience to back your brand 100 percent. Once you hire your first employees, you’ll need to create paystubs for every person working for you. This is the case whether they’re working full-time, part-time, or on a contract basis.
Issue copies of the paystubs to your employees with every paycheck and retain a copy for your records. This will help you come tax season and helps ensure that you can deduct as many business expenses as possible from what you owe the government.
10. Order Inventory and Supplies
You have your funding in place and are ready to start helping customers. But before you can, you need to order the products and supplies your business relies on. If you’re selling services, make sure your team has the tools they need to provide those services. And if you’re selling products, make sure you have enough on hand to meet initial demand.
Get Started on the Right Foot with This Startup Checklist
This startup checklist is just the beginning, but it should help you get things started off quickly. Just remember to be patient and know that good things come with time. The more hard work you put into your startup, the faster it will grow and the more successful it will become. When the time comes to manage payroll and generate paystubs for yourself or your employees, be sure to check out Paystubs.net.