Entrepreneur Checklist For Starting a New Business

“If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” This quote is what makes many budding entrepreneurs take the plunge to open a new business. However, even the most passionate must complete numerous steps to become and stay viable in an ever changing market.

Start as a reporter

Begin by determining your market demographics by answering some basic questions to get your concept off the ground.

What

You have an idea of what type of business you want to start. Now find out what similar concepts are already available to perfect or why this idea hasn’t already taken flight.

Who

Find your consumer base. Establish buyer demographics, including:

  • Age
  • Income
  • Interests
  • Family makeup

You will then have approximate knowledge of consumer interest and what you can charge for your product or service.

Where 

Determine the best place to open up shop to reach the most people. 

When 

Know that your vision won’t take flight overnight. While you love your work, you can’t overlook some realities, including marketing and development. Don’t take forever completing these tasks.

Why 

Make a list of what you hope to accomplish by starting your own business.

How 

Estimate how much you need to start your new business and where that money will come from. You can always take advice from professionals

The most common income sources include:

  • Using personal savings
  • Investors
  • Loans

Remember, it could be some time before your idea spins a profit. 

Legal

Contrary to popular belief, filing a Certificate of Incorporation for your new company doesn’t offer personal liability protection. To do so, it’s best to structure your business. The way you choose to structure your company affects everything from how company taxes get filed to personal liability if something goes wrong. The most common structures are:

S Corporation

An S corporation is taxed as a partnership with under 100 shareholders. Individual shareholders cannot be used to satisfy business liabilities.

C Corporation 

Companies structured as C corporations get taxed on earnings before dividends get distributed to shareholders. No individual associated with the company can be held responsible for the business’s legal obligations.

LLC 

While owners get taxed personally for company profits and losses, they are not personally liable for any of the company’s debts or liabilities.

To further lessen the likelihood of personal or shareholder liability, practice the following procedures:

  • All documents, including contracts and invoices, should have the entire company name, including “Inc.” or “Corp.” 
  • Use the name of the company and your title in your signature
  • Follow bylaws and corporate formalities
  • Keep all corporate funds, transactions, and taxes separate from individual shareholders, owners, or the Board of Directors

To go along with these filings, you also need:

  • Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) from the IRS
  • Company Bank Account
  • Licenses and Permits
  • Business insurance

Sales and marketing

Once you get through the initial planning stages, the next step is to get the message out. Target your ideal customer with a marketing plan that continually grows your clientele and gets the word out about your business. To do so:

  • Keep on top of SEO (search engine optimization) fundamentals
  • Promote your business on social media
  • Issue press releases
  • Continually network
  • Have a unique, identifiable logo and use it consistently

Accounting and Bookkeeping

Even with proper planning, without adequate effort, you have a fifty-fifty chance of your business lasting more than five years. Beyond first year difficulties, competition, cash flow, and taxes threaten profitable companies. To combat these issues, establish an accounting system that automates the operational aspect of the business as much as possible. To do so, these procedures should include how to:

  • Process orders
  • Monitor accounts payable and receivable
  • Pay employees
  • Pay taxes
  • Maintain permits

Having a process of systemization and organization from the beginning makes your company as efficient as possible and enables you to concentrate on growing your business. If you feel completely overwhelmed, a small business coach can help guide you through the process of starting a new company.  

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About Dequiana Jackson

Dequiana Jackson, Founder of Inspired Marketing, Inc., helps overachieving women entrepreneurs conquer limiting beliefs and create marketing plans that win. This includes one-on-one marketing plan development, digital product creation, web design and content marketing. Dequiana is the author of Know Your Business: How to Attract Ideal Clients & Sell More and runs the award-winning blog, Entrepreneur-Resources.net.

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