Starting a business is very exciting for both new and experienced entrepreneurs. However, it can be confusing to new business owners on what tasks they should complete to get their business up and running.
Here is a list of the 15 essential tasks you need to complete as you start up your business:
- Choose a business name
The first step you need to do is to pick out a name for your business. When deciding on the best name for your business, pick a name that stands out from competitors. You want a name that will stick in your potential customer’s heads. Be sure to do Google searches and use a corporate name search tool to see if the name you have in mind is not being used by a competitor.
- Incorporate or form an LLC
The most important step you’ll want to take for your new business is to form a business entity. Incorporating your business will give it instant credibility, save you money on taxes, and will also protect your personal assets from lawsuits. By forming a Corporation or a limited liability company, both you and your business will have protection from lawsuits and be in the best possible position for business success.
- Write your company operating agreement
The operating agreement is the most important legal document, outlining the rules and regulations for running your business. An operating agreement is the legal document that communicates how your business is run. It proves you actually own the business and lists the governing members of the entity, including everyone’s financial and managerial responsibilities.
- Apply for an EIN
An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a tax id number that is issued by the IRS. You’ll need to apply for an EIN through the IRS so that you can open a business bank account and pay business taxes.
- Apply for a business license
Most business licenses are issues at the state or local level. You’ll want to check with your state to see what business licenses are required for starting a business. You may need one or more business licenses for your startup, depending on your industry and where you are located.
- Register your domain name
These days it’s impossible to succeed without having an online presence. Ideally, you want to get a domain name that matches your business name or a domain that is memorable and unique. A catchy domain name is perfect to help your brand name stick in your customer’s minds.
- Set-up your business website
Having a website in today’s business world is necessary for building credibility. After you claim your domain name, the next step is to start building your business website. Be sure to add in all the basic information such a “Contact us” page and an “About us” page. Even if your product or service is not yet ready to be rolled out, you can still add basic company information to your website.
- Claim social media profiles
Register for any social media channels that you want your business to be a part of. You’ll want to be sure to register for the major social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. If your target market uses other social media channels such as SnapChat or Pinterest, you’ll also want to claim those profiles.
- Find an office space
If your business model requires that you have a brick-and-mortar business, you’ll need to find the best possible location for your business. If your business does not require a physical location, then hold off renting an office as long as possible to avoid lease payments for your startup.
- Order business cards
Order business cards early on so that you gain instant credibility and have something to show as you network. Business cards are inexpensive enough that you can reorder them later if things change.
- Open a business bank account
One of the biggest mistakes first-time business owners make is commingling their business and personal funds. Make sure that you have a completely separate business bank account and credit card so that your business stays in good standing.
- Get insurance
Depending on the type of business you’re starting, you may need insurance of one kind or another, like liability, workers’ comp, or health insurance, especially if you hire full-time staff. Consult your insurance agent and secure coverage for your business as soon as possible.
- File any trademarks or patents
If you need to file any trademarks or patents for your business, you’ll need to file them early on. Trademark law protects you, the owner, from competitors stealing your identity or using a name or symbol so similar that it could cause confusion for your clients or customers. Whereas patents and copyrights are used to protect the commercial rights of inventors and creators of artistic or literary works.
- Hire employees
First-time entrepreneurs may try to do everything themselves but quickly realize that they may need help with administrative tasks so that they can focus on growing the business. Depending on the type of business you have, you may need to hire employees from the start or you may need to outsource some work to freelancers or contractors.
- Start generating revenue
Start generating revenue as soon as possible. At the early stages of starting a business,, there is never enough money to support your business so make sure that you avoid the temptation to wait until things are “perfect.” Things will never be truly perfect in your business so you might as well start getting revenue early on to help your business grow.