Are you ready to open the doors on your new business venture? Whether the enterprise is strictly online or a brick-and-mortar affair, you’ll need to go through what experts call “the essential checklist” to make certain that you’re doing things right. Of course, there are more than five points on any thorough “must-do” list for new businesses. However, the five items listed below are considered universal tasks for entrepreneurs in every sector of the economy.
Licenses And Permits
Even if you’re operating out of your garage and doing everything online, it’s smart to check with local authorities about various permits and licenses. Local and state jurisdictions vary widely in their requirements. This essential step is easy to forget, but the consequences can be costly. Some cities, for example, can charge hefty fines based on the number of years you’ve been operating without the proper permits or licenses. If you’re unsure about what you need, contact a local attorney who specializes in such matters. If you can answer the question of “do you need a business license?“, you can start your business legally.
There’s no getting around the facts of entrepreneurship: businesses need commercial insurance. Remember to contact an agent before you begin. Otherwise you might end up with a costly lawsuit on your hands before things even get off the ground. It’s common for owners to balk at paying for coverage, but this is one area where is it not smart to cut corners in order to save a few dollars. Needs vary widely depending on the kind of product or service your company offers. With this being said, you need to give the agent all the details. Only then can you get enough insurance to protect your company and its assets.
Accounting And Tax Help
If you or someone who works for you has the expertise to handle accounting and tax chores, that’s great. If not, speak with a consultant to find out whether you can get by with a software package or need to outsource this important job. Some small business consultants are skilled in accounting. However, many business owners prefer to hire highly specialized consultants for their finances. Hiring a local accounting firm to handle your number-crunching needs is surprisingly affordable. Accounting firms also free up time for business owners. They can then deal with finding new clients and handling day-to-day management tasks.
Perhaps all you need is a simple business plan to get started. However, many entrepreneurs offer services online to get started, in addition to simply filing a sole proprietor’s “Schedule C” with the IRS when tax season arrives. Speak with a business attorney and find out what documents, if any, need to be on filed with the state or federal government before you begin operations. Skipping this step can lead to costly fines and penalties down the road.
A Business Plan
The “mother of all start-up documents”, a business plan is your detailed roadmap of what you intend to accomplish during the first year or two of operations. Many owners of micro-businesses forget this vital document to their detriment. Without a specific set of goals and a delineated list of how you’ll finance each step of the journey, it’s easy to go off course. You risk falling into debt, missing key profit milestones and running into other forms of trouble. For this reason, it is crucial that you build a financial business plan, a marketing plan and an overall operational plan before opening day.
In order to launch a startup successfully, you need to learn the basics. Firstly, determine whether you need licenses and permits or not. Another crucial step to take is to protect your business and assets by obtaining insurance. Then, find an accounting firm to assist you with your company’s finances. Gather the startup documents you need and build a business plan as well. If you complete these steps before starting your business, you will set yourself up for a profitable future.