Starting a business requires having the right tools at your disposal to ensure that your business will be a success. Failure to plan is often cited as the reason that many businesses don’t make it past the fifth year, so having a new startup checklist at your disposal will increase your chances of staying in business.
Determine The Legal Structure Of Your Business
Many new startup owners start out as sole proprietors, the default legal structure for businesses started and run by individuals. While keeping your business as a sole proprietorship allows for maximum simplicity, it also leaves you personally responsible financially. If someone sues your business, you will be held personally liable for any damages. That means your home and all of your assets are on the line when you structure your business as a sole proprietorship. Many businesses start out as sole proprietorships and their owners later convert them to corporations.
Name Your Business
If you run your business under a name that is not your own, you will be required to officially name your company. You can do this by applying for a DBA (doing business as) or a fictitious name certificate. Be sure to conduct a business name search before using your new name on any of your branding materials. If you use the name of an existing business, you can be sued for copyright infringement.
Apply For An EIN Or Tax ID Number
If you are planning on hiring employees, you will need an EIN, or employee identification number. If you are not hiring employees, you will still need a tax ID number. This number is similar to a social security number, and is unique to your business. You can easily obtain these numbers from the IRS, free of charge.
Apply For Insurance
Getting the proper insurance for your business is essential. For many industries, you will need errors and omissions insurance that covers any errors that you may make that cost your client money. You may also need coverage to protect you if someone is injured on your property. If you are running a taxi service or other passenger transport business, it is important to have the proper insurance coverage for your vehicle and passengers. An insurance rep can help you to select the best policy for your company.
Set Up A Business Bank Account
Before you accept a single payment, you will need a business bank account. Getting one set up is simple. Your local bank is the first place to start when it comes to opening your account. To set up your account, the bank may ask for a copy of your business license or taxpayer ID. With this new account, you can write checks and accept payments for your new business.
Create A Web Presence
Your customers will want to be able to find you online. Creating a web site is the best way to make your company visible to the maximum number of customers. Your website should contain basic information about your company’s offerings, your hours of operation and your contact information. Fill your website with engaging content, vibrant images and interactive features. By creating a website that will draw in customers, you can easily grow your business and increase your online exposure.
Market Your Business
After you have worked hard setting up your business, it is imperative that you market it to your target audience. There are many great ways to market your business, both online and offline. Customised web articles, promotional events and social media mentions are all great ways to market your new company. Don’t forget about local marketing. Reach out to your local chamber of commerce and market your business to customers in your city.
Hire A Team
Even if you are not yet ready to hire a full-time staff, you can still have a great team to help you to build your business. You can hire freelancers, independent contractors and interns to assist you in your business operations. There are legal implications to hiring staff, so check with your attorney to make sure you are protected if you decide to hire staff members.
Starting a business in 2014 can be a rewarding and profitable venture. By following a few helpful tips, you will be well on your way to enjoying business success.