Note: the following is a basic rudimentary checklist for start-ups.
Your business/ intellectual property attorney will guide you through this process with more detail.
- Select a Name and Legal Structure
You basically have 4 choices when selecting a legal structure.
- Sole Proprietorship
- Limited Liability Company (LLC)
- Corporation or S-Corporation
Naming Your Business
The business name and trademarks (often one in the same) by which consumers identify your business and its products or services is extremely important and legally complicated. For example, there are strong and weak trademarks. Consult with your IP Attorney before choosing a name. To avoid inadvertent infringement matters, ask your attorney for a full availability search and legal opinion to make sure the name/trademark you have chosen is available BEFORE you invest time and money.
- Write a Business Plan
If you haven’t already, prepare at least a preliminary business plan. Many financial institutions require a business plan before lending money.
- Obtain your Federal Employer Identification Number
If we set you up as a Corporation, LLC or Partnership (or a sole proprietorship with employees), we also automatically apply for a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) from the IRS. A FEIN will be necessary to open a bank account or process payroll.
- Open the Company Bank Account
Select a bank and open the company bank account.
- Lease Office, Warehouse or Retail Space (if not home-based)
Ask us to review any leases to make sure it is in your best interest to sign the lease as is, or negotiate terms if necessary.
- Obtain Licenses and Permits
- Federal Permits
Depending on the type of business you are in, you may need a Federal license or permit.
- State Licenses
Some occupations and professions require a State license or permit. Laws vary from State to State, we can help you to determine what permits you may be required to obtain.
- Business License
Most Cities or Counties require you to obtain a business license, even if you operate a home-based business. This is a license granting the company the authority to do business in that city/county.
- Hire Employees
If you intend to hire yourself or others as a full or part-time employee of your company, then you may have to register with the appropriate State Agencies or obtain Workers Compensation Insurance or Unemployment Insurance (or both).
- Set up an Accounting and Record-Keeping System
Setup your Accounting and Record-keeping system and learn about the taxes your new company is responsible for paying.
Company documents generally are required to be kept for 3 years, including: a list of all owners and addresses, copies of all formation documents, financial statements, annual reports, amendments or changes to the company. All Tax and Corporate Filings should be kept for at least 3 years.
- Obtain Business Insurance
There are many types of insurance for businesses that offer protection. Find a reputable insurance representative who can guide you through this important process.
- Systemize and Organize
Develop efficient methods to process orders, pay bills, pay employees, pay taxes, and maintain your permits.
- Develop a Business Identity
Develop an online and local identity. A professionally created logo can make your business look professional and established.
- Get the Word Out
Now that you’ve set-up the company for success, you need to begin marketing. Create a marketing plan & budget for each year and stick to it!