Checklist for Small Business Startups
You have the perfect business idea; you have a market,
a location, and a budget. But before you sell that first
product, or sign on that first client, read this guide
and make sure you have covered all the details.
- Do you have a business plan? A business plan
is essential for obtaining financing. It will also help
you run and manage your business. The Service Corps
of Retired Executives can help you create your business
plan. SCORE is part of the Small Business Administration.
The SBA has Small Business Development Centers in many
cities which offer free resources and information for
small business. Check your Yellow Pages for local contact
- Have you decided which type of business entity
you will form? You can choose to set up as a sole
proprietorship, a partnership, a cooperative or a corporation.
You will need to research these business forms to determine
which is the best for you and your business.
- Have you registered your business name? Contact
the Secretary of State's office to find out if the name
you want is available. They will also register the name
for you. The fee for this service varies by state.
- Have you filed all the local forms and applied
for all the necessary permits and licenses? Check
that with your town clerk.
- Do you have an employer identification number?
Even if you do not have employees, you still need a
tax payer identification number for filing tax returns,
and opening bank accounts. Call 1-800-TAX-FORMS (1-800-829-3676),
and ask for Form SS-4, Application for Employer Identification
Number. Also ask for a copy of Publication 536 - ‘Starting
a Business and Keeping Records.'
- Do you have a lawyer? You should meet with
an attorney to determine what type of legal liability
your business will entail. Your attorney should be able
to advise you on local, and state regulations relating
to your form of business.
- Do you have an accountant? Meet with an accountant
to determine what your tax liabilities will be. An accountant
can also advise you in the type of accounting method
that will be best for your business.
- Have you filed all the necessary state forms?
You will need a state identification number for filing
sales tax forms, and state income tax.
- Do you have all the insurance you need? Do
you need to change your car or homeowner's insurance
policy? Do you need to obtain liability or business
insurance? Check with your agent.
- Will you hire employees? Check with the state
Department of Labor to determine what your responsibilities
are. You will also need to acquire copies of forms I-9
and W-4 from the IRS. I-9 certifies that the employee
is a U.S. citizen or resident alien. Form W-4 determines
the amount of taxes which will be withheld from the
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