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Start-up Check List

(Click here for PDF version)

Below are various details to consider before the official opening of your business.

Instructions: Carefully review the following Business Readiness Check List to identify the issues you need to plan for. Check the appropriate box for those that have been productively addressed, those that do not apply, and those that need further attention. Create an action plan for each item identified.

Registrations and Regulations Status


1. Establish a business location

Check with the local town or city hall regarding specific permit, zoning, and licensing requirements for your
specific business and location

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Sign any applicable lease or rent agreements – seek legal advice where necessary

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2. Select a name for your business

Choose a name that will be easy for customers to remember and that stands out from your competition

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Register the name of your business with your Secretary of State's office

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3. Choose a business structure

Review Types of Business Entities to understand the types of business formations available for establishing
your venture. For additional advice on which type to choose, consult with your accountant or attorney.

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4. File for an Employer Identification number (EIN) with the IRS

This must be completed if you plan on having employees work for you. Visit Obtaining a Tax ID for an
EIN application.

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5. Business Law

Do you know which business laws you must obey?

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Do you have a lawyer that can help you with your business law needs?

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Visit Small Business Registrations & Filings for additional help.

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INSURANCE STATUS


1. Determine your business insurance needs

What insurance will you need to protect yourself and your business?

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Work with a qualified professional and purchase and appropriate policy.

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For more information, visit What is a Tax I.D. Number? Do I need one? in Start-up FAQs.

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RECORD KEEPING STATUS


1. Plan a system for recording important financial information

Seeking the advice of an accountant or consultant can help in this process.

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Visit Small Business Solutions for your accounting needs.

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2. Plan a system for recording and paying taxes

Work with an accountant to determine what taxes you must pay and when.

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If you plan to have employees, you will need a system for deducting taxes.

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Visit Small Business Solutions for your accounting needs.

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3. Plan a system for recording and tracking inventory levels

Determine what level of inventory is needed to operate the business and use a tracking system.

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Visit Small Business Solutions for Order Fulfillment Services.

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ADVERTISING STATUS


1. Advertise your business and location

For physical locations, choose a sign that is easily read by passing customers and attracts attention.

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For Internet-based businesses, implement a web site awareness campaign; e.g., search engine
optimization, reciprocal link strategies, etc.

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Select a date that your business will officially be open for business.

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Develop a plan to advertise your business opening to your target market.

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LOCATING EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES STATUS


1. Make arrangements for needed utilities

If your business is operating out of a location other than your home, you will need to make arrangements
for utilities (heat, electricity, phone, water, etc.)

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2. Decide and purchase necessary equipment, technology and supplies

Determine what equipment, connectivity and supplies you need.

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Choose a reliable vendor and establish a relationship for future orders and ongoing services.

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