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Checklist to Start a Business

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Each year thousands of people begin the long path to starting their own business. The idea may suddenly spring to life while driving their car or it could be an idea that has been simmering for years. Whatever the case may be, the idea is just the first step down a fairly long staircase. Every sort of business will be different. A pet groomers will have a few different paths than a local car mechanic and a bakery will certainly have varying needs from a lawn care service. But even with the different needs of each type of business there are similarities between them all. It is a checklist that anyone starting their own business must take part in before they can get their foot off the ground and startup in motion.

Below is a checklist for starting your own business and what is involved in the early phases.

Developing the idea

Molding your idea into a fine shape is priority for every business owner. The ideas need to be shaped and mulled over into a more refined shape. For example, you want to start a bakery. What sort of bakery do you want to start, though? Will you focus on French treats or a more American appeal? Do you have enough recipes you’ve perfected to make a strong case? What will the name of your bakery be and do you have ideas on employees? There are a thousand questions to ask, but sitting down and writing out a plan will be the first step to distilling the clump of idea-clay into a fine vase.

Writing a business plan

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A business plan can be tricky to write. There are a myriad of things you could add in or leave off the plan. Deciding which to add and which to subtract is difficult for anyone. While there are many ways to make a unique business plan there are also some key items each strong plan needs. You will need an executive summary to describe what exactly the purpose of your proposed business will be. Another thing to add would be a description of your business in general. You may include the name, what your focus will be, any specialties you might have, and anything unique you play on applying to the business. Lastly, you should include a proposal on how you plan to market and manage the business. It could be social media heavy or old fashioned word on the street use. A solid business plan is a strong start to the CEO path.

Searching out a location

Picking a prime location for your business is also an important factor. Many business owners start their company close to home. For some, the location is extremely close to home. It could be an office, a bedroom, and the old standby of their garage. Yet there are businesses that can’t be confined to a small location such as this. Some companies need large spaces and the ability to garner more foot traffic into their shop. What you customer base consists of is important. If the product is online and needs no real physical contact, starting the business in your garage or home office is fine. On the other hand, if you open a clothing boutique or a food shop you will definitely need a brick and mortar building. Scouting the location and learning more about the area and the surrounding population is important to knowing how to attract your clientele.

Figuring out finances

This can be a tricky subject for most any entrepreneur to tackle. Often the source of initial capital comes from their very pocket. That initial money will go buy in a flash when the bills pile up and the need for more investment in the tools you need for your business. Knowing how to handle your finances and possibly getting some investors is a smart move. Speaking with your local bank can also be a helpful step in learning all the different aspects of your financial business structure. A quick search online through the IRS website, and even Google, can give you sites directing you to various government grants and loans which might prove helpful. Some loans or grants may not be helpful every business, but it is possible at least one loan or grant will be ideal for your specific needs.

Crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s

The next steps on the checklist will deal with the government, local laws, and all that goes along with this. Applying for your tax code for your business and adhering to all your local laws will be a tricky tightrope. Having some assistance, a reliable friend or even your loan officer, could be a helpful source and remembering all the steps on this part of the checklist. While it is the home stretch of getting your business off the ground it is also the time to pay close attention to the laws in your area and what steps you have to take with the government to get the ‘all clear’ sign. Things like registering for local and state taxes, getting all necessary permits, and applying for ID numbers can be a huge confusion and business killer if not completed in the right order and on time.

Learning how to be the boss

So now falls the final step on your business checklist – what kind of boss are you going to be? No doubt you have thought about it before and have tested out methods and done research on effective CEO methods. Being the boss will be a constantly changing title. One day you might be the negotiator and another day the therapist for your employees. There will be days when you only see home a few hours and long stretches of time when the work never seems to end. Learning how to deal with these stresses and also lead your future employees is the last part of your checklist. They say practice makes perfect and once your business is open and growing, it’s likely one CEO method will attract you over the rest. Hiring employees who are willing to be in the same sometimes turbulent boat as you are is also an important factor to consider. No matter what happens along the way in your path, when you finally reach this step in your checklist, finally having the title of CEO will be a huge source of pride.

Image courtesy of 89studio / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

About Gresham Harkless Jr.

Gresham Harkless is a Media Consultant for Blue 16 Media and the Blogger-in-Chief for CEO Blog Nation. CEO Blog Nation is a community of blogs for entrepreneurs and business owners. Started in much the same way as most small businesses, CEO Blog Nation captures the essence of entrepreneurship by allowing entrepreneurs and business owners to have a voice. CEO Blog Nation provides news, information, events and even startup business tips for entrepreneurs, startups and business owners to succeed.
  • Andy E

    Great tips, Ashley!

    It’s very important that you’ve outlined all the necessary business tips when starting one. Since I am also at the point of starting my own bakery business, I believe you have just explained in detail the tip I got from this resource.

    It says that it’s not enough to be good at what you are doing. You have to be “really” good in business first. I believe learning all the tips you mentioned should make me be off to a good start.

  • Before starting a business, it’s important to make sure the required legalities are covered and that your formal business structure is in place.

  • Nery Corner

    There are some folks who cram up their business cards with all the information it can hold. This is not done, for a business card is business card and not sales literature. Let the additional info be there on your sales literature and keep the business card as simple as possible. This will ensure that the card will be able to pass across the information it was supposed to convey immediately. Would you rather want that the CEO of a reputed company scanned all through your business card just to find your contact information? A proper business card design should have as much `white space as possible on it. People should be able to access the necessary information immediately.`

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    • Very true. White space is not a bad thing…what are your thoughts on specific things that should never be on the business card? Like QR codes?

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