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o 1. Planning Stage: Purchase your favorite journal, life planner (my personal favorite for years) or notebook to use daily and help you stay organized, whether you use online tools only. A planner will keep you productive to achieve your goals. Do market research on your business and document information on your competitors in your area in addition to market trends.
o 2. Pick your Company Name. First Google the company name to ensure it is available. Do a trademark search to ensure the name has not already been registered. Having a trademark means you have the rights exclusively to use that company name only. To avoid any potential lawsuits, please do your research first using the resources from the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
o 3. Create your business plan to layout the structure of your business. Pick a plan format that works best for you. That link has Free Resources provided by the U.S. Small Business Administration
o 4. Raise capital to Secure Financing (if applicable) Checkout the funding programs being offered through the U.S. Small Business Administration
o 5. Pick the business location and check local zoning regulations through your City/County business website. The business location is super important because your business license requirements and business taxes depend on the County your business is located. This applies to both a physical store location and having an e-commerce business online, for example.
o 6. Choose a business Entity Type (i.e. Limited Liability Company (LLC), Corporation (C corp), Corporation (S corp), Corporation (B corp), Limited Partnership (LP), Limited Liability Partnerships (LLP), Sole Proprietorship, Corporation – Nonprofit)
o 7. Obtain a FREE Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) and State Tax ID (if applicable) – Your EIN number can be used to open a business bank account to help you keep track of all of your expenses and revenue. Having a business bank account will come in handy when it comes time to filing your taxes.
o 8. Now that you chose your business structure (LLC, Corp, LP, LLP, etc.), register your Business with the Secretary of State (SOS). Instead of you doing the not-so-fun research on your SOS, you can download your FREE list instead of all 50 States linked by Secretary of State. When you access the Google Sheet, simply click on the State where you are registering your business and it will guide you to start your registration process. Important Tip: If you are just starting out small, know that you DO NOT have to pay for a Registered Agent. You can represent and register yourself as the Owner or as the Company as the Registered Agent. Once your company grows, you can then decide to have an Agent handle all your license and State filing needs.
o 9. Register your Fictitious Business Name (if applicable) – I.e., Client Business Advisors, LLC dba CBA. You can file your Doing Business As (dba) with your City or County.
o 10. Apply for Business Licenses and Permits (if applicable) & Open a Business Bank Account – Remaining legally compliant is key for your business. Licenses and permits will vary by Industry, State, Location (City), County, Zones, and other factors. Checkout your City or County website to see if you require a business license. The best part of this is that you can file for licenses online! Next, pick your favorite bank and go and open your business bank account. Be sure to take your EIN letter with you.
o 11. Register your business with the Department of Revenue/Taxation for each State you are doing business in. Save the research yourself and download your FREE list of all 50 States linked by the Department of Revenue/Taxation instead. On each State website, you will learn all about your Employer Responsibilities like having business insurance, workers’ compensation, etc. when applicable.
o 12. Ensure that you stay on top of all your legal filing requirements and know your deadlines to remain in Good Standing with the State, Federal, City, and County (when applicable).
Important Tip: add business license and tax filing deadlines to your preferred online calendar to set reminders before the deadlines are due to ensure you execute every single one.
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