Starting a business isn’t all fun and games. It’s a lot of hard work! You’ll have to tackle many “boring” business essentials to get your business off the ground and ensure you have all of your legal ducks in a row. You do not want to skip these tasks! By sitting down and working your way through all of the not-so-fun necessities involved in launching a business, you can avoid all kinds of serious problems in the future.
The good news is that there are plenty of resources out there that can help you tackle your business startup checklist. We, The Alfam offers design, development, and branding services to help businesses launch and grow. Tapping resources like these will make your life easier as you get your business underway.
1. Choose a Business Structure
Before you can register your business, you will need to choose a business structure. Many small businesses start as sole proprietorships or LLCs. While a sole proprietorship may be cheaper and easier to manage, forming an LLC will offer valuable personal protection from business liabilities. At the same time, LLCs can pass business profits through to owners as personal income to avoid double taxation.
Keep in mind that states have different regulations when it comes to forming an LLC, so do your research before moving forward. You can avoid hiring a lawyer if you have a clear understanding of how it all works. Learn how to start an LLC in your state so you can tackle this process on your own! Online formation services exist to help business owners start LLCs quickly and accurately, so be sure to take advantage of them.
2. Get an EIN
Acquiring federal and state tax ID numbers—also known as an Employer Identification Number (EIN)—will allow your business to pay taxes. You must have an EIN to hire and pay employees, apply for business licenses and permits, and open a business bank account. Fortunately, applying for an EIN is quick and easy with the IRS online assistance tool. After answering a few questions about yourself and your business, your EIN will be available immediately.
3. Obtain Business Insurance
Even if you shield yourself from personal liability by forming an LLC, it’s always a good idea to get business insurance. Think about this: Could you replace all of your business equipment if it was damaged or stolen? Could you afford legal fees if you face a lawsuit? Would you be able to recover damage to your business reputation in the event of a major data loss event? The right business insurance policy can protect your company from scenarios like these and more. Shop around and get quotes for business insurance online to make the process easier.
4. Acquire Necessary Permits and Licenses
You’ll also need to acquire the proper business licenses and permits before you can operate your business legally. Shopify explains that business licenses are issued by cities, counties, states, and the federal government to ensure businesses are safe for the public and meet all regulations and requirements. Failing to have the right business licenses can leave you open to fines and penalties.
Do your research to find out what business licenses or permits you need. A simple Google search might be enough to uncover your requirements. If you can’t find information for your specific type of business or industry online, get in touch with your local secretary of state office or department of revenue. Your local Small Business Development Center is a great resource for finding licensing agencies in your area.
5. Establish Solid Accounting Practices
Good accounting is critical to the success of your small business. Unfortunately, this is also where many startups go wrong. As Accounting Seed explains, tracking income and expenses on a simple spreadsheet will get messy fairly quickly. This record keeping method is also time-consuming and vulnerable to security flaws. Plus, data entry that relies entirely on your accuracy will leave your accounting open to costly human errors.
Get set up with robust accounting software that covers everything you need to do in terms of bookkeeping. A great accounting tool will include features for easy bill payment, client invoicing, payroll, tax management, receipt storage, and inventory tracking. Look into your accounting software options and find a solution that meets your needs and budget!
6. Register a Domain and Get Website Hosting
While designing your business website might be a lot of fun, registering your domain and setting up hosting can be quite a pain. This process can be confusing and frustrating for those who have never done it before. Fortunately, if you set up your website and purchase a domain through a dedicated ecommerce platform like Shopify, Squarespace, Wix, or Weebly, you won’t have to navigate the process of pointing your domain name to your website or signing up for separate web hosting.
These services also make it easy to design drag-and-drop websites without writing a single line of code. Our if you need something more complex, get started with our team!
7. Implement a Cybersecurity Plan
Many small startups neglect cybersecurity until it’s too late. Don’t assume that hackers only target big brands. In fact, many cybercriminals specifically go after small businesses because they tend to be more vulnerable. Hackers might target your business to steal your intellectual property, customer data, or client lists. They might want to block your access to data in exchange for a ransom or lure your employees into phishing scams in an attempt to steal passwords. Set aside time to learn about potential cybersecurity threats and shield your business from these risks. You can never be too careful!
It’s all too easy to procrastinate the not-so-fun parts about starting a business. While you may be itching to get started on more exciting projects, don’t overlook these important tasks. Dedicate a day or two towards working your way through this list so you can get your business set up correctly from day one!
Could you use a hand getting your business off the ground? The Alfam creates brands for businesses of all shapes and sizes, integrating a variety of design and development solutions to boost customer engagement. Contact us today so we can discuss your needs! Call 212-634-4058.