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20 Point Startup Checklist

Starting a Business?

This 20 Point Checklist will give you a road map on some of the most important things you should do when you get started.

Great, you have an idea that is ready to be introduced to the world. Maybe it’s a new business venture, or a change in your career path, either way there are a few things to keep in mind when launching your Startup or New Career Path.

  1. How Viable is your Idea? – Is this idea of yours something that can provide the type of lifestyle that you are currently living or aspire to live? Is it something that will take 6 months or a year to see a return on your investment and time? Will people or do people need what you are providing? These are some of the questions you will need to answer before you launch. Research is key.
  2. Do you have a Business Plan? – A failure to plan is planning to fail. Your business should have a solid plan that details how your business will function and grow. Your Business plan shouldn’t be carved in stone. Allow your plan to evolve as your ideas grow.
  3. Do you have Money? – You will need a bare minimum of 6 months worth of expenses and emergency money set aside. Ideally a years worth. Remember, a new business doesn’t typically make money on day one. You don’t want to enter panic mode when your bills start pilling up and your bank account is dwindling. Is your business taking out a loan or getting seed money? Then make sure you have a financial planner that can help properly manage the money and make sure you know your Burn Rate. Burn rate is how much money you have and how long will it last based on projected spending and expenses.
  4. Friends & Family – We live in a society where the average person has a typical 9-5, Monday – Friday schedule and receives a steady paycheck. This is very convenient since it allows you to schedule your life and really doesn’t interfere with other peoples schedule. When you’re in business, you typically work 80 hours a week, Weekends tend not to be off and money comes when it comes. This can cause a tremendous amount of anxiety and tension with friends and family. So make sure they are on board and supportive. Sit them down and have a serious conversation about your idea.
  5. Choose your Business Name – What’s in a name? Everything! Make sure it’s short, sweet and to the point. You want to make it memorable. Also make sure the name isn’t being used by others. You may have to check your state database or do a Google search.
  6. Buy a Domain Name & Hosting – This is for your website. Most likely your business will need to have an online presence and having a website is often the first thing you should start working on. Your Domain Name should be the same as your business name or close to it. You can purchase a Domain Name with us. Purchase Your Domain Your Domain Name should be less than 15 characters long and easy to understand. Hosting for your website will also be needed. Typically Shared Hosting will suffice and costs around $6 per month. Obviously if you’re creating the next major Social Media Site you will need more than just shared hosting. You can purchase hosting with us as well.
  7. Website Design – It is really easy to create a highly functional website for a fraction of what it used to. With WordPress, the right theme & plugins, you can have your website live in no time. If you need help with this then you can always touch base with us.
  8. Social Media Profiles – Once you have your business name and Domain Name, you will want to create your social media profiles on the relevant social sites for your industry. Make sure your Social Media Handle or Name is the same or close to your business & Domain name.
  9. Marketing – Build it and they will not come! Build it & Market it and they will potentially come. Marketing is extremely important. Develop a solid marketing plan for your business.
  10. Licenses – Some business’ are regulated and a license might be required. Make sure to investigate whether or not you will need to obtain a license.
  11. Legal Structure – Will you be an LLC, S Corp or C Corp? Talk to your CPA and Attorney on what’s the best structure for your business.
  12. Bank Account & Accounting System – Setup your bank account with a business friendly bank and decide what type of accounting software you will need.
  13. Insurance – You will most likely need some form of insurance so make sure to start getting some quotes for your type of business.
  14. Business Cards – You will need a professional looking business card that only provides the most relevant forms of contact. Keep it simple.
  15. Build Your Network – Join your chamber of commerce, be where your prospective clients will be, let the world know who you are and what type of service or product you have to offer.
  16. Your Team – You will often need a team to work with you. Notice I didn’t say employees. Employees check in and check out and often don’t feel invested in your business. Maybe you don’t need to hire people for your business but you will still potentially need a lawyer, insurance agent, lender, Web Designer etc. You will want to identify these people early on so you can get an understanding of how to work with each of your team members.
  17. Advisers – As an extension of your team, you should have a group of people that can help advise you on certain aspects of your business and direction. Brains on Top is important but Brains on Tap can often be more important!
  18. Always be Evolving – Learn how you can improve yourself, your business and your service or product. Never stand still because there is a world of competition out there looking to pass you by.
  19. Launch Party – Most Startups will need to generate buzz and momentum. The best way to do this is to throw a party when you launch your business. This will give you a chance to get the word out fast. Remember, when you pitch your product or service, then you are actively selling. People don’t enjoy being sold too. But if someone recommends your service or product, then the selling process will be much less sales like.
  20. Brand Ambassadors – As a follow up to the last point, you should identify key people who can help to promote your business. These should be people who are respected and use your product or service.

The Takeaway

Every business is different and this list may or may not be everything you need to do when you get started but it is the basics of the general business startup. Look over this list several times and make sure that if it applies to you, then give it the attention it requires.

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