If you have just landed on this post to fetch a practical checklist for launching a startup, then you might be already excited with one of the business ideas in your mind, that may or may not be worthy.
So, before you proceed further, I would like to recommend you to get over the initial excitement and be remodeled to make a note of the critical points I have gathered for you. It would help you to put the foundation of a successful business beyond any doubt. You can even give thisarticle a quick read that´s more about marketing strategies for businesses if you plan to expand internationally.
Here is the brief and actionable checklist for launching your startup.
1. Find a good business idea
There is no denying to the fact that on average thousands of startups are launched per week. Therefore, it is essential that you figure out a good business idea that best compliments your talents & skills. Following key points would help you to come up with one of the best business ideas.
- Recognize your weaknesses and strengths
- Conduct a SWOT analysis or a Strategic Planning Technique on yourself
- Do the market research and look for what people demand the most.
- Choose a product or service that could fill the gap between demand and supply
If you have one of such brilliant business ideas in your mind, it is a high time that you find out that it is viable enough to attract your potential customers.
Thus, arm yourself with substantial information about the business idea, target market, size of the target market, and possible investors.
Moreover, it would be best if you directly hit the field or target market and collect reviews about your idea and then proceed further.
2. Create an efficient business plan
After choosing a well-suited business idea, you need to create a business plan. It is like creating a blueprint before you embark on your journey to establish your own business empire.
You should keep the financial projections, internal & external resources, and the exit strategy as a part of your business plan. Seeking professional help would be much better for clear insight.
3. Make your family and friends part of your business plan
It seems to be a very general point, but it is very crucial. You cannot perform any task properly without your mental peace.
In order to maintain a healthy balance between your personal & professional life, it is vital that you share your plans with your closed ones.
In fact, you should stay away from non-constructive criticism. Instead, start reading good books and accompanying the people who would not only motivate you but also helps you to build a support network.
4. Understand Fiscal Management
As per a study on startups, around 70% of the entrepreneurs quit their businesses in the initial years. And the primary reason for such failure is poor financial management.
Therefore, knowing the fact that launching a startup takes considerable time to get off the ground, you should start categorizing all of your living expenses ( savings, total income, and business/ personal expenditures).
Further, start looking for potential investors by getting engaged with the people who have an immense interest in a similar niche.
5. Choose an alluring business name
In the heyday of the internet, almost everyone is depending upon the online platforms to accomplish everyday tasks. So, the question arises, how to hammer your business in the head of your targeted audience?
Well, the first answer to this question would be your ” Businesses Brand Name”. Choose a business name that adequately describes the type of services you offer.
A unique and easy corporate name would help you to stay in your customer’s mind. However, before you finalize a name, you need to scrutinize the state & federal level official websites & check for the name availability.
6. Register your business domain name
For the branding of your business and to enhance the chances of striking into your potential customer’s mind, you need to play smart. So, find an analogous/ matching domain to your business name and register it as early as you can.
Registering a domain name is a crucial step since it not only increases the credibility of your business but also protects copyrights and trademarks. Moreover, it improves your search engine positioning and increases brand awareness.
In short, domain names are Web addresses that tell customers where to find your online business. As an additional tip, do not forget to register an alternate domain name extension since it is it would be beneficial in the long run, especially if your business expands quickly.
7. Choose a legal business structure
Incorporating your business is one of the most imperative steps if you are going to launch your setup.
It increases your business credibility and gives you an amazing opportunity to protect your personal assets( for business debts) in case someone tries to sue your business for some reasons.
The basic types of business legal structures available are sole proprietorship, corporation, partnership, and Limited Liability Company (LLC- most preferred). You should hire a professional to get the incorporation job done right.
8. Apply for an Employer Identification Number
By obtaining an EIN, you can separate your personal accounts from your business accounts. As it is your primary requirement if you want to open your business account or incorporate your business.
Moreover, you would not require to provide your social security number to anyone since it may cause identity theft easily. The best part of applying for an EIN is that it is free of any charges and are available online.
9. Apply for business licenses
Another crucial point of your checklist is applying for the required licenses. Based on the type and structure of your business, your location, there are several permits that are required by any startup.
You should hire an attorney or a professional who can guide you with all the state-specific licenses. Small Business Administration, which is the US government agency can help you with all the business permit tools and provides other necessary support to entrepreneurs.
10. Create a business website
In the modern age, branding is no longer an easy task. By the time you are done with the licensing, you should quickly hop over to the website creation of your business.
It is critical for increasing the credibility of your business as well as a wonderful way to reach the hearts of your customers.
The best part about having a business website is that you can start its testing and put it on-board even if your final product is not ready. At least, in the initial stages, you can spread your companies information.
11. Showcase your business on all social media profiles
As you know, most of the people have now become active on almost every social media platforms. It is the best way to take your business at another level by creating a vast network through these platforms.
Create your businesses social media accounts on popular channels like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and many more. These platforms are free of any charge. It also gives you an opportunity to spread your business with word-of-mouth marketing.
All you need is to impress people by being constantly active on the social media platform and providing them with cutting edge solutions. Additionally, providing a prompt response to their queries would be like a crowning achievement for your new startup.
12. Start generating revenue
If you are launching your own startup for the first time, you can connect to this point very easily. At the early stages of your business launch, you usually have very less money in your account.
And if you have no money left to pay your rent & employees, then there would possibly be an abrupt shut down of your startup.
So, understanding cash flow management is a very crucial task. Resist the temptations and start generating revenue for your business. And saving money is not only bliss but also great for building your morale. You may also connect with an attorney to create customer contract forms if required.
13. Renting an office space
Have you got a brick-and-mortar business? If so, you need to arrange the things at an initial stage.
Let us assume if you are planning to run a retail business, then you need to pay close attention to accessibility, foot traffic, and several other factors that may put a positive or negative impact over the customers that will walk in your store.
And if you are not going to deal in such business, you should hold off renting an office. Stretch the time as long as you can, so that you could do some savings and avoid unworthy lease payments.
14. Get the relevant insurance
Based on your business structure and type, you would require to have business insurance. There are several policies to adequately cover you and your business like –
- Workers’ Compensation
- Liability and Property
- Directors and Officers
- Errors and Omissions
Start contacting different insurance agencies and get a quote in order to come up with the pertinent policies.
15. Understand your tax responsibilities
If you are launching your startup, understanding all the tax laws are highly important. Every entrepreneur feels it like a burden since it impacts your take-home pay and overall business. To hit the ground running, you should seek the help of a professional and file the returns on time.
Another key factor to manage the tax burden is to find out the best place (in a particular jurisdiction) to set up your startup.
You need to painstakingly pay attention to the following taxes:
- Capital gains tax
- Corporate income tax
- Tax on foreign-source income
- Dividend tax
- Tax treaties with other countries
If you fail to pay any of the taxes, you would have to pay hefty fines since it is a legal obligation. Hiring an accountant could be a smart move to get consistent advice on your tax returns.
Launching a startup is more than a dream for many young and new entrepreneurs. It requires a blend of effort, passion, time, money, and resources. And, above all, it requires extensive knowledge about all the criticalities that may be involved in launching a startup.
Therefore, the checklist shared in this post contains almost all the necessary steps that are needed to be prioritized.
Wish you luck with your launch!