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Checklist to Start a Small Business

Updated: May 21, 2021

Use this checklist to ensure you have the key elements to kick off your business the right way.

Whether you are a business consultant, freelancer or life coach, you will need to choose a Business Structure (Some common ones to consider)

The legal structure you choose for your business will impact your business registration requirements, how much you pay in taxes, and your personal liability.

  • Sole Proprietor 

  • Partnership

  • Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) - Most popular

  • C Corporation

  • S Corporation

Your structure and your future goals for your new small business start up should help guide you as to which is right for you. 

Find a Tax Accountant

  • Choose a tax accountant who can help advise you on the best choice for your Business Structure and ensure it meets your needs.

Consider Online Accounting Options

You will need to set up a bookkeeping/accounting system to keep track of your finances—income, expenses, capital expenditures. (Consider a Virtual Assistant for bookkeeping for simple accounting)

  • Online versions of FreshBooks, QuickBooks, or Xero are great options for sending invoices and business transactions

  • FreshBooks or Stripe is a great option for accepting credit card and ACH payments

ComeUp with a Great Name for your Business Name

  • First step is to conduct thorough research on the name you want to use.

  • You’ll want one that reflects your brand and captures your spirit. You’ll also want to make sure your business name isn’t already being used by someone else.

  • Check the domain name status of your preferred name to make sure it is available ( is a good option for this) and you can have them host your website as well and have everything under one account.

  • Some coaches, consultants or agencies decide they prefer an overarching corporation name and then run their business under another name which is listed as Doing Business As (DBA) You May want your name to be the main corporation with added business names to segment other offerings. If you’re doing business under a name different than your own, you’ll need to register with the federal government, and maybe your state government, too.

You will need a Federal ID Tax number (Also known as Employer Identification Numbers or EIN)

  • You use this similar to social security number for your business to identify you for taxes and using for 1099s. 

  • You will need it if you plan to hire employees, open a business bank account, and apply for local business licenses and permits.

  • Click here to get started: Apply for an Employer Identification (EIN) Number Online

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Register with Your State

  • Entity name protects you at state level

    • This is how the state identifies your business. In most cases your name needs to be unique and registering it prevents others from using it.

    • Check with your state for rules about how to register your business name.

      • The licenses and permits you need for your business will vary by industry, state, location, and other factors.

Register your DBA (If required)

  • A DBA name allows a sole proprietor, corporation or LLC to name the business something other than the legal name, which in the case of a sole proprietor is the name of the individual.

    • If you use a DBA a Public notification will be required. Check what is needed with local filings.

      • A DBA filing does two things 1. it notifies other businesses that the name is in use, as the DBA name becomes part of the public record and it announce the name you are operating under.

Get a State Tax ID Number

  • This ties into if you need to pay state taxes - seven states don’t require this

  • Visit your state's website to identify whether you need to get a state tax ID number in order to pay state taxes.

Open a Business Bank Account

  • Once you have your business name, business formation documents and your EIN number you are ready to open your business bank account. This ensure you keep your personal and business financial separate.

  • Some banks may require more information or documentations, so give them a call before showing up to save you time and effort.

Explore Business Insurance

  • Depending on your business structure and/or if you have a physical location you will want to have the right type of business insurance. Find an insurance agent you trust and go over what you may need whether you have a brick and mortar or work from home.

  • Types to consider are (but are not limited to):

    • General Liability

    • Professional Liability

    • Home-based Business Insurance

    • Business Owner’s policy

Buy your Domain Name

  • Now that you have decided on your Business Name, DBA if applicable and registered them so you know they are available and yours, it is time to buy your domain name.

  • There are many places to go to get your website domain and your hosting services. Some popular sites include:

Build a great website for your company

  • Creating an identity for your business including building a brand.

  • Make sure it’s easy for site visitors to contact you or buy your product.

  • Produce high-quality original content.

Define your Core Message

To succeed in business, you need to continually be attracting, building, and even educating your target market. You Marketing Messaging Matters.

  • Your potential clients will want to know what you do, so be clear about what you offer for services and products and what problems you solve.

If you need help with your local marketing, book a FREE Business Breakthrough Strategy Session with me. Click here to book your Strategy Session

  • Finally get you the ability to quickly attract your ideal clients.

  • Create a strategy to build memorable brand that is a magnet in your industry.

  • Help you to save time and money on all of your marketing.


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