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The First 9 Things to Do During Startup

July 15th 2021

Starting a new business is both an exciting and a nerve-wracking time. Exciting because of all the possibilities ahead of you and nerve-wracking because of all you don’t yet know. 

The good news is that you can learn as you go. Everyone does, in fact. However, the more you know in advance, the faster success will come.

There are probably 100 or more steps involved in starting and running a new business. That number can also vary by industry and company size. However, there are some universal steps that all entrepreneurs should consider taking. They can get you on the fastest path to success and help you avoid trouble down the line, when you’re up-and-running.

Here are the top nine things just about everyone should do during startup:

Prepare a business plan

Whether you need outside financing or not, taking the time to think through and put on paper a roadmap for your business is critical. Your business plan is a document that contains the details of what you’re selling, who your target customer is, what makes your business better than the competition, what you’ll charge, and how you’ll grow the company. It’s where you can think through where you’re headed and track your progress.

Make it official

Set up your business entity. That means choosing between a sole proprietorship, which is also referred to as a DBA because of the “Doing Business As” paperwork filed for that purpose. With a DBA, you are the business. However, if you choose to set up a limited liability company (LLC), subchapter S corporation, or partnership, those require a separate entity to be established—meaning an organization that is separate from you but which employs you. This option is often chosen for liability protection, though you should consult an attorney before making that choice.

Get a business bank account

Setting up a bank account separate from your personal checking or savings accounts is important for several reasons, not the least of which is being able to fill out your taxes more accurately. It also makes it possible to see whether your business is growing or not. Before you can take this step, however, you need to have your business officially formed, with the paperwork to prove it (the bank will ask).

Check whether you need permits

Depending on the type of business you’ve started, your local town or county may require you to fill out more paperwork. You may need a permit or license to operate your business, for example. Call your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to find out what you need to be legit.

Get insurance

Nearly every business needs to have Workers’ Compensation Insurance in place, but you may also want more than that, such as liability insurance (if you’ll have customers or employees on your premises), business interruption insurance (to cover you if your business has to close suddenly), or general coverage for your property and equipment.

Request an employer identification number (EIN).

An employer identification number (EIN) is a tax identification number and is a smart idea whether you intend to ever have employees or not. Once you have an EIN, you can use it in place of your social security number on things like invoices, loan applications, and other official documentation, which will help prevent identity theft.

Claim your domain name.

Before you design a website, stake your claim to your business domain name. Ideally, you’ll find your business name is still available as a URL with a .com suffix. If it’s already taken, try variations, such as by adding the city or state you operate in. GoDaddy is one of the biggest domain name sellers.

Create a website.

No matter what business you’re in, the majority of potential customers today are likely to head online to Google you before heading over to your store or buying from you online. They may want to find out where you’re located, what your hours are, what products or services you sell, or to straight up shop. You need to give them all that in one place—your website.

Start selling.

Sure, you may not have everything all figured out, but one of the first things you should be doing is selling, selling, selling. That’s the only way you’ll make any money in business. Let people know what you do, who your ideal customer is, who can benefit from your products or services—spread the word far and wide! Don’t put off marketing and promoting your business until everything is perfect, because it won’t ever be. 

Start where you are and keep improving as you go.

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