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Small Business Checklist Summary

We have a list of 10 checklist items that every Small Business needs to think about.  While we did create a more detailed version of each, we are going to put them all in this post for easy access and readability.  This is for anyone looking to start a business in the new year or for anyone that has just started a business and wants more information on how to keep it going.  Below is our Small Business Checklist.  Click each item for the full article.

Small Business Checklist Item #1 – Business Name

Choose a business name that suits what you want to do and plan to do in the future.  Many entrepreneurs try to pick a name that they like, but sometimes it does not encompass what your company is going to do.  A word of advice that many people do not think about is that you should not have a company name that has your name in it.  The main reason for this is because if you ever have a chance to sell the business, there is less likelyhood that someone will purchase your business because of the name.  Business Investors and purchasers want a name that can keep people interested and is memorable.  Using your name is an easy way to create a company name, but not the most effective in the long run.

Small Business Checklist Item #2 – Research

We need to expand a little further on the Business name from yesterday. Please make sure that after you pick a business name, make sure you have the right to use it in your state. You can usually check this out with your Secretary of State website. Once you verify that you can get it, go to the register of deeds and fill out a DBA form to secure the name and then do it with the Secretary of State (depending on your business form, which we will discuss a little later)

Small Business Checklist Item #3 – Business Structure

Ok, so you have done your research and realize that your business idea is a viable one.  Now you need to look into how you want to structure your business.  There are 4 basic structures to choose from with variations within each structure.  The main thing that you need to think about are covered with the following points.

Small Business Checklist Item #4 – Business Plan

This is a step that many small businesses forget to do.  While a business plan is not really required to run your business, it is a very helpful tool.  If you do not know what a business plan is, it is simply a written format of how you want to run the business and what the business stands for, as well as the mission of the company.  These can take time to create, but they will help you in the future to keep your company on track with your original goals.

Small Business Checklist Item #5 – Proper Forms and IDs

We know that it can be exciting to start up a new company and get selling or have your ideas become reality.  The one thing that we ask is that you make sure that you have all the proper forms and certificates in order to sell properly.  Each state require a certain set of forms in order to be a legal business, most require business license and sales tax ID’s.

Small Business Checklist Item #6 – Take Inventory or Dropship

We are asked about this more times than we can count.  Please note that this tip is really only dealing with companies that sell online, not really traditional retailers with brick and mortar stores.  This is an important discussion because it lays the foundation to how success you can be either online.  We will go through some quick pros and cons of each, so you can make a little more informed decision.

Small Business Checklist Item #7 – Insurance

To insure or Not to Insure?  This is a good question, but the answer is simple……Get insurance!  There are many of you out there that have not taken the time to look into good business insurance for whatever company you run.  This is a very important part of business to protect your investment.  We will not go into detail about all the insurance types out there for businesses, but we will show you some points to think about.

Small Business Checklist Item #8 – Calculate Profit Margins

This is a simple task to accomplish, but we have spoken to many people that have started a business that never really looked into creating prices for their products or services that gave them a positive net margin.  We are sure that many of you have probably done this as your started your business, so this tip is really for those thinking about starting one or just starting one.  Please take the time to properly calculate your profit margins on your products or services.

Small Business Checklist Item #9 – Employees

If your company is at the stage where it needs to hire employees, you better take this stage very seriously.  You are going to be trusting people with the company that you build from the ground up, so you need to make sure that you take the proper steps in hiring the right individuals.

Small Business Checklist Item #10 – Social Media

As the internet ages and online marketing gets harder, companies need to now think about using social media as a marketing medium.  If your company is not using social media as a way to attract new customers, then you really need to think about starting.  Social Media outlets include blogs, twitter, facebook, you tube, and more.  These are great venues to build your brand online.

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