1. Write a business plan. Form goals and objectives for your new company. Start with a detailed outline of what you plan to accomplish. This is the first of many steps to starting a business.

2. Set up a legal business structure. Setting your company up as a corporation or LLC are popular entity structures for many small businesses. This protects owners’ personal assets from business debts and liabilities. Additionally, incorporating can provide credibility and tax benefits. Let incorporate.com help you cross this item off your business startup checklist.

3. Obtain start-up capital. Whether you use your own savings or obtain loans, starting a business requires money. The loan process can take months to check off your business startup checklist, so start early. Lenders often request a completed business plan prior to approval of funding.

4. Obtain a Federal Employer Identification Number. Otherwise known as an EIN, Incorporated businesses that hire employees must have one of these. They are issued by the IRS but incorporate.com includes this service in some of our formation package. You can also order an EIN separately.

5. Satisfy business licensing requirements. Most state, county, and local governments require businesses to obtain licensing before they begin to operate. incorporate.com provides a Business License Compliance Package to identify typical requirements for your business activities.

6. Establish a Web presence. A website is an essential item to complete on your small business startup checklist in today’s business world of internet searches and social media. Register a URL that is memorable and relevant to your company and/or industry. Not having an effective website eliminates opportunities for new customers and potential profit.

7.  Open a bank account and merchant account. To protect their corporate or LLC veil, businesses must maintain separate business and personal accounts and records. Establish a separate business bank account so that your personal assets are not co-mingled with business funds. Banks may also require an Employer Identification Number (EIN) in order to open a business checking account.

8. Identify where to get help. Know where and when to seek advice from other sources, such as attorneys and accountants, to assist you with specific questions about your business. Establish a board of advisors or mentors to help you along the way. This is one most entrepreneurs tend to leave off their new business checklist.

9. Follow government rules. Operating a business means satisfying ongoing government and legal requirements to maintain the company’s good standing. Stay aware of the steps needed to maintain your company’s status.
10. Congratulation  Now You Business Owner