Set Yourself Up for Success: Checklist for New Small Business Owners
Some of the first things that are done when someone wants to start a new business are to decide on what product(s) to sell or service(s) to provide and settle on a business name and logo. While these tasks are some of the most important parts of starting up a business, they’re only the beginning phases. Of course, you’re going to have to conduct market research and possibly hire employees, but there are many other “behind the scenes” tasks that need to be done to set you up for success. Here are five items to add to your checklist when starting a small business.
#1: Obtain a Business License
Most new small business owners aren’t aware that they need to obtain a business license before they can legally open their doors. Depending on where you live the rules may differ slightly, and certain types of businesses require a specific type of license regardless of their location. Examples of these types of businesses include those selling food/drinks or firearms.
You’ll also need to obtain an employer identification number (EIN) unless you’re incorporating your business as a sole proprietorship. Other types of business structures need an EIN to comply with certain state and federal regulations.
#2: Open a Business Bank Account
Having an EIN will also allow you to open a business bank account, which is recommended for all business owners. It’s not illegal to use your personal bank account and debit card for your business, but it is seen as a poor business practice. As a small business owner, you’re a professional— which means that you should aim to keep business finances and personal finances separate.
Opening a business bank account makes keeping up with your finances much easier, and it’s important to stay organized as a business owner. Staying organized when it comes to your finances is especially important during tax time. So set yourself up for financial success and open a bank account just for your business.
#3: Choose Your Business Insurance Plans
Business insurance exists for the same reason that health, car, home, and life insurance exist: to protect from great financial losses. When it comes to business insurance, the majority of businesses will acquire general liability insurance (GLI), and maybe one or two other types of insurance— depending on the type of business you have. Examples of business insurance include:
- Commercial auto insurance
- Commercial property insurance
- Product liability insurance
- Professional liability insurance
You’ll also need to obtain workers’ compensation insurance if you plan to hire employees. This covers financial costs related to work accidents that result in hospital stays, disability, rehabilitation, lost wages, and even death.
#4: Establish Your Online Presence
Advertising your business is going to be an ongoing, never-ending process, so you’ll want your business to be able to advertise itself at times. Having a strong online presence allows you to utilize digital marketing strategies that allow you to do passive marketing. For example, SEO (search engine optimization) uses keywords on your website to get it to rank higher on search engines. This means that when potential customers are searching for something related to your business on Google, your website is more likely to come up, increasing the chances of someone either purchasing from your website, booking an appointment, or coming to see you in person.
The second half of establishing an online presence means that you should be active on social media— not from your personal page(s), but you should create business pages for your business.
#5: Look for a Business Solutions Provider
One resource that all new small business owners should look into getting is a business solutions provider. Some examples of solutions that can benefit your business include ERP (enterprise resource planning), financial management, CRM (customer relationship management), and the automation of various business tasks.
There are several brands of business software that offer these solutions, such as NetSuite. Contact a NetSuite solution provider to get the services you need to make running your small business much easier. Having a software system to handle all of the tedious business tasks for you gives you more time to focus on other business matters.
Running a business isn’t always easy, and it’s always a risk. Not all small businesses become successful, so you’ll want to make sure that you do everything you can to protect your business from a financial loss and everything you can to make sure that your business is running smoothly. When you don’t have to worry about these things, you’ll be able to focus on growing your business.