You have decided to start a business – congratulations! Before you
apply for that SBA loan, or tap into your 401(k) for funding, you want
to break down the startup process into manageable steps, so you can begin
your entrepreneurial journey with ease and confidence. If your to-do-list
is daunting, do not let it discourage you. Being your own boss can be
very rewarding, it is just a matter of organization and systematic execution.
As business law attorneys, we help
startups launch their new ventures every day. If you are feeling overwhelmed by
the number of tasks that lay ahead, here is a startup checklist that will
help you prioritize, so you can tackle the primary issues first and address
the secondary tasks at a future date.
Get your family’s support.
When going into business for yourself, it is important to have your family’s
support. If you are single, this is not an issue, but if you are married,
it will be a lot easier to build a business if you have your spouse’s
support. If your startup requires you to move and you have a spouse and
older children, it will be a lot easier if their goals align with yours.
Create a detailed business plan.
A solid business plan is a blueprint for your business. If you are planning
on getting a loan, a business plan will be required of you. Even though
your business plan will be a road map for at least the next two years,
you will need to revisit it regularly to make adjustments and amendments
Figure out the funding.
Are you creating a lean startup, or will you need tens of thousands, if
not hundreds of thousands to get your business off the ground? Will you
be looking for investors? In any case, you have to figure out the funding.
Often, new business owners fund their businesses through investors, SBA
loans, and Rollovers for Business Startups, otherwise known as ROBS. If
you need to find financing, it is best to start looking sooner than later.
Decide on a business name.
You will need to do research once you decide on a business name. You want
to make sure that someone else is not already using it; you can find out
by searching the name on Google and by using a corporate search name tool
to ensure the name you came up with is not already being used by someone
else. Be sure to check the proposed business name on the state and federal level.
Select a legal structure.
How you structure your business is critical; certain structures, such as
the LLC, shield your personal assets, while others do not. We recommend
discussing the different legal structures with a business law attorney.
Apply for the required business licenses.
Depending on your industry, you may need more than one business license.
You will discover that most business licenses are handled locally and
on the state level.
Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN).
You will need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) so you can avoid
having to give out your Social Security number, so you can be separated
from the business, and so you can open a business bank account.
Create a website.
These days, virtually all businesses need a website so they can establish
an online presence, be found on Google, and so they can be credible. We
suggest creating a website sooner than later, even if you have not launched
the business yet.
We are only scratching the surface in regards to what needs to be done
to launch a startup. If you are taking the leap into entrepreneurship,
you will benefit by speaking with a Chicago
business law attorney from our firm.
Contact us today to schedule a free 30-minute consultation with an experienced member of
our legal team.