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May
22

A Startup Checklist for Entrepreneurs

There is a new wave of entrepreneurship. Starting a business isn’t easy. There are several things that you need to do. Here is a quick that we put together after starting several organizations. These apply whether you are a Hedge Fund or a Landscaping Service.

Startup Checklist
  • Select Your Entity
    • Most small businesses will be an LLC or an S Corp. You will never want to be a sole proprietor as your personal assets will be at risk. If you get advice to form a C Corp or another type of entity, you should reconsider.
  • Name Your Business
    • Do an internet search to see if it’s taken in your industry. Don’t put your own name or initials on it if you may be selling it in the future!
  • Employer Identification Number (EIN)
    • Once you determine your structure go to irs.gov and secure this. Don’t pay for it! The IRS is happy to give out tax ID numbers for free.
  • Articles of Incorporation
    • Either your lawyer or the State will provide these.
    • If you form an LLC yourself don’t forget that there may be a publishing requirement that announces your formation in a local paper.
  • Bank Account
    • You’ll need your Articles and EIN for this. Select a local or regional bank if you can. Personally knowing your banker will help in the future. The person at the call center for the large bank doesn’t really care about you.
    • Remember not to co-mingle with your personal funds going forward: Money comes out of your business account in 3 ways
      • Repayment of loan to you
      • Expense reimbursement
      • Taxable pay (wages, guarantee payment, or distribution depending on the entity you selected)
  • Accounting
    • Select some basic form of accounting software.
    • Cloud based options such as Quickbooks or Sage are great. Make sure this will allow credit card feeds if you will be taking credit cards.
  • Credit Card Processing
    • If you are going to do this make sure that you use a reputable firm. A bad choice here can put you out of business. Square and Cayan are two good vendors. Make sure you completely understand the terms and pricing!
  • Property Casualty Insurance
    • Secure a Business Owners Policy (BOP) from your agent. You may need additional product liability or professional liability coverage depending on your business. Remember if you get in a car accident while “doing business” your personal auto may not cover!
  • Website Universal Record Locator (URL)
    • Secure your internet URL through GoDaddy or Host Gator, or another reliable vendor. Also get an email package. Your own URL is much more professional than gmail or yahoo.
  • Marketing
  • IT and Software
    • Your own business sector may dictate what type of software you need such as Point of Sale (POS) software.
    • Many vendors now offer a subscription service rather than a purchase, this can be more cost effective. Select reliable hardware.
    • Don’t forget security. Try and avoid setting up your own IT environment as long as you can by using secure cloud vendors.
  • Social Media
    • Put up a basic webpage if you can, if not, use Facebook as a start.
  • Employees
    • If you intend to have employees, select a basic payroll service (ADP, Patriot Software etc) do not run payroll yourself.
      • Get Workers Compensation Insurance before the first person starts – fines are huge if you don’t!
      • Some states (NY) also have mandatory disability coverage. Make sure you find out what’s required.
      • Typically, you don’t need Workers Compensation Insurance on yourself or family members.

While this is a basic list, there are other items that may need to be considered. Contact us if you are starting a business!