By John B. Vinturella

Background work

  • assess your strengths and weaknesses
  • establish business and personal goals
  • assess your financial resources
  • identify the financial risks
  • determine the start-up costs
  • decide on your business location
  • do market research
  • identify your customers
  • identify your competitors
  • develop a marketing plan

Business transactions

  • select a lawyer
  • choose a form of organization (proprietorship, partnership, or corporation, for example)
  • create your business (register your name, incorporate the business, etc.)
  • Get a web domain compatible with your chosen company name, or get an appropriate domain name first and let it guide selecting the business name.
  • prepare a business plan
  • select an accountant
  • select a banker
  • set up a business checking account
  • apply for business loans (if applicable)
  • establish a line of credit
  • select an insurance agent, obtain business insurance

First steps

  • review local business codes
  • obtain a lease
  • obtain a business license or permit (if applicable)
  • get a federal employer identification number (if applicable)
  • get a state employer i.d. number (if applicable)
  • get business cards
  • set up at least a basic web site
  • line up suppliers (if applicable)
  • get furniture and equipment
  • join professional organizations, subscribe to trade journals
  • set an opening date