Launching your own self-employment or small business is a big and exciting step! It can also be a bit stressful getting all your ducks in a row before your Grand Opening. While there are many things specific to your business that need to get done before your launch, here are 5 things that every new business owner needs on their checklist:
- Trade Name Registration | Naming your business is an important step from a branding point of view. It should be simple and express your company’s mission in some way. Once you have that name your next step is to register it with your state. This process establishes your company as a legal entity and serves to differentiate you and your business, specifically during tax season.
- Insurance | Running a business is inherently risky. There are any number of things that could happen – theft, injuries, natural disasters. Having insurance protects you from the hefty costs of unexpected incidents. These incidents become especially risky when they involve customers. If a customer is injured or their property damaged in some way, your business could be held liable. Without insurance, the cost of these incidents could bankrupt your business and force you to shut down.
- Budget & Forecast | Cash is king in business and if you want to succeed, you need to be smart about how you spend it. Because you haven’t made any sales yet and therefore no profit, most new businesses start with negative cash flow. Your forecast and budget will help you determine 1) how much you need to sell to breakeven, 2) what your costs will be, and 3) how much money you will have left over to re-invest in growing your business. This information will allow you to set goals and create a plan.
- Marketing Materials | No matter what your business sells, you will need to have some marketing materials already developed and ready to go when you launch. This can include signage, advertisements, brochures, websites, and more. One solid piece of marketing we recommend for every business owner, especially the self-employed, is a business card. A key design tip is to keep your business card simple and balanced. Over-cluttered cards are more likely to end-up in the bottom of a purse than in someone’s hands.
- Business Bank Account | Mixing business and pleasure is a major no-no when starting your own company, which is why one of the first things you need to do is establish a business bank account. This separates your personal and business funds, providing clarity into your business’s performance and further defines your company as a separate legal entity.
To ensure you have these and all other essentials ready before you launch your new self-employment venture use this Start-Up Checklist, or create your own personalized variation, to ensure that you start your business off on the right foot to success.