What You Need To Start A Successful Business

Thinking about starting a business?
You’re not alone. Every year, thousands of Canadains & Americans catch the entrepreneurial spirit, launching small businesses to sell their products or services. Some businesses thrive; many fail. The more you know about starting a business, the more power you have to form an organization that develops into a lasting source of income and satisfaction. For help with the beginning stages of operating a business, the following checklist is a great place to start.

Evaluate and Develop Your Business Idea

1. Determine if the type of business suits you.
2. Use a break-even analysis to determine if your idea can make money.
3. Write a business plan, including a profit/loss forecast and a cash flow analysis.
4. Find sources of start-up financing.
5. Set up a basic marketing plan.

Decide on a Legal Structure for Your Business

6. Identify the number of owners of your business.
7. Decide how much protection from personal liability you’ll need, which depends on your business’s risks.
8. Decide how you’d like the business to be taxed.
9. Consider whether your business would benefit from being able to sell stock.
10. Research the various types of ownership structures.
11. Get more in-depth information from a self-help resource before you settle on a structure. If you are unsure, talk to a lawyer.

Choose a Name for Your Business

12. Think of several business names that might suit your company and its products or services.
13. If you will do business online, check if your proposed business names are available as domain names.
14. Check with your county clerk’s office to see whether your proposed names are on the list of fictitious or assumed business names in your county.
15. For corporations and LLCs: check the availability of your proposed names with the Secretary of State or other corporate filing office.
16. Do a federal or state  trademark search of the proposed names still on your list. If a proposed name is being used as a trademark, eliminate it if your use of the name would confuse customers or if the name is already famous.
17. Choose between the proposed names that are still on your list.

Register Your Business Name

18. Register your business name with your county clerk as a fictitious or assumed business name, if necessary.
19. Register your business name as a federal or state trademark if you’ll do business regionally or nationally and will use your business name to identify a product or service.
20. Register your business name as a domain name if you’ll use the name as a Web address too.

Prepare Organizational Paperwork

21. Partnership
22. LLC
23. C Corporation
24. S Corporation

 

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