If you don't have unlimited funds and need to get creative, if you hate paperwork or you have challenges staying organized you've come to the right place!
My goal is to provide you with a true step-by-step checklist on setting up a small business because every list I found on Google is only a partial list. Keep in mind that this is a work in progress and from my own personal experience - any input would be great!
I started my own insurance business click here and founded a non-profit for women click here - I'm not perfect but I really enjoyed it! I know, this sounds crazy but I did it because I love research, building things, shuffling paper and being organized.
Create A Business Plan
This seems obvious but believe it or not, people have actually started a business without a plan???
Choose A Catchy Business Name
What's in a name? Hmmmm, everything! click here
Figure out legal structure
Do you have assets that need protection? Talk to an attorney or accountant on how to structure your business (corporation, LLC, sole proprietorship)
After Selecting Your Name
See if the name is available and reserve it!
To locate your states paperwork just google 'apply for a business name <insert state>'
State of California (this is where I'm from so it is a familiar site)
Check to see if it is available in your state: click here
Reserve your name: click here
Don't have time or the patience? You can use Legalzoom for at a cost: click here
As a sole proprietor you are not required to apply for a tax ID# (it's free and you get it the same day!) but I did because I did not want to give out my social security number to strangers! click here
Consider opening your bank account at a credit union because it is free and the major banks require a minimulom
Want to add a caption to this image? Click the Settings icon.
Yeah, I know, no one and I mean no one enjoys talking about insurance or getting a quote! Unfortunately insurance is a necessary evil. With that said, it is important to educate yourself the best you can to communicate your business and needs effectively to ensure you are properly insured.
Work with a commercial broker
Workers' Compensation - you only need if you have a w-2 employee PT or FT
Business Owners Policy
Commercial auto (you can also insure your personal auto)
Google Business aka G-Suite
Use google business to get your professional email address, file storage, website and more!
Professional email address using your web address click here
Below are some options that are free! If you are holding private client information be sure to confirm HIPAA compliance.
I got my web addresses from Godaddy but you can also get one from google business or the place you decide to build your website
Create your own website
Creating a website is easy and you don't need any experience! If you need a completely free site try Weebly it is very, very basic in designs and should get you started until you can afford to hire a web designer. Wix is great for beginners as well and offers great designs!
Something you can't live without if you want to grow your business or retain your clients - send you newsletter at least quarterly, check out mailchimp
Building A Database Of Clients + Prospects
You may need one or more business licenses for your startup, depending on your industry and where you are located. Most licenses are at the state or local level. Click here
Okay, have you ever rolled your eye back in your head after asking somebody what they do for a living and they go into blow by blow detail?
As a business owner, it is imperative that you are able to deliver what you do in a short and succinct manner and leave them wanting for more! click here for samples
Order business cards
You can go to Vista Print or Fiverr don't go cheap on your card as it says a lot about you!
If your money is tight you can create your own logo with
If you have a little money to spend go to fiverr and have access to several different professionals that you can see their ratings from people who have hired them!
Set Up Referral Partnership
Some great information from hubspot to help you set up a referral partnership: click here
I use quickbooks self-employed at $10 a month click here
There are so many options depending on what you want to accomplish and some are free!
Zoho is one of the most popular - you can customize it and use it to run your business like Google's Gsuite
Hubspot is great and they allow a lot of options under their free plan
Airtable is another great tool I use it for everything!
Policy and Procedure Manual
Check out process street, you can get started for free!
Airtable is another great tool
Walkme is another option but I have not used it
If you want to recruit and retain the best employees you have to offer benefits! Before you say, "I can't afford to offer benefits!" Consider this: Benefits come in many different forms. There is the standard offer of a group benefits plan plus dental and vision and then there is offering accident, cancer, hospital indemnity, identify theft and more by having your employees pay for it. The best part about it is employees don't mind paying for it because they can't get it at the price you would offer as a group, visit: offer benefits
I LOVE managing projects and there are many FREE tools out there that will help you get the job done but I decided to use the tools below:
A Place For Passwords
I LOVE Dashlane, its free! click here
Use the paid version to sink all of your devices and have access to a VPN
If you take the big step and hire employees you will need to have a basic understanding of HR and compliance to avoid being sued:
Make your own GIF's
See the dog gif above? I created that...impressive huh? It was soooo easy! Visit:
Employee Phone Contact Sheet
Make sure you have a tagline! Make sure your message, business cards, letter head, email, social media pages all have the same logo and message!
Check out Upworks
Leasing Office Space
Using a PEO
Social media: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc