Starting a Business Checklist

Not all of these items will apply to every business but it will give you an idea of the steps you need to take.

  1. Evaluate my capabilities and skills
  2. Select my product or service
  3. Research my market (customers, competitors, industry)
  4. Determine my capital needs and sources
  5. Choose my business partners (lawyer, CPA, marketing consultant, banker)
  6. Determine legal structure (sole proprietor, partnership, corporation or LLC)
  7. Select name and perform name search
  8. Complete assumed name form with County Register of Deeds, if sole proprietor or partnership
  9. Reserve corporate name, if corporation
  10. Develop and submit Articles of Incorporation (corporation) or Certificate of General or Limited Partnership (partnership) with Secretary of State's office.
  11. Apply for federal identification number (sole proprietor if have employees, partnership and corporation. Ask for "Getting Started Package" that includes application for ID Number -SS-4 form)
  12. Apply for NC withholding identification number (if employees) and sales tax number (if retail sales) from NC Department of Revenue
  13. Contact Employment Security Commission (if employees), ask for "Employer-Status Report" to get set up.
  14. Apply for city or state privilege license, whichever is applicable
  15. Apply for Home Use Permit with city (if home office)
  16. Check zoning requirements on space and apply for rezoning, if necessary (city/county).
  17. Determine methods of pricing
  18. Develop sales forecasts
  19. Prepare marketing plan
  20. Determine equipment needs
  21. Determine employee requirements, procedures, salary administration
  22. Develop goals for sales. growth, product/service diversification
  23. Prepare projected financials (budget, cash flow and income statements, balance sheet)
  24. Determine bookkeeping procedures and method of accounting (cash or accrual)
  25. Open a separate business bank account
  26. Determine suppliers/vendors and establish relationships
  27. Determine insurance needs
  28. Develop a business plan
  29. Install a separate business phone line
  30. Develop corporate identity (logo, motto)
  31. Have business cards and letterhead printed
  32. Join professional/ civic clubs