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Small Steps Today. Big Success Tomorrow.

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Small Steps Today. Big Success Tomorrow.

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Your checklist to starting your own small business

You’ve got a great idea. Now, make a plan to turn it into a great business. Starting a business involves planning, making key financial decisions, and completing a series of legal activities.

planning
Check Conduct market research

Market research will tell you if there’s an opportunity to turn your idea into a successful business. It’s a way to gather information about potential customers and businesses already operating in your area. Use that information to find a competitive advantage for your business.

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Check Write your business plan

Your business plan is the foundation of your business. It’s a roadmap for how to structure, run and grow your new business. You’ll use it to convince people that working with you – or investing in your company – is a smart choice.

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Check Fund your business

Your business plan will help you figure out how much money you’ll need to start your business. If you don’t have that amount on hand, you’ll need to either raise or borrow the capital. Fortunately, there are more ways than ever to find the capital you need.

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Check Pick your business location

Your business location is one of the most important decisions you’ll make. Whether you’re setting up a brick-and-mortar business or launching an online store, the choices you make could affect your taxes, legal requirements and revenue.

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Check Choose a business structure

The legal structure you choose for your business will impact your business registration requirements, how much you pay in taxes, and your personal liability.

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Check Choose a business name

It’s not easy to pick the perfect name. You’ll want one that reflects your branch and captures your spirit. You’ll also want to make sure your business name isn’t already being used by someone else.

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Check Register your business

Once you’ve picked the perfect business name, it’s time to make it legal and protect your branch. If you’re doing business under a name different than your own, you’ll need to register with the federal government, and maybe your state government, too.

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Check Get federal and state tax IDs

You’ll use your employer identification number (EIN) for important steps to start and grow your business, like opening a bank account and payment taxes. It’s like a social security number for your business. Some – but not all – states require you to get a tax ID as well.

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Check Apply for licenses and permits

Keep your business running smoothly by staying legally compliant. The licenses and permits you need for your business will vary by industry, state, location and other factors.

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Check Open a business bank account

A small business checking account can help you handle legal, tax and day-to-day issues. The good news is it’s easy to set one up if you have the right registrations and paperwork ready.

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Small Business Guide