Archive for February 2013


February 7, 2013

So, you have decided to start a new business.  The following is a general checklist of steps to take to set-up your business.  Depending on the particular type of business, additional steps may be required.

1.    Prepare a Written Business Plan.  Define the type of product and/or service you plan to provide.  Set forth the goals of the business and identify the target market and the competitors.  Include a marketing plan and explain your business financing (e.g. small business loan, venture capital).
2.    Select Your Business Entity.  There are four basic choices when selecting your legal
structure: (1) Sole Proprietorship; (2) Partnership; (3) Limited Liability Company (“LLC”); or (4) Corporation.  You should consult with your attorney and accountant in selecting your business entity. File the necessary documents to form your business.

3.    Obtain Your Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN).  If you set-up as a
corporation, an LLC, a partnership, or a sole proprietorship with employees, you will need to apply for and obtain an FEIN, which is a tax identification number.  An FEIN is necessary to open a bank account and to process payroll.

4.    Sales Tax Permit.  If your company sells products within the state where it conducts business, it may be required to obtain an authorization to collect (and pay) sales tax.
Bank Pic
5.    Open a Business Bank Account.  It is very important to set-up a business bank account and to keep the finances of the business separate and apart from your personal bank account(s).  When selecting a bank, you may want to inquire as to what credit may be available for your business such as through a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan.

6.    Protect Intellectual Property.   Determine whether your business name, processes, services or products need to be protected with trademarks, patents or copyrights.  An attorney should be consulted early on to insure that any intellectual property rights are properly protected.

7.    Obtain Necessary Business Licenses and Permits.  Some businesses require particular
licences and/or permits before beginning operations.

8.    Obtain Business Insurance.  Similar to obtaining personal insurance, you should obtain
insurance required for your business, which typically includes at least liability, workers’ compensation, and disability insurances.

9.    Become aware of and Comply with Government Requirements.   Your business may have a number of government imposed requirements, especially if you hire employees.

10.    Determine Your Business Location.  Decide whether you will be operating a home-based
business or whether you will need to lease office or retail space.  Consult with your attorney if entering into a lease agreement.

11.    Set-up Your Business Accounting.  Decide whether your accountant will handle the
accounting and record-keeping for your business or whether you will be handling the accounting yourself with a small business accounting software (such as Quickbooks).

12.    Create Necessary Contracts and Billing Statement.  Have your attorney draft your
business contracts, employment agreements, consulting agreements, and shareholder or partnership agreements.  Have your attorney review the “Terms and Conditions” to be included on your billing statements, sales receipts and invoices.

13.    Create Your Business Materials and Market Your Business.  Order business cards,
stationary and promotional materials, and set-up a company website to develop an identity and to market your business accordingly.

If you have any questions regarding the issues listed above, or need assistance with any legal issues relating to your new business, please give us a call as soon as you realize you may have a problem.  As Benjamin Franklin once said, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”