Start Your Own Business: 50 Things You'll Need to Do

(Page 2 of 2 of Start Your Own Business: 50 Things You'll Need to Do )

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Find a Business Location

Step Description Resource
25 Identify the features and fixtures your business will need. Your Business Space & Commercial Lease.
26 Determine how much rent you can afford. Tips for Assessing the Cost of the Commercial Rental.
27 Decide what neighborhood would be best for your business and find out what the average rents are in those neighborhoods. Determine the Space Your Business Needs.
28 Make sure any space you're considering is or can be properly zoned for your business. (If working from home, make sure your business activities won't violate any zoning restrictions on home offices.) Avoid Zoning Trouble
29 Before signing a commercial lease, examine it carefully and negotiate the best deal. Commercial Leases: Negotiate the Best Terms

File for License and Permits

30 Obtain a federal employment identification number by filing IRS Form SS-4 (unless you are a sole proprietorship or single-member limited liability company without employees). Licenses & Permits for Your Business
31 Obtain a seller's permit from your state if you will sell retail goods. State Start-Up Requirements for Small Businesses
32 Obtain state licenses, such as specialized vocation-related licenses or environmental permits, if necessary.
33 Obtain a local tax registration certificate, a.k.a. business license. Local Start-Up Requirements for Small Businesses
34 Obtain local permits, if required, such as a conditional use permit or zoning variance.

Obtain Insurance

35 Determine what business property requires coverage. Obtaining Business Insurance
36 Contact an insurance agent or broker to answer questions and give you policy quotes.
37 Obtain liability insurance on vehicles used in your business, including personal cars of employees used for business.
38 Obtain liability insurance for your premises if customers or clients will be visiting.
39 Obtain product liability insurance if you will manufacture hazardous products.
40 If you will be working from your home, make sure your homeowner's insurance covers damage to or theft of your business assets as well as liability for business-related injuries. Home Business Insurance
41 Consider health & disability insurance for yourself and your employees. The Employer's Legal Handbook

Set Up Your Books

42 Decide whether to use the cash or accrual system of accounting. Cash vs. Accrual Accounting
43 Choose a fiscal year if your natural business cycle does not follow the calendar year (if your business qualifies).
44 Set up a recordkeeping system for all payments to and from your business. Bookkeeping and Accounting Basics
45 Consider hiring a bookkeeper or accountant to help you get set up.
46 Purchase small business accounting software

Set Up Tax Reporting

47 Familiarize yourself with the general tax scheme for your business structure. Tax Savvy for Small Business
48 Familiarize yourself with common business deductions and depreciation. Deduct It! Lower Your Small Business Taxes
49 Obtain IRS Publications 334, Tax Guide for Small Business, and 583, Taxpayers Starting a Business. Small Business Tax FAQ
50 Obtain the IRS's Tax Calendar for Small Businesses. IRS's Tax Calendar

More Information

As you can see, starting a business involves making quite a few initial decisions and getting policies and paperwork in place. For more information about and help with starting a business, consult the following Nolo resources:

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by: , J.D.

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