If you re starting a business anywhere in the world, organisation is key to success.
Use this checklist as a starting point for your business. It doesn’t cover everything, but it’s a good overview as it sets you on the path to success.
1. Check off all the items that apply to your business idea.
2. Think of a business idea you would like to pursue.
3. Conduct research to validate that you have a feasible business opportunity.
4. Do some planning—consider using the Business Model Canvas or writing a more formalized business plan.
5. Consider meeting with a professional (lawyer, accountant, business consultant, mentor, etc.) who can offer business advice.
6. Explore financing options.
7. Choose a form of business structure: Sole proprietorship, Limited Liability Company, Limited by Guarantee Company etc.
8. Register your business with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
9. Determine a location for the business: Retail/office/commercial/industrial space or Home-based business.
10. Apply for any required business licenses and permits (federal, state and/or industry-specific).
11. Learn about the various tax implications for your business (i.e. declaring revenue, deducting expenses, etc.). Your lawyer or accountant can advice you on this.
12. Determine which software you will be using to organize accounting and bookkeeping records for the year.
13. Obtain a Tax Identification Number from the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
14. Set up a business bank account.
15. Get a dedicated telephone number for the business.
16. Acquire any commercial or business insurance you may need (e.g. fire, theft etc.).
17. Consider obtaining rights for intellectual property (Trademark, Copyright, Industrial design, Patent).
18. Develop marketing materials (e.g. logo, business cards, signage, digital graphics, etc.)
19. Understand all human resource requirements if you will be hiring employees (e.g. employment standards, completing payroll etc.)
20. Engage a lawyer to assist in drafting and reviewing any business contracts or other important agreements.
21. Consider your payment processing system and which methods of payment you will be accepting (e.g. cash, cheque, credit card, debit card, etc).
22. Purchase necessary equipment and materials (e.g. office supplies, tools, inventory, etc).
23. Determine if you will be creating invoices and/or issuing receipts. Both are essential.
24. Organize and file all relevant business information, paperwork, and electronic files/data (retain any necessary records).
25. Secure a website domain name and associated email address, create a website, find a web hosting company, and acquire social media handles.
26. Market and advertise your business to attract customers/clients.
We would be happy to help.