Getting Started Checklist
This checklist outlines all of the steps that you need to take to get started with IDm Hosting or your new business in general. This covers what you will need to do before starting up, and guide you through to launching and promoting your online store. You might find it helpful to print this checklist or to download it as a PDF so that you can refer to it throughout the setup process.
Before you start
Before you start setting up your new e-commerce store, it’s important to understand your goals. Ask yourself basic questions about your store. This can help you to focus your attention and speed up your setup process.
Select a Name and Legal Structure
You basically have 4 choices when selecting a legal structure.
Click Here for a detailed explanation of all 4.
- Sole Proprietorship (form a Sole Proprietorship Now)
- Partnership (form a Partnership now)
- Limited Liability Company (LLC) (form an LLC now)
- Corporation or S-Corporation (form a Corporation now)
Write a Business Plan
It’s easy to convince yourself that you don’t need a business plan, but creating a business plan with financial projections forces you to think through details. Keep your plan a living breathing thing that you revisit and adapt regularly.
If you haven’t already, prepare at least a preliminary business plan. Get the free Work Like A Girl Gang business template.
Obtain your Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN)
If you are setup as a Corporation, LLC or Partnership (or a sole proprietorship with employees), apply for a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) from the IRS. A FEIN will be necessary to open a bank account or process payroll.
You can always get an EIN here.
Open the Company Bank Account
Select a bank and open the company bank account. This will keep your profit separated from your invoices.
Lease Office, Warehouse or Retail Space (if not home-based)
Depending on your type of business (retail, office or warehouse), arrange for office space to be leased. Contacting a commercial realtor in your area can be helpful. Also, make sure to arrange for utilities and office furniture.
Don’t so this part if you can fully operate your business from home. Most businesses only need a laptop and a reliable internet connection to be successful.
Obtain Licenses and Permits
A. Federal Permits
Depending on the type of business you are in, you may need a Federal license or permit.
Most businesses do NOT require a Federal license or permit. However, if you are engaged in one of the following activities, you should contact the responsible Federal agency to determine the requirements for doing business:
- Investment advising ( http://www.sec.gov)
- Drug manufacturing ( http://www.fda.gov)
- Preparation of meat products ( http://www.fda.gov)
- Broadcasting ( http://www.fcc.gov)
- Ground transportation ( http://www.dot.gov)
- Selling alcohol, tobacco or firearms ( http://www.atf.gov)
B. State Licenses
Some occupations and professions require a State license or permit. Laws vary from State to State, however, if you are engaged in one of the following professions, you should contact the responsible state agency to determine the requirements for your business:
- building contractors
- insurance carriers
- real estate agents
- private investigators
- private security guards
- funeral directors
- bill collectors
- truck drivers
State Licenses and Permits based on products sold.
Some state licensing requirements are based on the product sold. Contact your state licensing authorities to determine the licensing requirements of your business. For example, most states require special licenses to sell:
- lottery tickets
Sales Tax Permit
If your company sells physical products within the state where it does business, you may have to collect and pay sales tax. This is usually accomplished by obtaining a State Seller’s Permit or Resale Permit.
Most Cities or Counties require you to obtain a business license, even if you operate a home-based business. This is a license granting the company the authority to do business in that city/county.
Hire Employees (if applicable)
If you intend to hire yourself or others as a full or part-time employee of your company, then you may have to register with the appropriate State Agencies or obtain Workers Compensation Insurance or Unemployment Insurance (or both).
Or Work Like A Girl and hire 23 contract workers that later on become employees of your successful online business.
Set up an Accounting and Record-Keeping System
Setup your Accounting and Record-keeping system and learn about the taxes your new company is responsible for paying.
Company documents generally are required to be kept for 3 years, including: a list of all owners and addresses, copies of all formation documents, financial statements, annual reports, amendments or changes to the company. All Tax and Corporate Filings should be kept for at least 3 years.
Obtain Business Insurance
There are many types of insurance for businesses but they are usually packaged as “General Business Insurance” or a “Business Owner’s Policy”. This can cover everything from product liability to company vehicles. A decent policy can run as little as $300/year and offers a great extra level of protection.
You don’t need this at first but always know this is something that isn’t avoidable for the protection of your business.
Systemize and Organize
Prepare the business as if someone needed to take it over and run it for you. This means have a method to process orders, pay bills, pay employees, pay taxes, maintain your permits, etc. Basically, try to make the operational aspect of the business as automated and efficient as possible so you can concentrate on growing your business.
Develop a Business Identity
Order business cards, letterhead and promotional materials for your business. A professionally created logo can make your business look professional and established.
Get the Word Out (Marketing)
Now that you’ve set-up the company for success, you need to get the word out. Create a marketing plan for your products and services that targets your ideal customer.