business start up checklist

Business Start up Checklist

So, you’re going to go it alone. You’ve finally decided that you want to set up your own business. This may be one of the biggest decisions you ever make; don’t jump in too fast, there are some important things that you must consider before you actually take the plunge.

Using this business start up checklist will help you focus on the roadmap for your new business and work in a more organized and effective manner when everything ‘goes live’

What Kind of Business Do You Want to Start?

1. A part-time or a full-time business?
2. Do I want to launch a business based upon my own idea – a completely new product or service?
3. Buy a running an established business model (franchise?)
4. Do I want to start the business on my own or I want to do it as a partnership?
5. Managing someone else’s business?

Research Your Business Idea

business start up checklist


1. Do you have enough financial resources to go ahead with your idea?
2. Is there scope for your business? How scalable is your idea?
3. Research your competitors. Check if it is possible for you to make an impact with the existing competition and grab a good share of the market.
4. Find out what unique selling points (USPs) you have.
5. Check price points. Fin out how you can add value.

Prepare a Business Plan

1. What are your main business goals?
2. Decide on the location of your business and the associated costs.
3. What is your break even point?
4. How will you finance your business? Think cash flow, profit and loss and projected sales.
5. Define your marketing strategy and budget for a minimum of 12 months.

Get Training

1. Prepare yourself. Gain as much business skills as much you can.
2. Read business books.
3. Attend various business training courses.
4. Join business support networks and keep up to date with training workshops available.
5. Contact your local chamber of commerce and ask what help is available for business start ups.

Choose Staff For Your Business

1. Decide how many employees you will need (if any initially)
2. Don’t start employing people until you really need them because this will cause you extra expenses. Create a budget for staff.
3. Hire the best people available at hand. Never compromise on the skills and capability of your workers for lower wages.
4. Use references when hiring staff.
5. Clearly define roles within your company before you hire.

 Name Your Business

1. Choose a name for your business. The name should be unique and self-explanatory. It should also be brief, simple and interesting.
2. Make sure no else uses the name.
3. Check no one has taken the domain name if you started with the name that you have chosen because then you will not be able to have your website or blog with that domain name.

Register Your Business

1. Decide in what capacity your business will trade i.e. sole proprietorship, private limited company etc.
2. Register your business with the appropriate registering body.
3. Seek professional advice when setting up partnerships or limited companies
4. Run a check for trademark names and availability.
5. Discuss your business name with friends and family. Make sure it makes sense!


1. Set up your office. (You have decided if it will be at home or if you will need premises)
2. Find the best location for your business.
3. Get the infrastructure ready for your office i.e. internet connection, phones, furniture etc.
4. Check footfall in the area if you are opening a bricks and mortar business (local councils can help you with this)
5. Keep records of pre-set up costs and equipment to sumbit with your first year accounts.


1. Develop an affordable marketing strategy.
2. Get your business cards ready, complete with all the details about your business including addresses, phone numbers and web presence.
3. Write a brief overview of your business and send it to the local newspaper. Find an angle for publicity and mention your USP.
4. Set up your business website.
5. Create a presence across social networks and start building a fanbase,

 Legal and Professional

1. Get legal, professional advice for anything you are unsure of. It can save you tons of money in the long run.
2. Get your business insured.
3. Find out what taxes you will have to pay and start planning ahead.
4. Find out rules and regulations you will have to follow.
5. Seek advice about tax breaks for start ups.

Suppliers and Distributors

1.  Choose your suppliers and distributors carefully.
2. Reach as many suppliers as possible so as to cut costs.
3. Always keep a backup list of suppliers  in case of problems with existing ones.
4. Talk to distributors. Clarify terms and conditions with them.
5. Negotiate payment terms and ask for extended credit where possible to help with cash flow.

Keep Good Records

1. Keep good records of everything that comes in and goes out of your business
2. Consider setting up a separate business banking account.
3. Make sure you understand the book-keeping process.
4. Discuss keeping accurate records with your accountant
5. Submit everything on time and in good order to save money at year end!

Business Start Up Checklist Summary

The main focus here is keeping good records and planning a strategy for your business and always ask a fellow business person or a professional for advice. Remember there are lots of support networks for new business start ups, quite often there will be one in your local area. Never be afraid to say you don’t know something when starting up, you will gain more respect by asking intelligent questions, these support teams are used to helping people starting out every day.

Written by Caroline Baxter
Caroline Baxter is a serial Entrepreneur, Business Start Up Coach, and recent bestselling author on Amazon. Having started her first business aged 24, she now has multiple businesses in property, the motor trade and online and offline business consultancy. Caroline is now starting a series of live training events to support entrepreneurs looking to plan launch and grow their business