Here is a 15 point checklist for your small business startup:
1. Pick something you will love to do and work on every day.
2. Choose a company name.
3. File a trademark–easy to do with help from nolo.com or legalzoom.com.
4. Decide on your company’s legal structure.
5. File for incorporated status is this is appropriate for your venture. Most small businesses operate as a “sole proprietorship.”
6. Apply for a business license. Call the county clerk to see if you need one.
7. Check your location for zoning regulations.
8. Apply for a Fictitious Business Name statement or a DBA (Doing Business As)
9. Apply for a Federal Tax ID Number (EIN). You get it online by visiting irs.gov.
10. Consider home and business liability insurance and call your agent to discuss.
11. Open a separate phone line for your business.
12. Open a business checking account–you’ll need the DBA to do this if operating under a name that is different than your own.
13. Get the IRS publications for small business and read them to understand the guidelines on taxes.
14. Apply for a “Seller’s Permit” or “Resale Number” that will enable you to purchase goods at wholesale rates.
15. Investigate health insurance options–especially before your quit your current job.