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Starting a New Business Checklist


Starting a new business is full of optimism - and so it should be. No one wants to go into a new business idea thinking they're going to fail and make no money. So you have a great service, product or idea that you can't wait to get out there . . . but hold on! Before you get started, you want to make sure that you start off on the right foot. Looking professional and attractive is what will have potential customers willing to put their confidence in you. Whether you are running a retail store or online business, this checklist will help you start off being organized and looking fabulous.


 


1. Choose a Business Name

The name of your business is important. It's a creative way of advertising what you offer. Try to avoid initials and numbers, unless it's meaningful for you. For example, if John and Mary are starting a landscaping business, instead of going with "J & M Landscaping" try for something creative like, "Sage Garden Landscaping" (example not literal).


Creative business names are more likely to attract more customers. Make sure you to do the proper registered business and trademark searches to avoid any issues.


TIP

Stuck deciding on a business name? Look up "free business name generators" in the search engine or find a crowdsourcing contest online to pay creatives to help you choose a business name.


 

2. Register Your Business Name

Rules are different in every country/province/state/region. Do online research on your government website for information that will you tell you how to register your business. Please note that registering your business and trademarking the name are two entirely different things.


TIP

Not sure where to start? Type in "how to register a business name in <your city>" in the search engine.


 

3. Have Your Logo Created

A logo is the utmost important first step towards branding your business. It will help set the stage for the rest of your branding: website, promo materials, colours, etc. If your logo is whimsical, it encourages the rest of your business to be fun. If the logo is serious, it evokes a professional tone... and so on.


TIP

Take a look at my custom logo design service or head over to www.99designs.com and run a logo design contest, where multiple professional designers will submit designs to compete for your money prize.


 

4. Write Out Everything You Want On Your Website

This is a really important step! Not only will it help you have all your website content ready to go for when your website is being developed, but it will help you organize your business plan. Use a program on your computer to type out all the information you want on your website (or write it down, if you're the pen and paper type).


TIP

Outline your pages in the following format:

• Mark down the pages to go on your website (ie. Home, About, Services, Menu, Contact, etc.)

• Content that goes on each of those pages

• List each service and product you offer. Include: Title of service/product, description, price and purchase options.


 

5. Get a Website

A website is so important to have for a business. The determining factor for many potential customers is what information they can find out about you, on your website. It's also important to have an aesthetically-pleasing and user-friendly website. A good-looking, functional website will inspire confidence in your site visitors, especially if you are operating an online store.


TIP

Needed a website yesterday? Take a look at www.wix.com where they have nice themes you can choose from to get your website up quickly. If you don't want to deal with the headache of putting together your own website, take a look at my custom website design service.


 


6. Have Your Logo Printed on Uniforms

If you're running a physical location that has direct in-person communication with customers, it's always professional to get uniforms printed with your logo on it. There are lots of companies that offer stylish clothes nowadays that you can get logos printed or embroidered on.


TIP

Trying to sift through a sea of promotional companies for uniforms? We think Zazzle is pretty cool for getting clothing printed with your own design, and no minimums.


 

7. Get Promos Designed

No one is going to know you exist (outside of a website search), unless you have promotions designed to hand out, mail out or post up on a sign somewhere. Promos could include: Business cards, postcards, letterhead, flyers, door hangers, etc. Make it eye-catching and to the point. Don't overload people with too much information on your promos or they will just glaze over it.


TIP

Need a promo designed for your company? View my design services page to see what I got in store for you.


 

8. Signup for an Online Invoicing System

If you're taking orders or sending quotes through email or billing customers for your service, you need an online invoicing system. Invoices in Excel or Microsoft Word just doesn't cut it and is an accounting nightmare.


TIP

If you are using Wix for your website platform, they offer a free invoicing system that comes with your website.


 

9. Utilize Trello For Organization

Trello is a great tool for those that need to organize projects, notes, to-dos and more. It allows you to create a card that you title and you can add images, comments and more to that card. Take a look at my blog post, Organize Your Projects With Trello to see how to utilize Trello.


TIP

Avoid saving all your emails in your inbox as a source of organization. This can get really overwhelming after a period of time.


 

10. Track Expenses

Who wants to owe money to the government? Unfortunately, when it comes to running a business, it's unavoidable. To make sure you pay the gov the least money possible on your taxes, keep every receipt and track every expense related to your business. Expenses will decrease the amount of money you owe the government at the end of the year.


Some examples of business expenses would be:


  • Monthly bank fees

  • Fees for any programs or services you are using (ie. online invoicing system, payment processor fees, etc.)

  • Gas

  • Office supplies

  • Phone bill

  • Website domain and hosting

  • Graphic designer fees, etc.


TIP

Are you a paper and pen type of person? Check out this Expenses Tracking notepad for you to keep track of your monthly expenses. If you're an online person, check out "track expenses online" in your favourite search engine.


 

I hope this information helps you to get started off on the right foot! If you need help with getting any business items designed, please browse my website to see if any of the services I offer can be of assistance to you.

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