Maryland Checklist for New Businesses


Checklist For Starting A Business

Learn more about the benefits of small business membership in the U.S. Should you decide to open a storefront, you will need to find real estate property. Make sure you know how much space you need, carefully vet the neighborhood and read the contract thoroughly before signing. Find out more about nonprofit organizations, why they need managed accounting, and how nonprofit bookkeeping can contribute to their success.

While this list is meant to help you get started, it doesn’t give you a guarantee for success. GL covers property damage, bodily injury and personal injury to yourself or a third party.


I’ll leave you with a checklist of the key things you need to do to start a business. Public liability insurance — this covers you if somebody makes a claim against your business relating to injury or property damage. Now, you might think that all this sounds a bit like creating another business plan — and indeed, some business plans do have sections dedicated to operations. If you are sure you are going to be operating exclusively in one country, it’s usually best to buy a domain for that country (, .fr, .ie etc.). The reason for this is that search engines tend to use domain extensions to serve more local results to users. So if, for example, you’re setting up a UK law firm, a domain name of would possibly generate more visibility in search results for you than a domain name of For similar reasons, it’s important to claim appropriate social media handles for your business name too.

Our free guide has all the info you need to get your business off the ground. Google Search Console shows how your pages are doing on organic Google searches. You can track the search queries your website pages are showing for and optimize them so you increase visibility in organic search. Use Google Analytics and Google Search Console together to optimize your website for user experience, conversions and sales. Google Analytics and Google Search Console are two incredibly powerful tools that give you lots of insight into your website visitors.

Take advantage of free resources.

We aren’t going to sugarcoat it — unless you happen to have a passion for accounting, bookkeeping will likely be a challenge, especially in the beginning. Fortunately, there are software solutions andaccounting and bookkeeping servicesthat help simplify the daily process.

Checklist For Starting A Business

We can provide you with Operating Agreements or corporate bylaws that you can tweak to your exact needs. You should also keep minutes of directors’ meetings and corporate resolutions so you stay compliant with state rules. Think of your EIN as a social security number for your business.

Decide on your business structure.

Federal income tax — You will need to pay income tax on any profits or earnings you take from your business. Operational costs — Software, hardware, furniture, accounting, hosting, miscellaneous, etc. The SBA Access Financing tool will help you find out what government financing programs may be available to help you start or expand your business.

Checklist For Starting A Business

When you create a website, you have to pay someone to host it on the internet. And unless you’re a whiz web developer, you’ll probably have to pay someone to build your site too.

Open your doors for business.

Most virtual phone systems come with other features like voicemail, answering rules, hold music, call direction and more. The Grasshopper virtual phone system has all the capabilities a business needs. Maximize Creativity Through Software — If you’re in a freelance or creative industry, you will want software that streamlines the creative process and maximizes output. Tools like Adobe Creative Cloud or various creative software Checklist For Starting A Business available from Apple can help. These tools can be as simple or complex as you need, from relatively lightweight tools like Todoist or Trello all the way to the heavyweights like Asana or MS Project. Most states do not levy sales tax on goods that are considered necessities, like food, medications, clothing or gas. Self-employment tax — Unlike employees, the earnings from your business will be taxed under a self-employment tax .

This company will manage the inventory, package goods, and ship out your business orders. To get started, you can create an online store by selecting curated products from the catalog available through partners. Some businesses may also require federal, state or local licenses and permits to operate.


Paid accounting software, like QuickBooks, can unlock a lot more capabilities than those offered by free platforms. Once you’ve developed your business idea and you’re ready to start on a business plan, you’ll need to get creative with funding. You can raise money through investments by pitching your idea to financial backers. You could also gather funding through crowdsourcing platforms like Kickstarter, or set aside a certain amount of money from your weekly earnings to put toward a new business.

Checklist For Starting A Business

We’ve compiled a 22-point checklist of essential “to dos” when starting a business. It’s the everything-you-need guide for getting your business out of your mind and into reality. Here, we’ll go through all of the prerequisites, legalities, logistics and support elements you need to start a business – broken down into 22 easy-to-follow steps. You may need one, if not several, business licenses for your startup, depending on your industry and where you are located. Here in the United States, the SBA has a helpful business license and permits tool. An Employer Identification Number helps you separate yourself from your business.

Select a name for your business

Most of these formation services also include a registered agent service for free with a business formation. Partnership – two or more people are help personally liable as business owners. We hope you’ve found this checklist helpful, and that it gives you everything you need to bring your business to life. Remember that we also have a comprehensive help center that contains dozens of articles on setting up and running your business. If you’re a local business, it makes sense to get the word out in your community. You can try local advertising in papers, on billboards or through the radio. You could also sponsor local organizations or events and partner with other businesses to generate goodwill.

  • Once you get over the initial excitement, it’s time to break down the process of launching your startup into manageable chunks.
  • One of the easiest types of new business to launch is a dropshipping company.
  • Other taxes — In certain circumstances you may need to pay some other types of taxes.
  • Wherever it came from, make this idea concrete and put pen to paper.
  • There are plenty of great online options for managing your invoices, expenses, transactions and reports.

Maybe choose two versions of everything, present them to separate groups, and see which ones get the best responses. It’s a balance between wanting to be where businesses like yours succeed and being where your business won’t immediately be bogged down by competition. If you want to start an online business, this checklist item remains much the same, but now you’re dealing with the whole internet, as opposed to a city or town. Almost every business needs some kind of license or permit to operate. Your state may also require you to register for a business tax ID number.

Envision a Business Idea

KPMG Spark also offers tax preparation, invoicing and payments, expense tracking and payroll services. Find out more about nonprofit accounting, how it’s different from for-profit organizations, and what you need to know to operate your nonprofit successfully. Even after all of these steps are completed, your business hinges on your ability to work hard, adapt to the market, and work hard some more.

  • Then you may be able to defer filing for a while, depending on the nature of your business.
  • The software automatically generates accurate totals for you.
  • It’s also a good idea to reach out to local press, letting them know that you’re a new player on the scene.
  • These needs might include online bill pay, money transfers, wire transfers, etc.
  • Obtain Worker’s Compensation Insurance from the business’s insurance carrier.
  • To help you answer these questions honestly, it’s always worth reaching out to others in your field — people who may be experts in your industry, or have been in your shoes before.
  • Tools, guides and resources to help you explore your options.

Establishing loyal customers and a memorable customer experience will help sustain your business in the long run, so invest time, energy and care into your customer service approach. To get your business up and running, there are a few things you need to make it ‘real’ to prospective buyers. Incorporate these five small business checklist items to give your business the presence and credibility it deserves. Permits and licensing for small business operations vary by location – it’s important to make sure that you’re operating lawfully! Before you open your doors for business, make sure you meet these requirements – you can find all state-specific information here. You’re probably starting a business because you had a need that wasn’t fulfilled in the marketplace, or you saw an opportunity to do something better than the competition.

Unless you’re planning to be your only employee, you’re going to need torecruitandhire a great teamto get your company off the ground. Joe Zawadzki, CEO and founder of MediaMath, said entrepreneurs need to give the “people” element of their businesses the same attention they give their products. You may also need other types of coverage, depending on your location and industry, but most small businesses are advised to purchase general liability insurance, or a business owner’s policy. GL covers property damage, bodily injury, and personal injury to yourself or a third party. Depending on the sector and industry that you wish to enter, all or some of the work you’re planning to do may require licences or qualifications. You can find a list of occupations requiring licences here. Even if your business does not require licences to operate, it can help a small business’ prospects of attracting customers if you hold certifications from trade and industry bodies.

Find funding.

The easiest way to do this is via a payroll service — these services will work out salaries, payments and benefits and help you with payroll taxes. There are also dozens of other online software tools that can make business management much easier. Wunderlist or Microsoft To Do will help you with your to-do list, and you can get cloud storage through Google Drive, Dropbox or Box.

Why is it important to have a business startup checklist?

This startup checklist can help you determine the steps you need to take to launch your business the right way. The business startup checklist below is meant to remind you of the tasks you may have to perform when starting your business. The checklist includes items that apply to many different types of startups.

Create a business plan, budget, cash flow projections, and determine working capital needs. If you’re looking for specialists and experts who can help you with specific tasks, you’re probably best off using a freelancer. There are plenty of freelance marketplaces like Freelancer, Upwork or Toptal — but if you just want straightforward, easy-to-use services, Fiverr is hard to beat. They’ve also launched Fiverr Pro, where you can find vetted freelancers for more demanding projects.

Set Up Your Business’s Accounting System

You may also need other types of coverage depending on your location and industry, but most small businesses are advised to purchase general liability insurance, or a business owner’s policy. Getting some startup funding will help with any cash flow issues that you may have when initially starting your business. Business line of credit or Business Credit Card – A business line of credit or business credit card gives your business access to cash on demand, over and over again.