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Starting a Business Checklist

1. Select Your Business Structure.  Consider the various structures (Sole Proprietor, LLC, Partnership, and Corporation) and their legal and tax implications to determine the best fit for your business.  Register your entity and draft governing documents that will manage the entity and your partner relationships, such as an LLC operating agreement, a partnership agreement or corporate bylaws.

2. Federal Tax Identification Number (EIN).  This is akin to a social security number for a business and is necessary to open a bank account and file taxes.  It is also required if you will hire employees.

3. Taxes.  Register with your state tax authority and be prepared to pay estimated federal and state taxes if necessary.

4. Licenses & Permits.

Licenses.  Many industries require licenses to operate and businesses typically must pay fees to obtain licenses.

Permits.  Depending on where your business is located you may be required to obtain a permit to operate in your location.  Home offices often require permits as well.

5. Insurance.  Despite which business structure you choose or your business industry, it is generally best to obtain insurance to cover your business.  Your industry licensing requirements may also require insurance.  Some insurers offer a business owner policy that combines many policies.

6. Employer Responsibilities. If you will employ workers, you are required to comply with federal and state tax laws and insurance requirements such as worker’s compensation insurance.

7. Hire a Business Attorney. Forming a business, obtaining licenses, preparing contracts, registering IP, working with independent contractors, creating partner agreement, managing employees – these are just some of the reasons you should have a business attorney on your team.  Handling these matters alone can be time-consuming and difficult.  Hire an attorney to assist with the legal work so that you can focus on what you do best, your business!

8. Hire an Accountant.  Strongly consider using an accountant and a small business accounting solution. This will help you manage invoices, payments received, accounts receivable, accounts payable and more.  Having these systems in place will assist you greatly at tax time.


These are some basic tips for starting a business checklist and is provided for general informational and educational purposes.  It does not constitute legal advice or legal opinions.  An attorney-client relationship is only established with the firm via a formally, mutually signed engagement agreement.

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