Small Business Promotion

How to Start Your Own Business: A Small Business Checklist

Are you thinking about starting your own business? You’re not alone! In 2023, there were approximately 24.4 million small and medium-sized businesses in the European Union. Small business is booming, and it’s an exciting time to start your own.

While bringing your vision to life is exciting and exhilarating, it can also be overwhelming. So, we’re breaking down everything you need to know in this small business startup guide. This new business checklist covers all the business startup essentials, everything from logo design to legalities — reference it often as you start your entrepreneurial journey so you can stay on track for success.

How to Start a Small Business

  1. Decide On a Business Name
  2. Choose a Logo
  3. Get Online
  4. Draft a Business Plan
  5. Secure Funding
  6. Open a Business Bank Account
  7. Implement a Bookkeeping System
  8. Follow Local Regulations
  9. Get Business Insurance
  10. Find a Location
  11. Start Networking
  12. Hire Your First Employee
  13. Get the Word Out
  14. Promote Your Brand with Giveaways

Phase 1: Build Your Brand

The first part of our business startup checklist is all about branding and identity. Here are some initial items to tackle when you’re first starting out.

Decide On a Business Name

While you might know what your business will do, you might not know what to call your venture. But your name is one of the most important elements of starting a small business! So, take some time to get inspired by rhyming words, competitor names, foreign languages and more.

Choose a Logo

Similar to your business name, your logo is a key element in starting your own business. Your logo is a visual representation of your brand and what you do — so, take time to think about the colours, fonts and motifs you’d like to include. Unless you’re an artist or designer, this task is best left to a professional. After all, this icon will be displayed on everything from business cards to promotional products and employee uniforms.

Get Online

These days, if you’re not online, you might as well not exist. A website is one of the most important things you’ll create as a business owner, especially if you’re starting a home-based business. Think of your website as a physical shop or office: it should draw in customers and reflect your brand. But it should also be a resource where prospective customers can find operating hours, contact information, pricing, your brand story and so much more. In addition to your website, make sure to claim your Google Business Profile and create corresponding social media handles. Consistency is key!

Draft a Business Plan

Now that you’ve completed some of the more creative tasks on this new business checklist, it’s time to get down to business — and drafting a business plan is a great place to start. This is a document that outlines your business idea, business structure and budget, and features an analysis of your competitors and your financial and marketing goals. (And more!) You can make changes to this document as time goes on, but having a plan at this phase of starting your own business can help set you up for success and even secure funding.

Phase 2: Take Care of Business

Okay — now it’s time to get into the specifics of setting up a small business. While these steps aren’t necessarily the most fun, they are necessary. Put in the hard work now to get your business set up the right way, and your business will thank you later!

Secure Funding

Maybe you’ve been saving up to have enough capital to launch your business totally alone. But maybe after drafting your business plan, you’ve realised that the budget you need to get started exceeds what’s in your savings account. Fortunately, you have a few options when it comes to getting the capital you need. You can take out a small business loan, or raise the capital from investors who believe in what you’re doing. Putting together a pitch that incorporates your business plan is a great way to show potential investors that you’re well prepared.

Open a Business Bank Account

Speaking of funds, make sure you have somewhere safe to stash your capital. It’s easy to set up a small business bank account, as well as apply for a credit card for your business. This separation of business and personal finances is important for any business, but especially if you’re a solo entrepreneur.

Implement a Bookkeeping System

While balancing the books isn’t necessarily the most fun part of being a business owner, it’s an essential one. You’ll want to keep track of business costs and revenue — and a bookkeeping system is a critical part of that. If you don’t have the time, skill or desire to do it yourself, outsourcing bookkeeping to an accounting professional could be money very well spent.

Follow Local Regulations

There are different requirements and regulations based on location and industry, so you may need to complete some additional paperwork before opening your doors. Think: business registration, licenses or permits.

Get Business Insurance

Your business is your baby, so you’ll want to protect it. There are different types of insurance out there, but you’ll likely want a variety of liability insurances, as well as property insurance, if applicable, to make sure you’re covered. Make sure your coverage has kicked in before you’re officially open for business.

Phase 3: Make It Happen

It’s time to make your small business dream a reality. Here are the final new business checklist items you need to tackle before you open.

Find a Location

Depending on the type of business you’re opening, you may need a physical retail space. In this case, do some research on different prospective locations, compare prices and lease terms and think about how you need the space to function for your business.

Start Networking

Small business is all about community. Get to know other business owners in your area, join a local professional organisation or attend regional networking events. You’ll make valuable connections and foster a feeling of community.

Hire Your First Employee

Already know you’ll need an extra set of hands? Look into hiring an employee before you open so you can bring them up to speed on your business and your goals.

Get the Word Out

Start building awareness for your business before you open. You can leave flyers or business cards at local shops and bulletin boards; send postcards to your new neighbours; tease your opening on social media; and even build excitement with the promise of a grand opening event, giveaway or raffle.

Make an Impact with Branded Promos

Promotional products have serious staying power, even for new businesses! Invest in swag you can give to new customers, or create branded merchandise that customers can purchase. For your grand opening, choose something low-cost that you can give to anyone who walks through your door.

Open Your Doors for Business

Congratulations, you’re ready to officially open your business! Turn on the lights, start taking appointments and keep getting your brand out there.

5 Best Promotional Products for New Businesses

Branded Pens

Pens are an essential giveaway item for any industry, and they’re practical for your business, too! You’ll need to have pens handy for customers to sign invoices and receipts, so make sure they’re showing off your brand.

Printed Tote Bags

If your business is in the retail industry, keep a stack of branded tote bags on hand. Branded totes are an affordable promotional item that you can use to bag up customer purchases. And ideally, they’ll continue to use them long after they walk out of your shop.

Branded Drinkware

Promotional drinkware is a giveaway that delivers time and time again. A more premium piece of drinkware, like the RPET bottle, makes for a great gift with purchase or buyable item in your merchandise shop.

Branded Keyrings

Who doesn’t love a keyring? Add your branding to something practical, like an engraved keyring that has a built-in torch. It will build brand visibility wherever your customers go.

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