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Starting a Business Checklist

Do you know how an entity structure impacts your business? View this chart to see the differences between LLCs, LLPs, and Corporations.


General information

  1. Has relevant personal information been gathered?
    • Name of other participants in the business
  2. Has financial situation been assessed?
    • Income
    • Expenses
    • Assets
    • Liabilities
  3. Has professional team been assembled?
    • Accountant
    • Attorney
    • Insurance agent

Getting started

  1. Have the necessary licenses been secured?
  2. Has start date been determined?
  3. Has location been secured?
  4. Will equipment be purchased or leased?
  5. Have employees been hired?
  6. Have suppliers been contacted?
  7. Has a name for the business been chosen and researched for availability?
  8. Has the business plan been developed?
    • Description of the business
    • Market identified
    • Operating costs
    • Profit expectations
  9. Has the type of organization been decided upon?
    • Sole proprietorship
    • Partnership
    • Corporation (C or S)
    • Limited liability company
  10. Has a checking account or other bank account been opened?
  11. If so, who has signature authority?

Financing

  1. Has capital been raised?
    • Available savings
    • Traditional lenders
    • Second mortgage/home equity line of credit
    • Sell assets
    • Borrow from friends/relatives
    • Partnerships
    • Investors
  2. Has financial data been collected?
    • Budget
    • Start-up costs
    • Cash requirements
    • Break-even forecast

Insurance planning

  1. Have insurance needs of business owner been reviewed?
    • Health
    • Life
    • Disability
    • Property, casualty, and liability
    • Auto
  2. Have business insurance needs been considered?
    • Business liability insurance
    • Group life, health, and disability for employees
    • Key employee life and disability insurance

Retirement planning

  1. Will business owner alone participate in a retirement plan?
    • Individual 401(k)/Profit-sharing
    • Defined benefit
    • SEP-IRA
    • IRA
  2. Will employees participate in a retirement plan?
    (May be required if business owner participates in a plan)
    • 401(k)
    • Defined benefit
    • Profit-sharing
    • SEP-IRA
    • SIMPLE IRA
    • SIMPLE 401(k)
    • Payroll deduction IRA

Estate planning

  1. Have business succession needs been considered?
    • Buy-sell agreement and necessary funding
    • Sell business
    • Transfer business with lifetime gifts

Tax planning

  1. Have tax advantages/disadvantages of different business entities been reviewed with accountant?
  2. Have tax issues unique to business owners been considered?
    • Deduction and credits
    • Taxable income
    • Employee fringe benefits
    • Record keeping

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Comparison of LLCs, LLPs,
and Professional Corporations

Do you know how an entity structure impacts your business? View this chart to see the differences between LLCs, LLPs, and Corporations.

Starting or Buying a Business

Are you considering a startup, a franchise, or buying an existing business? This article gives a general overview considering organization, structure and tax breaks for your business plan.

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