Monday, February 17, 2014

Check List - Starting a Business


Starting a Business

The Great Big Check List of Everything



This checklist breaks down everything you must and should do when starting a business.

Mandatory tasks are required under the law in order to operate a valid and compliant business.

Recommended tasks, although not strictly required under the law, are tasks that should be undertaken in order to grow and protect a new business.


#Ideation & Protecting Ideas

Mandatory

  • Pick a company name and check any potential trademark infringements on Trademarkia or KnowEm
  • Determine whether your business name needs to be trademarked, and if does Trademark it at the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) #US or DJHKI (Direktorat Jendral Hak Kekayaan Intelektual) #Indonesia
  • Protect your written works and code through the Copyright Office
  • If you are inventing or creating a product, understand patents and register for one at the USPTO #US or DJHKI #Indonesia

Recommended

  • Vet your idea with the idea checklist – ClickHere For Details
  • Protect your ideas when sharing them with others by using an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement)

NDA also known as a confidentiality agreement (CA), confidential disclosure agreement (CDA), proprietary information agreement (PIA), or secrecy agreement, is a legal contract between at least two parties that outlines confidential material, knowledge, or information that the parties wish to share with one another for certain purposes, but wish to restrict access to or by third parties. It is a contract through which the parties agree not to disclose information covered by the agreement. An NDA creates a confidential relationship between the parties to protect any type of confidential and proprietary information or trade secrets. As such, an NDA protects nonpublic business information.

  • Search your state’s corporation and LLC name registration database to ensure your business name has not been taken
  • Check Google, Yellow Pages, and local directories to ensure your business name is not taken
  • Learn how to select a good business name

#Forming Your Entity 

Mandatory

  • Pick a structure (Sole Proprietorship, Corporation, S-Corp, LLC #US or PT #Indonesia, Partnership, LP, LLP, Non-Profit) and ensure that you comply with business formation requirements.

A sole proprietorship, also known as the sole trader or simply a proprietorship, is a type of business entity that is owned and run by one individual and in which there is no legal distinction between the owner and the business.

A corporation is a separate legal entity that has been incorporated either directly through legislation or through a registration process established by law. Incorporated entities have legal rights and liabilities that are distinct from their employees and shareholders, and may conduct business as either a profit-seeking business or not-for-profit business.

S corporations are merely corporations that elect to pass corporate income, losses, deductions, and credit through to their shareholders for federal tax purposes.

A limited liability company (LLC) is a flexible form of enterprise that blends elements of partnership and corporate structures. An LLC is not a corporation; it is a legal form of company that provides limited liability to its owners in the vast majority of United States jurisdictions.

Perseroan Terbatas (PT) merupakan badan usaha dan besarnya modal perseroan tercantum dalam anggaran dasar. Kekayaan perusahaan terpisah dari kekayaan pribadi pemilik perusahaan sehingga memiliki harta kekayaan sendiri. Setiap orang dapat memiliki lebih dari satu saham yang menjadi bukti pemilikan perusahaan. Pemilik saham mempunyai tanggung jawab yang terbatas, yaitu sebanyak saham yang dimiliki. Apabila utang perusahaan melebihi kekayaan perusahaan, maka kelebihan utang tersebut tidak menjadi tanggung jawab para pemegang saham. Apabila perusahaan mendapat keuntungan maka keuntungan tersebut dibagikan sesuai dengan ketentuan yang ditetapkan. Pemilik saham akan memperoleh bagian keuntungan yang disebut dividen yang besarnya tergantung pada besar-kecilnya keuntungan yang diperoleh perseroan terbatas.

A limited partnership (LP) is a form of partnership similar to a general partnership, except that in addition to one or more general partners (GPs), there are one or more limited partners (LPs). It is a partnership in which only one partner is required to be a general partner

A limited liability partnership (LLP) is a partnership in which some or all partners (depending on the jurisdiction) have limited liabilities. It therefore exhibits elements of partnerships and corporations.

  • Creating a corporation? File the Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws with the Secretary of State’s Office
  • Forming an LLC? File the Articles of Organization and an Operating Agreement with the Secretary of State’s Office #USClick Here For PT #Indonesia
  • Get the necessary licenses and permits to operate legally
  • Apply for an EIN (Employer Identification Number) #US or NPWP (Nomor Pokok Wajib Pajak) #Indonesia
  • If you are incorporating , appoint a Board of Directors
  • For a corporation and LCC, you must register a service agent

Recommended

  • Going into a Partnership? Create a Partnership Agreement
  • Check your state government’s website for other state-specific registration, taxation and employment rules
  • Get your DBA (Doing Business As) which allows a business to operate under a fictitious name (this is required for sole proprietorships that want to operate under any name other than the name of the business owner)
  • Open your company bank account

#Identity / Branding

Recommended

  • Design a logo
  • Search for a register a unique online domain name
  • Create your website
  • Ensure your business name is available on wide variety of social networking websites in order to develop consistent branding (KnowEm)
  • Create and manage your social media presence
  • Get business cards and other physical collateral
  • List your business online with MerchantCircle, Manta, etc. #US

#Financing and Business Planning

Recommended

  • Prepare for and create a Business Plan
  • Find sources of capital (friends & family, business bank loans, angel investment, venture capital)
  • If seeking investors, create a  business pitch deck
  • For those issuing stock to finance the company (corporations), use a Shareholder’s Agreement

#Operations 

Mandatory

  • Find a retail space, set up a home-based office or find an office space.(LoopNet, OfficeFinder #US or Sewa-Kantor, Regus #Indonesia)
  • Choose a broker to help find an adequate business space
  • For corporation, keep record of Meeting Minutes

Recommended

  • Set up an online phone system or set up a tranditional land line
  • Set up your computer and network
  • Pick an internal email system (Gmail, Outlook,  Yahoo)
  • Choose an email system to connecct with customer (MailChimp, Constant Contact, Sendgrid)
  • Set up a collaboration method for business documents, spreadsheets and presentations (GoogleApps)

#Financial Planning & Accounting 

Mandatory

  • Choose a tax year
  • Determine which type of federal business taxes you will be responsible for
  • Determine state tax obligations
  • Create and maintain the top 3 financial statements : income statement, balance sheet and cash flows on at least a quarterly basis
Recommended

  • Set up an accounting system (Quickbooks)
  • Find the right accountant
  • Set a budget for the coming year
  • Create a sales forecasts and financial projections regularly
  • Get a business credit card and
  • Register with Dun & Bradstreet to build business credit and obtain a D-U-N-S Number to accurately gauge and share your creditworthiness
  • If a corporation, decide whether to elect S Corporation tax status

#Business Mentors 

Recommended

  • Speak to entrepreneurs and leaders in your industry, consider asking them to be your mentor
  • Ask mentors to join your Board of Advisors (for the overall benefit of the company)

#Building a Team 

Mandatory

  • Determine the company founders and leadership (partnership, owners, CEO, etc)
  • Clarify who gets equity, and how much
  • Conduct job interview – look out for red flags

Red flag is a term denoting various attention and awareness indicators and signals, both explicit and implicit. It can be used in various contexts usually as a warning or when things seem too good to be true as well as unexpectedly good results.

The Red Flags Rule was created by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), along with other government agencies such as the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), to help prevent identity theft. The rule was passed in January 2008, and was to be in place by November 1, 2008. But due to push-backs by opposition, the FTC delayed enforcement until December 31, 2010. In December 2010, the Red Flags Rule was clarified by the Red Flag Program Clarification Act of 2010 to exclude most doctors, lawyers, and other professionals who do not receive full payment at the time when their service is furnished.

Identity theft is a form of stealing someone's identity in which someone pretends to be someone else by assuming that person's identity, usually as a method to gain access to resources or obtain credit and other benefits in that person's name.

Recommended

  • Find team members through personal connections, recruiters or job boards
  • Run a background check on new hires
  • For one-off or task based activities, use AmazonTurk or Odesk

#Human Resources 

Mandatory

  • Make sure workers are properly classified (employee, independent contractor, part-time employee, intern, etc.)
  • Have employees fills out Form I-9 and Form W-4 #US or KTP, NPWP, Akte #Indonesia
  • Familiarize yourself with the Department of Labor laws and regulations regarding employment #US or Kementrian Tenaga Kerja #Indonesia
  • Put up the necessary labor law posters to meet federal and state requirements
  • Familiarize yourself with federal discrimination laws and heed them
  • Terminate employees properly to avoid discrimination claims

Recommended

  • Create job descriptions
  • Understand the definition of an “At Will” employee #US or “Sesuka Hati” #Indonesia
  • Have workers sign the proper Employment Agreement
  • Protect the inventions employees create for you with an Employee Non-Compete and Confidentiality Agreement

A non-compete clause (often NCC), or covenant not to compete (CNC), is a term used in contract law under which one party (usually an employee) agrees not to enter into or start a similar profession or trade in competition against another party (usually the employer). As a contract provision, a CNC is bound by traditional contract requirements including the consideration doctrine. The use of such clauses is premised on the possibility that upon their termination or resignation, an employee might begin working for a competitor or starting a business, and gain competitive advantage by exploiting confidential information about their former employer's operations or trade secrets, or sensitive information such as customer/client lists, business practices, upcoming products, and marketing plans.

  • Give all new employees an Employee Handbook
  • Lay out the employee benefits you will provide (paid leave and holidays, health insurance, bonuses)
  • Choose a payroll service (ADP, Trinet, Paychex)
  • Set up a system for employee discipline

#Sales 

Recommended

  • Determine a pricing system for your product(s)
  • Execute Step Sales Process
  • Learn the art of persuasion
  • Hire and train salespeople
  • Use a sales management service (one that fits your business size, from smaller to larger companies)
  • Pick a Customer Relationships Management System (CRM)
  • Make a Customer Service Plan to standardize procedures for complaints and refunds
  • Track which product perform better, and which have the best margins
  • Decide on possible discount, specials and coupons to attract new customers
  • List your products on online marketplaces

#Marketing & PR 

Recommended

  • Plan your marketing strategy
  • Decide on a target market and conduct a market analysis
  • Determine your KPI (Key Performance Indicators)
  • Get free online traffic
  • Improve SEO
  • Get paid online ads, such as Google AdWords and Facebook Advertising
  • Master social media marketing
  • Look into relevant trade shows and conventions to market your product
  • Print flyers, brochures or catalogs
  • Leverage current customers with email marketing
  • Decide if you want to hire a PR Agency
  • Go mobile and consider app development
  • Reach out to relevant newspapers and press

#Insurance 

Mandatory

  • Decide which types of business insurance you need
    • Common : workers’ compensation, unemployment and disability insurance
    • Others : property, liability, or business overhead insurance

Recommended

  • Check any potential insurance providers

#Legal 

Recommended

  • Find an attorney you trust
  • Use waivers and contracts to prevent litigation
  • Prepare for when your company is sued


Checklist for Your Specific Business


#Service-Based Businesses 

Mandatory

  • Determine the price of your services

Recommended

  • Don’t forget to clarify the deliverable, deadline and cost in your service agreement

#Retail / Brick and Mortar Businesses

Brick and mortar (also bricks and mortar or B&M) in its simplest usage describes the physical presence of a building(s) or other structure. The term brick-and-mortar business is often used to refer to a company that possesses buildings, production facilities, or store for operations. 

Mandatory

  • Check zoning laws
  • Secure a lease
  • Decide on days and hours of operation
  • Determine staffing needs (for prime hours, slower times, closing an inventory)
  • Secure the correct permits and licenses for your city and state
  • Set up lighting utilities
  • Acquire furniture, register, racks, tables and wall displays, etc.
  • Get a state-specific Seller’s Permit or Resale Permit to properly collect sales tax

Recommended

  • Choose a location with good foot traffic, size and apperance
  • Speak with a commercial realtor to get an idea of what to look for and what to expect
  • Establish agreements with your manufacturer, distributor or wholesales supplier
  • Set up inventory tracking (understand a Stock Keeping Unit)
  • Set up your Yelp page #US

#Online Business 

Mandatory

  • Purchase computers
  • Find images for your website
  • Set up your e-commerce or online store (Shopify, FlyingCart, Goodsie)
  • Choose a shipping or delivery system (FedEx, UPS, USPS #International or JNE, Tiki #Indonesia)
  • Set up a system for payment processing (PayPal, Google Checkout #International or Transfer, iBanking #Indonesia)

Recommended

  • Track and improve traffic through Google Analytics
  • Determine storage options, such as cloud computing (DropBox, GoogleDrive, etc)
  • Set up a system for IT bugs and tickets (Jira)

Jira is a proprietary issue tracking product, developed by Atlassian, used for bug tracking, issue tracking and project management. The product name, JIRA, is not an acronym but rather a truncation of "Gojira", the Japanese name for Godzilla. It has been developed since 2002.

  • If outsources development is needed, use Guru or Elance


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