Business Startup Checklist to Become Entrepreneur: The Complete Guide

This business startup checklist provides you with an overview of things to consider before opening a new business.

Are you planning to launch the startup in the near future? There are a few things that you as a founder should pay attention to before, during and after formally starting a business or even the best startup ideas won't work. This will allow you to really take off with a well-considered business idea and start operating smoothly.  Starting a business does not have to be difficult when you follow the business startup checklist. Enclosed are a few business startup tips that you can use as a source of inspiration. So, let's begin our 'starting a business checklist.'

Step 1: Business Startup Checklist Begins with a Business Plan

Creating a business plan is first on our business startup checklist. Starting a business is no small feat whether you are starting a small business or a large one. The foundation of a quality business venture with good chance of success is a suitable business idea. By "suitable" we mean that the business idea meets current customer demand and can meet ever-growing market demands. It is the customers who respond to an offer and ultimately determine the competitiveness of any company.

Before you plunge into a new challenge as a founder, you should prepare a business plan. Its greatest advantage is that it allows you to determine the existing market needs and market gaps right at the beginning of the venture and serves as a guide for all business activities. A good business plan includes, among other things, one's goals and strategies, market and cost analysis.

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Checklist for Starting a Business - Business Plan

Step 2: Company name, domain and brand

The next item on the checklist for starting a business is the company name. It must not only be legally correct, but also refer to the company's activities. Moreover, the company name must not be misleading and should be appealing so that potential customers can easily remember it. In addition, it is mandatory that the company name contains the legal form suffix (e.g. GmbH).

Once the design for the company name has been decided, the next step on the business startup checklist is to select a suitable domain, which in turn should focus on the brand image and positively influence search engine optimization (SEO for short). If you are toying with the idea of founding the startup, devote a lot of time and attention to this step. The company name and domain affect a coherent brand that resonates with customers.

CheckDomain is a great and easy way to check the availability of a domain.

Step 3: Choosing the appropriate legal form

Are you planning to start the business? You also have to make the important decision about the legal form, on which a lot will depend. The first important question is whether you want to start your business alone or with business partners. If the joint venture is ventured, the next question is about liability and distribution of authority at the management level.

Of course the legal form depends on the country you are living in. In Germany, we have, for example, the following legal forms:

In addition to the sole proprietorship, you, as a founder, can choose between the stock corporation (AG), limited liability company (GmbH), civil law partnership (GbR), limited partnership (KG), general partnership (OHG) or entrepreneurial company (UG). The individual legal forms require different minimum contributions, limitations of liability and formation formalities.

Step 4: Possible forms of financing

Financing should not be missing from the checklist for setting up a company. Without sufficient start-up capital, it is hardly possible to bring a new business idea to life. If you want to create the startup, learn more about various forms of financing. Which of them is the best for you? There is no "right" answer to this question, because a lot depends on the individual situation.

Worth mentioning in this regard are internal and external financing, as well as equity and debt financing. With internal financing, the capital comes from the company's own entrepreneurial activities. With external financing, on the other hand, capital is brought in from outside. Self-financing is based on equity capital  permanently available to the company. In contrast, external financing is only temporarily at hand.

In every case we recommend to get a Pitch Deck. A pitch deck is ideal for keeping track of the startup's strategy and goal yourself. You can also show it to new employees, customers or investors. We offer a Pitch Deck Service that increases your chances of attracting investors. If you need a Deck for your customers ,you should check out our Sales Deck Service.

Possible forms of financing

Step 5: The Eventual Approvals Are A Must on The Business Startup Checklist

Starting the business is an ambitious goal that requires a set of job-specific expertise in addition to the free will to self-determine. The idea behind it is to ensure the maximum quality of products and services, as well as the necessary safety of one's own personnel and customers. This purpose is served by certain licenses and qualifications that you, as a founder, must obtain and present.

The obligation to obtain a master craftsman's certificate, the necessary qualifications of freelancers who are required to have a chamber of commerce, and the obligation to obtain a permit for certain activities in accordance with the trade regulations are important examples of permits that must be on the checklist for starting a business. In addition, other permits, including those from the building authority and health authority, must be obtained to avoid sanctions from the trade supervisory authorities.

Step 6: Determining company location

Next on our business startup checklist in finalizing the company location. Reality shows that, in addition to industry and profession specific aspects, location also plays a role in starting a business that should not be underestimated. This is the reason why you should carefully consider where the location of your new company will be. People who start the startup usually settle in big cities because they are more business-friendly and offer digital connectivity.

However, there exist other factors that you should not ignore when you want to start the business. The real estate situation, transport links, proximity to customers and, last but not least, costs must be strictly considered. In certain cities, you as a founder can expect additional permits and requirements from local authorities. It is definitely worth taking a closer look at the location of your competitors.

Step 7: Handling formalities

Once the planning of your own business has been completed, it is now important to take all legal steps towards self-employment. Depending on the activity profile, certain formal requirements may vary, so expert advice proves helpful. The schedule for official channels can provide great support in fulfilling all registration obligations.

This does not only mean a legal obligation to register a business. The checklist for setting up a business also includes other steps without which no business can function. Opening a separate business account that separates private and business finances, as well as concluding the necessary contracts, represent a good start to self-employment.

Step 8: Planning internal organization

Founding a startup is only the beginning on a long road to business success. Immediately after completing the formalities, you will be faced with new challenges as a founder. What should the organizational structure look like? How many employees does the company need in its initial phase? How should you proceed with the marketing plan and the actual business activities?

These are just a few of the questions that you need to find solutions for quickly if you want to find your way in business and gain and retain your first customers without unnecessary delay. Building a positive and professional-looking brand image through consistent design and appealing brand messages will help move your young startup forward.

branding is an essential element for founding a startup

Another Tip: Strong Customer Focus

The days when companies and their own needs were the focus of everyday business are long gone. Today, if you want to start the business and be successful, you need to stand out with a strong customer focus. Customers are the most important people in the company as they determine the economic success and the direction of further development. Therefore, they also form an integral part of any business startup checklist. There we go; now you know how to start a startup.

Niclas Schlopsna
Co-Founder of spectup
Niclas is the founder of spectup. Before founding his own company Niclas worked as a Consultant Venture Architect within Deloitte's Innovation and Ventures unit. Additionally, he has gained valuable insights and experience from banking, startups, and corporate groups.
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