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
- 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.
- 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.
- Vet your idea with the idea checklist.
- Protect your ideas when sharing them with others by using an NDA.
- 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
- Pick a structure (Sole Proprietorship, Corporation, S-Corp, LLC, Partnership, LP, LLP, Non-Profit) and ensure that you comply with business formation requirements.
- Creating a corporation? File 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.
- Get the necessary licenses and permits to operate legally.
- Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN).
- If you are incorporating, appoint a Board of Directors.
- For a corporation and LCC, you must register a service agent.
- 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 and Branding
- Design a logo (99designs).
- Search for and register a unique online domain name (GoDaddy, 1and1, Register).
- Create your website (Wordpress, Intuit, Weebly, Wix, SiteKreator, GoDaddy).
- Ensure your business name is available on a 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 (Vistaprint).
- List your business online with MerchantCircle, Manta, Yelp and DandB.com.
Financing and Business Planning
- Prepare for and create a Business Plan (if you need one).
- Find sources of capital— friends & family, business bank loans, angel investment, venture capital or even crowdfunding (Crowdfunder, Fundable).
- If seeking investors, create a business pitch deck.
- For those issuing stock to finance the company (corporations), use a Shareholder’s Agreement.
- Find a retail space, set up a home-based office or find an office space on LoopNet, OfficeFinder or ShowCase.
- Choose a broker to help find an adequate business space on TheBrokerList.
- For corporation, keep record of Meeting Minutes.
- Set up an online phone system (Ring Central, Google Voice, Onebox) or set up a traditional land line (Verizon, AT&T).
- Set up your computer and network.
- Pick an internal email system (Gmail, Outlook).
- Choose an email system to connect with customers (Constant Contact, MailChimp,Sendgrid).
- Set up a collaboration method for business documents, spreadsheets and presentations (GoogleApps).
Financial Planning & Accounting
- 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.
- 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.
- Speak to entrepreneurs and leaders in your industry and 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
- Determine the company founders and leadership (partnership, owners, CEO, etc.).
- Clarify who gets equity, and how much.
- Conduct job interviews—look out for red flags.
- Find team members through personal connections, recruiters or job boards (Ziprecruiter,Craigslist, Monster, Indeed, SimplyHired).
- Run a background check on new hires.
- For one-off or task based activities, use AmazonTurk or Odesk.
- Make sure workers are properly classified (employee, independent contractor, part-time employee, intern, etc.).
- Have employees fill out Form I-9 and Form W-4.
- Familiarize yourself with the Department of Labor laws and regulations regarding employment.
- 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.
- Create job descriptions.
- Understand the definition of an "At Will" employee.
- Have workers sign the proper Employment Agreement.
- Protect the inventions employees create for you with an Employee Non-Compete and Confidentiality Agreement.
- 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.
- Determine a pricing system for your product(s).
- Execute the 5 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 products perform better, and which have the best margins.
- Decide on possible discounts, specials and coupons to attract new customers.
- List your products on online marketplaces.
Marketing & PR
- Plan your marketing strategy.
- Decide on a target market and conduct a market analysis.
- Determine your 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.
- Decide which types of business insurance you need.
- Check any potential insurance providers here
- Find an attorney you trust.
- Use waivers and contracts to prevent litigation.
- Prepare for when your company is sued.
CHECKLIST FOR YOUR SPECIFIC BUSINESS
- Determine the price of your services.
- Don’t forget to clarify the deliverable, deadline and cost in your service agreement.
Retail/Brick and Mortar Businesses
- 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 and utilities.
- Acquire furniture, register, racks, tables and wall displays, a register, etc.
- Get a state-specific Seller’s Permit or Resale Permit to properly collect sales tax.
- Choose a location with good foot traffic, size and appearance.
- 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 wholesale supplier.
- Set up inventory tracking (understand a Stock Keeping Unit).
- Set up your Yelp page.
- 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).
- Set up a system for payment processing (PayPal, Google Checkout).
Ten Tips on How to Make it in the Meet-up Scene Lasix mexico, The technology meet-up scene is an odd co-mingling of entrepreneurs, engineers, social media mavens, service providers, and up and comers. Here are ten actionable tips to make the most of your meet-ups.
• Meet More - the key to any meet-up is first to meet others. Seems like that would be rather self explanatory. But inevitably most meet-ups end up resembling a junior high playground where the 3 people that know each other stay huddled in a corner, wondering why the other kids are having more fun. The biggest mistake most folks make is that they don’t meet more new people, lasix mexico. Make it your goal at every meet-up to approach 10 people you don’t already know.
• Get Business Cards, Don’t Give Them – when you meet new important contacts don’t bother giving them your business card unsolicited, they’ll just end up in business card purgatory. Do make sure to get their contact information and right then and there send them a follow up email, facebook/linkedin request, twitter shout out and you’ll meaningfully increase your odds of staying in touch.
• Be the Connector – there is great value in positioning yourself as the person that can connect people at networking events and meet-ups. Lasix mexico, Take the time to introduce people that might be able to work together, are looking for jobs, or could be co-founders. Dr david whitting lasix minneapolis, By positioning yourself as a connector at meet-ups you’ll find your professional/social credibility climbing steadily.
• Do Favors for Others: the law of reciprocity dictates that people want to help other who help them. Most folks at meet-ups spend most of their time talking about themselves or seeing what they can get out of the situation. By being the person that focuses on helping others you’ll instantly stand out among the crowd and will build a bank account full of goodwill that you’ll be able to repeatedly withdraw from in the future. For more on this watch my video on How to Persuade People
• Make Sure Others Know What You Do – how many times have you left a conversation with a long winded person, still having no idea what they really do, lasix mexico. Make sure everyone you talk to knows what you do, and could easily explain it to anyone else at the meet-up. Your goal is to have lots of people talking about you, and it starts by having others easily be able to communicate what you’re all about.
• Social Proof is Key – don’t make the mistake of telling others how great you are, get other people to do it for you. Having someone else at the meet-up point you out or suggest that you’re an important person to get to know, is infinitely more valuable than anything you could do to talk yourself up.
• Don’t Talk to Anyone for Too Long Lasix mexico, – the purpose of a meet-up is to meet as many people as you can, and likely no meaningful business will get accomplished there. Your goal is not to have a very thorough conversation with one person, it’s to identify as many people as possible that you might be able to work or connect with in the future. Have lots of short, bnp lasix, to the point, relevant conversations and you’ll open up the most opportunity.
• Set Up Meetings Outside of Meetups – you can do everything right at the meet-up but if the connections end there, it’s all for not. Make sure to set up follow up 1 on 1 meetings where you can really sit down and get to know someone and build more meaningful relationships.
• Be the Organizer – there is a lot more value being the organizer than the attendee, mostly because everyone knows the organizer, lasix mexico. It may be more work up front, but the professional dividends that pay out over time make it well worth it.
• Don’t Spend Too Much Time in the Meet-up Scene – even a good thing can be taken too far. Some folks seem to be at every meet-up and are always the last to leave, but don’t necessarily seem to be getting anywhere in their professional career. If you find yourself associating with the same people at meet-ups time and time again, none of whom are making meaningful progress on a new venture or job, it might be time to do more doing and less meeting. Lasix nuclear scan, Embed this article on your website or blog with Docstoc
How to Make it In the MeetUp Scene - .
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Converting from torsemide to lasix, I often get asked for advice on Business Development. I've spent most of my career in sales (or some sales like function), and here are my thoughts on how to be better with your BD. This post is geared toward folks looking to do BD deals in the online world.
10 Tips for Better BD
1.) Get Warm Introductions – Typically 1 out of 10 people will email or call you back from a cold outreach. So spend the extra time up front a find someone who knows the contact you want to get to know. Who knows, you may find yourself getting a LOT less NOs.
2.) Deal with Decision Makers – Are you dealing with El Jeffe? If not you could be wasting your time. Make sure your contact has the authority to make your business deal go through.
3.) Only Pansy’s are Not Prepared - Once you get the contact on the phone, make sure you know everything about them. Knowing the school, former jobs, current projects of your BD counterparts just makes you and your company look like that much more of an all star, converting from torsemide to lasix.
4.) ASK don’t TALK – Are you committing the Cardinal Sin of BD, I bet you are… Don’t offer or sell your value proposition before you know what the other side wants to accomplish. ASK lots of questions first; then start your pitch.
5.) Provide as LITTLE Information as Possible – How often have you heard “sounds interesting, send me more information”. Information, Medication lasix cause an enlarged heart, a deal does not close. Until you have buy-in from the other side, don’t waste your time on intricate pitch materials, you’re spinning your wheel and no one’s offering you any cheese.
6.) A Picture is Worth… – When you do send information over, make sure you visually show the benefit to your potential partner. Seeing how you might work together is infinitely more impactful that trying to describe in text, even if you did write the best 6th grade book reports.
7.) Manage the Follow Up Process – Treat you potential BD partners like kids in a summer camp, tell them exactly what you want them to do. Why? Because the other side is busy, and if you leave the follow up to them, it may not get done - schedule follow up meetings, get their phone numbers, be the first to send the contract over, lasix bioavailability, and take the lead on managing all aspects of moving the deal forward.
8.) Please, Persistence and Pressure – In business, the squeaky wheel gets the deal. Your counterparts are busy, so busy in fact that they’re going to forget to do the things needed to get the deal done. Putting pressure on them with follow up emails and calls, & being politely persistent will make sure that they pay attention. And they’ll even thank you for it.
9.) Keep Excitement Up Until the Deal Closes- The idea of doing something together is much more exciting, than actually have to do the work to do something together. The same excitement and enthusiasm that helps open up a new prospect, is needed just as much to see the deal through to the finish line.
10.) The Sale Begins After the Deal is Done – You closed the deal, Nvision atlanta lasix, so what! Now the real work begins. You spent a lot of time and effort making sure this deal went through. Now you need to spend a lot more adding value and making sure you build on that relationship, otherwise it was all for not. The tenth tip makes your better BD last.
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