Starting a Florida Business Checklist

January 17, 2009 by  
Filed under start-a-florida-business

Before you start your Florida business have a look at this checklist and print it out. This is generally the flow of events that happens when businesses are started.

Entrepreneur’s Checklist for Starting a New Business in Florida

Preliminary Research:

  • Assess your interests. Ask yourself – “Am I totally invested in making this Florida business work, grow, and be successful? You must answer, “Yes!” Starting a business and making it successful is a multi-year effort in most cases. Are you ready to start your business?
  • Discover your strengths. What can you do yourself? What might you need to outsource? What resources do you have to call on? What software or applications might you need to get familiar with in order to launch your business? In order to build it? In order to be very successful? Many business owners discover they need to learn new skills constantly in order to keep their Florida business moving forward. Are you ready to do that?
  • Note your weaknesses. What things are you just not good at and have no interest in learning? If they’re skills essential to your new Florida business someone will need to learn them and master them. Who? Are you good at accounting and following all the IRS rules required to operate your business? Are you a “details person” or a “big picture person?” You need both to survive in the business world. Who will be the things you’re not? Businesses don’t survive as a sole proprietorship – even if that’s what it is. You must have others’ help. Figure out what you need help with before you start.
  • Create your business and personal goals. New business owners often let the business destroy their personal lives in pursuit of greatness. That might be OK in your mind. Define your business goals and personal goals. Find a balance, or agree to exploit your business goals as your primary importance. Make sure your family is on-board for the ride!
  • Take a realistic look at your financial resources. Can you afford to start a business at this point? Can you afford not to? Can you continue to work full time or part time for someone else in order to fund your new business until it can stand on it’s own? Or, do you have some genuine success already that will rocket you past the initial hard times intrinsic to any new business?
  • Identify the  financial risk involved with starting your business. If you went completely bankrupt – what then? Have a fall back plan.
  • Add up all the start-up costs that will affect you. Don’t underplay, overestimate costs if anything. One of the biggest problems with new Florida startups is that they underestimate the true costs of continuing their business during the initial months and years. Above all, be realistic about what your Florida business will cost and how much effort you’ll spend making it work.
  • Choose a business location. Location. Location. Location. That’s the phrase used by real estate agents to stress the importance of home and business value. Initially though you may need to choose a less than ideal location to get started. Can you use a warehouse instead? Your apartment? Mom’s garage? You can always move up to new digs once you have the ball rolling downhill and gaining speed.
  • Do competitive research. As much as possible find out what your competitors are doing and offering. Find out where their strengths and weaknesses are and exploit them. Make your business product and services better by 100%. CARE about your customers more than anything else and you will be on the way to success.
  • Identify present, past, and future customers. Again, be realistic.
  • Develop a traditional and online marketing plan. You can use online marketing for SOMETHING even if your business appears to have nothing to do with online activities. Yellodevelop a marketing plan

Business transactions:

  • Choose a form of organization (proprietorship, partnership, or corporation, for example). We have online forms to register your Florida corporation here: Profit CorpNonProfit CorpSubchapter S CorpLLC.
  • Incorporate your business to protect your personal assets from being liquidated in the case of legal action. Florida incorporation will give your business certain tax benefits as well. When you’re ready to incorporate your Florida business visit us here.
  • Choose an accountant that is familiar with your type of business. This person can save you hundreds and thousands of dollars and is worth their cost. Choose a business accountant based on a referral from a friend if possible.
  • Create a solid, comprehensive business plan. Not only will this guide you as you move forward with your business – it shows investors that you’re serious about making your business work. If you don’t create a business plan at the start of your business you will likely not do one later and suffer in various ways because of it.
  • Choose a bank with business checking – and online account management.
  • Apply for business loans if needed.
  • Find lines of credit
  • Choose your insurance agent for the business.

Initial Steps:

  • Create business cards, flyers, other promotional material you can hand out in person to potential customers or contacts.
  • Create a business web presence and if creating a presence online and finding customers online is an issue – involve a search engine optimization expert at the beginning of the process, not as an after-thought.
  • Research local business codes
  • Secure your office lease
  • Solidify supplier connections if needed.
  • Choose furniture and equipment. If computers are needed you probably DON’T need top of the line technology. Don’t blow $ on tech you don’t need.
  • Apply for necessary business licenses or permits from local, state and national authorities if needed.
  • Get a federal employer identification number (FEIN) We can help you with this if you incorporate with us. (free)
  • Get a state employer ID number if required.
  • Send for federal and state tax forms
  • Join professional organizations like chamber of commerce, or other groups in your local area (and online) relating to your business. The more social you are, the more your business will thrive. Many Florida business owners don’t understand this concept. Many don’t like to be social. You either need to be social or find someone that can represent your company for you.
  • Choose a start date!
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