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Small Business Startup ChecklistThis is a checklist for small businesses in the startup phase. When I started my online business several years ago I had to use a similar process. My experience as a logo designer has given me the opportunity to work with many small business owners. I have learned what I think are the most important things that you need to do when starting an online business. A business startup that is a brick and mortar operation may require a different checklist. My small business startup checklist does not include things like licensees, scouting business locations, and additional tasks that would need to be completed in order to start this type of small business.
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Brainstorm business ideas - You should think about businesses that use skills you already have first.
Name your business - Coming up with a business name is very important to the success of your small business. Make sure the .com domain name is available for the business name you choose. You will also want to check if the business name infringes on any other businesses.
Write a business plan - Giving your small business a solid foundation on paper will help it keep that foundation in real life.
Come up with a strong marketing plan - Just because you built it does not mean customers will automatically come. The marketing of your business will have a big determination on whether you small business succeeds.
Get a logo - Every small business needs a logo. Even if it is just the lettering of your business, a logo needs to be created. A logo is your small businesses identity. You should not spend a fortune on your logo. There are many online websites where you can get a logo design for your business. You could also think about starting a logo contest which would get your business a little extra promotion. Some famous logos were created by the owners of the business. The original idea for the Mercedes logo was designed by the founder of the business. The Logo Contests web site has an online logo contest. Small business owners can sketch their design and possible win the chance to have it recreated by a professional logo designer.
Have professional stationery made - Stationery gives your small business a professional look. Professionalism goes a long way to getting potential customers to trust your company. Business cards are a great marketing tool.
Get a phone number strictly for your business - A phone number for your business is important. It does not need to be a toll free number.
Buy a domain name - The next step after this is starting up a web site which can not happen until you have a domain name. Your small business web site should have a .com domain name. Preferably it will be the name of your business. You can buy a domain name for under $8.
Startup a web site - A web site is the face of your online business. Most online business will use their website as the way they make money. The best way to accept payment online is by using a third party payment processor. Gumroad and PayPal are the two payment processors I recommend.
Begin advertising your business - The first customer is always the hardest.
Congratulations - You are now an online business.
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