A P and an F designed to look like an open book and resemble a graduation cap

The First Steps to Starting Your Own Business: A Checklist

If you've made the decision to start your own online business and you've gone through the initial planning process, you might think it's time to start doing business - but before you official turn your figurative "closed" sign to "open", you'll want to take a look at this checklist to prepare your business for success!

Penn Foster blog author icon.

Penn Foster

You already know why you want to start an online business and you’ve gone through the initial planning process. You know what you want to sell or what services you’re offering, you’ve got everything stocked and you’ve got your paperwork and business plan in order. Time to start doing business! But before you officially turn your figurative “closed” sign to “open” on your shop, make sure you really do have everything in place. Take a look at this checklist to prepare your business for success.

  • What’s your business name? You probably already know, but just in case, do a Google search to see if anyone else has a similar business name and product online. You don’t want to lose business because a potential customer found what they needed from a competitor first.
  • Register your domain name. This is something else you have probably already taken care of but it never hurts to double check! If you haven’t already, make sure you have your website ready to go! If you’re using a site like Etsy, Amazon, or Ebay instead of creating your own, make sure you understand the terms and conditions and what percentage you may be paying to those sites for any sales.
  • Build your brand. A unique name, color scheme, and font on your website or online shop can differentiate you from others who are selling the same services or items. Even the language you use in social media posts can give potential clients and customers an idea of who you are before they get to your website.
  • Start marketing early. Before you officially open, you want to make sure you have the word out! You can tease the opening date when your shop will go live or start engaging potential clients with information about your business. If you have personal social media pages, make sure you create separate accounts for your business. Having a business page will make your clients have a little more trust in your services, as well as keeping things neat and separate from your personal life.
  • Make sure you have all the necessary tax IDs and paperwork. Depending on whether or not you’ll have employees and how much money you’re hoping to make, you want to be compliant with all local, state, and federal laws. Before you make your first sale, check with your local state office to make sure your paperwork is in order.
  • Don’t stress if you’re not an overnight sensation! It takes time to build a business and customer base, online or in real life. Give it time before you chalk up this endeavor as a failure.

Like with any business, you want to be as prepared as possible when you open or “go live.” Since you’ve invested your time, money, and passion into getting this off the ground, side hustle or no, you don’t want to risk forgetting a vital task before you open. If you’re worried about getting started and feel more prepared, consider taking an online course that will walk you through the basics of being your own boss!

Popular Posts