New Business Checklist

Dear M & M:

Is there any sort of a checklist to start a new business?

– Jack

Dear Jack:

As each business is unique there are always items for your particular business idea that won’t be on any list. However, the Arizona Commerce Authority has a pretty good checklist that will accomplish most of the steps to get you off on the right start. From conception, to starting, to operating, to growing each of the following steps on what you need to know for business assistance can be found at their web site  www.azcommerce.com/smallbiz . Click on the links “Step-by-Step Checklist to Start, Operate and Grow a Business in Arizona.

Below are some of the items one needs to check off that list developed by the Arizona Commerce Authority; Step one: Find out all you can know about your industry, target market and competition, finish a written business plan with financial statements on your idea, and establish financing or access to capital. Retain appropriate professional help such as an attorney, CPA, insurance agent, banker, business planner, health department professionals, planning and zoning engineers, etc. Naming your business should always receive consideration, checking availability to register your trade name and researching domain name to build your web site can be as important as choosing a location and legal entity. Choosing a web designer and plugging into the various forms of social media available is becoming more important daily.

Remember there are many things one can do online to market your business before you launch. Other areas to  check on fall under permits or local licensing requirements and would include items like zoning ordinances, occupancy permits, building permits, sign permits, in store music regulations, business licensing, and any other licensing permits needed for city, county or state. Additional licensing requirements could be special industry or professional related licensing required that are controlled like lottery licensing, liquor licensing, hairdresser or a contractor’s license to do construction, plumbing or electrical work to name a few.

A Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN), Arizona Employer Identification Number, and your Transaction Privilege licenses (TPT) arguably will be the three most used licenses to identify your business and the transactions you make. Obtaining workman’s comp insurance and meeting with a bookkeeper, CPA or payroll special is another very important step. Setting up a bookkeeping and recordkeeping system to enable you to monitor profit and loss, pay taxes when they are due and establishing a method to control inventory is very critical and should not be done down the road or months after you have started.  Finding a bank right for you, choosing a third party to process credit cards and developing a recordkeeping system and method to control inventory is another important step. The above examples are just some of the items most businesses need to do to open their doors. As always Cochise College Small Business Development Center is a resource you can tap into for any questions you might have. They can be reached by calling 520-515-5478 to set up a one-on-one session with a counselor.

 -M&M

To ask your questions: Call the Small Business Development Center(SBDC) at Cochise College (520)-515-5478 or email schmittm@cochise.edu or contact the Sierra Vista Economic Development Foundation (EDF) at 520-458-6948 or email  hollism@svedf.org .

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