Now as anyone who has ever started a business knows there are a million steps to getting started. You have a logo to design, colors to pick, leases to sign, office chairs to buy, staff to hire, marketing and branding to build out, product to test and the list goes on. We are accountants so we can't help with that. DON'T let me help pick font. What we can help with is the brass tacks of getting going. Here are the first steps for MOST people getting started.
1. Validate your concept and commit to moving forward.
2. If you have a partner sort out the basics of your operating agreement. Seek legal counsel to formalize this in connection to step 3.
3. Pick a name – research the name to be sure the trademark, entity name, and website are available before you commit to it.
4. Seek council from your accountant and tax advisors as to the best entity type for you. Everyone is different. Depending on the complexity of your situation and business different advice may apply. Don't ask a friend. This is not the time for Google.
5. Apply for a federal EIN
6. If you are an LLC or Inc Register with the states where you will be in business with their secretary of state.
7. If you are a sole prop or doing business as a name other than your entity name register your DBA with the town.
8. Open a bank account the EIN, DBA and Articles of Inc are required for this.
9. Fund your account. If you have investors keep detailed records of the investments or loans and maintain original copies of all agreements. This is a good stage to be sure you have a bookkeeper on board.
10. Order check stock.
11. Buy your insurances. Nearly every business needs insurance of some kind. Meet with a broker. Get your insurances in line and in the name of your entity.
12. If you will have employees register with the state(s) where you will have employees to file and pay payroll taxes.
13. Set up your trustee taxes (Sales, Meals, Use) with the states where it is applicable. In some states this can be done when you set up your payroll taxes.
14. Set up your bookkeeping and a plan for keeping those records.
Good luck on the adventure!