Steps to Starting a Small Business

Starting a new business means more than just ownership. Launching your own startup entails dealing with various amounts of paperwork and compliance at the state, federal, and local levels, as well. Additionally, there will come a day when you hope to expand your small business into something much greater.

Below are several helpful resources designed to arm entrepreneurs with a wealth of information on building a new business. Tick off items on a small business or startup checklist, browse industry best-practices on forming your own business, or determine for yourself what business structure best benefits your enterprise.

10 Steps to Starting a Business: Video Transcript

  1. Write a business plan. Form goals and objectives for your new company. Start with a detailed outline of what you plan to accomplish. This is the first of many steps to starting a business.
  2. Set up a legal business structure. Setting your company up as a corporation or LLC are popular entity structures for many small businesses. This protects owners' personal assets from business debts and liabilities. Additionally, incorporating can provide credibility and tax benefits. Let help you cross this item off your business startup checklist.
  3. Obtain start-up capital. Whether you use your own savings or obtain loans, starting a business requires money. The loan process can take months to check off your business startup checklist, so start early. Lenders often request a completed business plan prior to approval of funding.
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Other Tasks to Consider

  1. Appoint a Registered Agent. Businesses must maintain an address for service of process where legal documents can be received. provides Registered Agent service for all companies that we form. This is an important, often overlooked, task on a business startup checklist.
  2. Satisfy insurance requirements. Incorporating or forming an LLC does not provide a company with business insurance. Most companies obtain general business insurance from an insurance provider. Corporations and LLCs that hire employees also typically obtain unemployment and workers compensation insurance.
  3. Complete additional filings as needed. Companies that expand to do business outside their original state of incorporation or LLC formation generally register in those additional states. can assist with these registration filings, also called "qualifications." Amendments can also be filed if the information listed on the formation document, like the legal name of the company or address, changes.
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