Where to Start When Starting a Business

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Katie Fleming

Co-founder and COO of Owner Actions

A cafe manager smiles confidently after starting a business with his free checklist

When you’re starting a business, you need a plan—a checklist—that will help you stay organized and ensure that you’re covering your bases. A checklist can help you as you grapple with some of these questions:

How do I get started?
When should I get started?
What do I need to do now, next, and far into the future?
What mistakes do I need to avoid?
Who do I need on my team?
How much is this going to cost me?
And importantly, how (and when) will I earn back my investment?

Whether you already have an idea or are thinking through options, we can guide you through the steps you need to take to achieve your goal of starting a business.


What are the first steps to starting a business (I need a checklist!)?

Here’s what you can do today:

  1. Sign up for your free Owner Actions account, and answer some questions about the path you’re thinking of taking. We’ll provide you with a customized checklist of the actions you need to take when starting your business.

Take me there


  1. Read up on the checklist steps you’ll need to take when starting your small business. Our Prepare for Startup library is a great place to start. These specific articles may help you think through some topics to keep in mind when starting a business:
A person looks thoughtfully at a series of question marks while thinking of a name for a businessStrategies for Naming Your Business. In this article, you’ll find pro tips on choosing the name your company will use to market to its customers. The keys, of course, are to make it short but descriptive and easy to remember, but there is more to keep in mind.
Choose a Business Structure. Lots of businesses start as a sole proprietorship. That means their business is unincorporated, and the business and the person behind can be viewed as one and the same. There are some drawbacks to doing this—and, fortunately, some other structures that overcome them. Learn more with this guide.
A person uses a computerHow to Register Your Business with State and Local Governments. Your business isn’t official until you register it. Learn the steps you need to take to ensure it’s recognized.
A person reads from a computer screenEstimating Startup Costs. How much will it cost to start your business? There are certainly a lot of upfront expenses to factor in. Learn about these costs, what they might amount to, and the resources you can use to cover them.
A person sits at a desk reviewing options for financing an acquisitionYour Go-to Guide to Raising Capital for Your Small Business. Not everyone has a massive savings account they can pull from to invest in a business. Check out other sources of funding you can consider to cover your early-stage costs.
  1. Start thinking about who you need on your team to get your business started strong. We can help you find an accountant, attorney, and others who are experts in their field. But before getting started, be sure to read these articles:
A small business accountant holds a calculatorThinking of Hiring an Accountant? Start Here.
A person sitting at a table with a computer and smiling at the camera Description automatically generatedEvery Small Business Needs an Attorney. Here’s Why.


Three simple steps will bring you closer to your goal of starting and owning a small business.


Ready to build your free checklist for starting a business?

Looking for more support through startup? Create your free Owner Actions portal, complete with a customized checklist for starting your business and curated articles, here.

You can also explore our startup library and read up on some of the tasks you’ll take on. For many, these will include creating a hiring plan, creating job postings, vetting applicants, and bringing highly qualified people on board. For some, there are location tasks to take on that include deciding whether to buy or lease, finding a site, forming a plan to cover the costs, and insuring it. And, certainly, you’ll want to create a business plan that can not only help you attain lender financing but can also be a great tool for firming up your vision.

Want to take on other tasks?

Owners like you love our free step-by-step guides. Build one that's customized to your goals.



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