Congratulations on starting your new business! Hopefully you’ve worked with a good business attorney such as myself and an accountant to find and set up the proper legal entity. So now what? Here’s a new business checklist.
One thing I’ve seen with small business owners is that they don’t realize the additional steps necessary to get their business operating legally and efficiently after they “set up” their business. Here’s a short business checklist, by no means inclusive, as to “now what?”
• Get a tax I.D. number. It can be done almost instantly at the IRS’ website. Just have your business records available (your state registration and such) and you’ve got yourself an FEIN.
• Make your “subchapter S election”. This allows for pass-through taxation of eligible business entities. It gets complicated, and if you plan on operating under subchapter S your business needs to be formed properly to make it eligible. Consult a knowledgable business attorney such as myself, who will also consult with your account to determine eligibility.
• Start A Corporate Record Book. In the old days lawyers would order these beautiful, durable red binders for a client’s newly formed corporate records (such as By-Laws, Articles of Incorporation) and an embossing stamp for sealing official documents. One can still do that and it’s not unusual. However, as everything goes tech, you can also maintain your official business documents in a secure, digital form. Just be sure that only authorized persons can modify the documents when required, and be sure to keep backups.
• Set up an accounting system to track share ownership, capital contributions, paid-in capital.
• Get local and state business licenses (as applicable). If your business is regulated by the state and you need a separate license for the business, make sure you fill in the blanks and get that business entity license.
This is a pretty good task list to get your newly formed business up and running, but there’s plenty more to do, legal, accounting and otherwise. Be sure to consult with experienced attorneys and accountants for proper advice for your circumstance.