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Business, 4 MIN READ

Startup Checklist

30 Steps
from Idea to Success

August 5, 2019
ALEX SLOBOZHAN
Today we share our starting a business checklist. We have developed it based on David Rose's The Startup Checklist, advice by Entrepreneur, Fundable, Atomic Squirrel, and others. We've attempted to make this list as comprehensive and detailed as possible. However, all startups and niches are different, and you might need to add a few extra points to our list. If so, please, share your additions in the comment sections.
This is not a guidebook or an ultimate instruction manual on how to start a business from scratch. Instead, it is a handy list of all the things you need to remember when you are set on starting a company. We won't go into much detail on any of the points but will provide links to helpful resources that will provide the necessary information.

Instead of a business startup timeline, we split the checklist into blocks dealing with specific issues: legal, financial, or HR-related. You can and should combine some points on this list and complete them in parallel, especially if you are lucky enough to have a cofounder. Splitting the tasks on our starting a business checklist between team members will see you launch and succeed before you know it.

Startup Idea

Business ideas are a dime a dozen nowadays. In fact, even startup incubators have RFS (request for startup) lists that outline concepts they are willing to fund and nurture. You can use one of these or come up with your unique idea. While you are still pumped with the exhilaration of a chance to change the world, go over these steps to ensure your idea is worthy of your time and money. You should

  1. Validate the idea. Ensure it solves a real-life problem, and you can monetize it.
  2. Check the idea for viability. Ensure there is a solution to the problem and that you can solve it.
  3. Evaluate market size. Get an idea of the potential target audience and competition.
  4. Learn how to start a business. Expand your reading list, use online courses, network.
  5. Prepare your family and friends. Explain your new commitment and get everyone on board.
  6. Be sure you want this. Be honest with yourself about your motivation and goals before you move forward.

Team Lineup

Whether you start an offline or an online business, you will need a team to work on it. Even if you feel you can do everything on your own and have no money to hire anyone, you need at least a second pair of eyes on all decisions. Think about Internet giants, such as Google, Apple, or Microsoft, that all started with a two-person team. Moreover, investors are 30% more likely to fund your venture if you have a co-founder.

So before you move any further with your business idea

  1. Establish a founding team. Get one or more people to help you manage responsibilities and balance business decisions.
  2. Nurture a business culture. Identify startup mission and values, keep them in mind during development, and use them in marketing.
  3. Set up a communication framework. Decide on the preferred modes of communication, create meeting templates, start a wiki.
  4. Select project management and issue tracking tools. Keep track of the development progress and identify bottlenecks.
  5. Hire an outsourcing technical partner. Split the tasks between the in-house and offshore teams for increased efficiency and budget savings.
startup team

Legal Considerations

When starting a business in the USA or anywhere else in the world, you will face dozens of legal decisions. Instead of wasting your time on translating legalese into English, find a competent attorney, and ask for advice. Better yet, hire a legal advisor to handle delicate legal matters. You can even negotiate a deferred payment or offer stocks for their services if your budget cannot handle attorney's charges. Follow our starting a business checklist to avoid legal and regulatory troubles. While there are many more possible precautions, you should at least
  1. Find a lawyer. Set them to take care of incorporation, licenses, permits, contracts, and intellectual property ownership.
  2. Allocate equity. Split equity among the founding team members that are interested in the long-term success to avoid future misunderstandings.
  3. Get employer ID numbers. Remember both federal and state requirements.
  4. Research and set up the business insurance policies. Get property and general liability insurance, as well as a business owner's policy.

Financial Issues

Running out of money is among the main reasons small business owners fail. However, our starting a business checklist accounts for more than just fundraising.
Your financial strategy should include everything from fundraising and accounting to exit options.
If you have several backup plans to get you out of financial troubles, your startup is more likely to succeed. To avoid money issues as a startup founder, you should
  1. Hire an accountant. Set up an accounting system to streamline and automate financial and tax reports.
  2. Get a business bank account and credit card. Keep your personal and business finances separate for easy reporting.
  3. Write a business plan. Consider your monetization options and design a strategy.
  4. Create a pitch set. Craft your fundraising elevator pitch, executive summary, and pitch deck.
  5. Update your founding team's online profiles. Make your Facebook and LinkedIn professional and investor-ready.
  6. Raise money. Choose between bootstrapping, loans, equity financing, crowdfunding, or their combination.
  7. Keep exit options open. Be ready to sell your company, go public, or keep running the business in perpetuity.

Product and Business Opportunities

Most tips on starting a business deal only with this category, avoiding the complications of dealing with legal and financial issues, or finding a reliable offshore IT vendor. Our online business startup checklist has already taken you through these hurdles, and now it's time to focus on turning your idea into a marketable and profitable product. This process requires you to
  1. Develop a minimum viable product. Use a prototype, design mockups, or an MVP for fundraising and getting first adopters' feedback.
  2. Work on branding. Establish a company image and keep to it when communicating with customers.
  3. Prioritize user-centric UX/UI design. Work on personas and user stories to make the product intuitive and user-friendly, go through usability testing.
  4. Choose marketing channels. Consider SEO, SMM, PR, the word of mouth, and their combinations for maximum awareness.
  5. Develop a business launch strategy. Harness this opportunity to carve out a market share and gain the target audience's attention.
  6. Set up distribution channels. Select online and offline sales platforms or establish an automated sales system.
  7. Harness the data. Collect and analyze data on product performance, including acquisition, activation, retention, referral, and revenue.
  8. Scale up your offer. Consider adding new features or expanding to new markets once MVP development pays for itself and starts generating profit.
startup success
In this starting a business checklist, we have tried to answer the WHAT of setting up a business in the USA or elsewhere. We'll explain the HOW in future posts, one point at a time, so stay tuned and sign up for updates. If you are already halfway through this checklist and are now looking for an IT vendor to help with MVP development, FreshCode is a reliable choice, trusted by startups across the globe.
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