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Starting a Business Checklist

Have you done everything you need to do to launch your business? Review this checklist to make sure nothing’s been overlooked.

A 12-step essential checklist for your business


1. Choose a business type

There are four main types of business:

  • Sole proprietorship
  • Partnership (Limited or Limited Liability)
  • Limited Liability Corporation (LLC)
  • Corporation (C corp and S corp)

Here is a basic view of business structure differences.


2. Give your business a perfect name

  • Choose an entity name, which determines how your business is recognized by your customers and government entities. This also offers name protection at the state level.
  • A trademark protects your business name and products at the federal level. Make sure your business or product name is not already trademarked by checking here. Then refer to this trademark explanation and how to apply.
  • Doing Business As (DBA) doesn’t give legal protection, but might be legally required. A DBA lets you conduct business under a different identity from your own personal name or your formal business entity name. As an added bonus, getting a DBA and federal tax ID number (EIN) allows you to open a business bank account.
  • A domain name secures your business website address, or URL. Consult a registrar, such as, to see which domains are available.

Additional resources

Understanding the Difference Between Domain Names, Business Entity Names, and Trademarks


3. Write your business plan

Investors and banks will ask for a business plan before committing to your business. Take the time to write a successful business plan with the help of our business plan resources.

There are two main types of business plans. A traditional one is more elaborate and contains detailed information, including an executive summary, company description, market analysis, organization and management, and service or product lines. Another option is a lean startup business plan, which summarizes the key information in your plan including partnerships, resources, cost structure, and a value proposition. More information is here.

Before starting, think about the following questions:

  1. What kind of services or products does your business provide and why is it unique?
  2. What are the targeted customer types of your business?
  3. How are you going to market your business?
  4. How much money are you asking for and how do you come to this number?

Additional resources

What Are the Main Purposes of a Business Plan?

6 Types of Business Plans


4. Register your LLC or S-Corporation 

After you decide your business type and name, register your business. Here’s how to do it. The fee varies based on your business, and state, but will usually run around $300 or less.

Additional resources

Corporation Formation Fees by State

Register Your Business in Connecticut


5. Get a registered agent 

LLCs and corporations are required to have a registered agent with a physical address (not a P.O. Box) during normal business hours to receive important documents on behalf of the business.

The registered agent must:

  • Be physically located in your state of formation
  • Be present at that address continuously during business hours
  • Keep their name and address current with the state

In addition, the registered agent’s information will become public and can easily be searchable. 

Additional resources

Should You Hire a Registered Agent or Be Your Own?


6. Find your NAICS code(s)

The North American Industry Classification System is a standard used by federal statistical agencies to collect, analyze, and report data related to the U.S. business economy. This code provides useful information to government agencies and trade associations, and it’s also important for tax incentives. Any government business must be registered on

In the “2017 NAICS Search box” on the left side of this page, enter a keyword that describes your kind of business. A list of primary business activities containing that keyword and the corresponding NAICS codes will appear.

Additional resources

An Introduction to NAICS Codes

Frequently Asked Questions About NAICS Codes


7. Get Employer Identification Number (EIN)

EIN is your state tax ID and federal tax ID number. It’s like a Social Security number for your business so it can contribute to state and federal taxes.

It’s important that you apply for it after you register your business. U.S. citizens/residents, apply here. Non-US residents: follow the instructions here.

A state tax ID number is needed to pay income and employment taxes, depending on your state regulation. Check with your state website to learn how to file state tax (online or through mail/paper).

Additional resources

Connecticut State Business Taxes


9. Apply for licenses and permits

You will need licenses and permits from both federal and state agencies. The requirements — and fees — vary based on your business activities, location, and government rules. Here is a list of federal license and permits based on business activities.

Check with your state website to learn what license and permits you will need for states.

Additional resources

Connecticut Business Registration and Licensing 


8. Get a U.S. mailing address (if necessary)

Most banks require a U.S. address to set up a business bank account, so you can provide your business address as a mailing address. However, you can also opt to use a virtual business address instead.


9. Open a U.S. business bank account

After getting your EIN, you can open your business account (saving, debit, credit, and merchant accounts to receive customer payments) by preparing the following documents: 

  • EIN letter from the IRS 
  • Copy of Articles of Organization
  • Ownership Agreements (operating agreement if it’s an LLC)
  • Passport

Some banks might require an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number for non-U.S. residents.

Keep your business and personal bank accounts separate to protect liability.

Be careful! Nobody should open a bank account for you. Any person or company offering this service may be a scam.


10. Get business insurance (if necessary)

Business insurance protects you from the unexpected costs of running a business. Accidents, natural disasters, and lawsuits could drive you out of business if you’re not protected with the right insurance.

Additional resources

What Insurances Are Needed to Start a Business?

Four Steps to Buy Business Insurance 


11. Understand your tax responsibilities and file your taxes

Consult with an accountant to ensure that you file your taxes on time and to set up payroll if needed.


12. Consult with lawyers and accountants that may help you

After your successfully launch your business, maintain your company and pay annual fees on time, make sure you’re complying with city or county requirements, and consult with a business lawyer.


External Resources