Start-Up Legal and Licensing To-Do List for Small Businesses

While adhering to the many laws and ordinances that govern start-up businesses may seem daunting at first, you will have to start somewhere. Here is a basic to-do list for getting started on your way to having a legal business:

  • Set up a filing system for all documents.
  • Get letterhead stationary, business cards, and all necessary printed matter, including standard contracts, invoices, and receipts printed with the company or corporate name.
  • Set a policy that all contracts and business agreements of any type will be in writing and that there will be a written record of each and every transaction.
  • Obtain all necessary local business licenses and permits, then display as required.
  • Make sure that all personal licenses necessary for your business have been obtained and are displayed as required by state law.
  • Review local zoning ordinances and file any specific documents that are deemed necessary.
  • Obtain your Employee Identification Number, Federal Employer ID Number, and State Employer ID Number before hiring employees.
  • Make sure to have all necessary employment documentation, including IRS forms W-2 and I-9, available for new employees.
  • Establish all personnel policies prior to hiring employees.
  • Have all necessary tax documents on hand and review them.

Since obtaining some licenses and permits may take several weeks, it is to your advantage to start well in advance of your projected grand opening or launch date.