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Checklist for Running a Small Business

written by: •edited by: Ronda Bowen•updated: 2/17/2010

For new business owners and entrepreneurs just beginning a business, is there an effective checklist for running a small business? Here at Bright Hub, we want to make both new and existing entrepreneurs succeed. Read on to find out all you need for starting and running a small business.

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    Tips for Running a Small Business

    Both new and existing business owners need some sort of checklist. Often, a good checklist for running a small business can identify weak areas, remind you of items that need to be completed and help you apply for funding. Here, we’ll discuss business basics on starting a business plus how to keep your business running properly.

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    Begin at the Beginning

    It’s very easy for any business owner to go south if they don’t follow a checklist or plan. In our Media Gallery you’ll find a checklist for running and starting a small business to assist you in starting, planning, and running your business. Here are some important steps to keep in mind:

    • Business Vision and Mission – A vision statement should define the “what" your business will do and the mission is the “how" you plan to sell your product or service; or what method you will use. For example, probably one of the best vision statements of all time comes from Levi Strauss: “We will clothe the world." That’s simple and right away people know what they sell—clothes. Their mission statement, defines more of the how they plan to clothe the world: “Four core values are at the heart of Levi Strauss & Co.: Empathy, Originality, Integrity and Courage. These four values are linked. As we look at our history, we see a story of how our core values work together and are the source of our success."
    • Business Plan – Every business needs a plan and even if you have an existing business, your business plan should be updated from time to time to show successes, achievements, and goals for the future. Bright Hub offers many templates for great business plans.
    • Small Business Advice – Both the Small Business Administration and SCORE offer free business advice from experts such as planning, managing, and running your business. Both organizations offer online training and free templates of all kinds..
    • Fund Your Business – Most businesses need startup dollars and existing businesses can always use working capital when times are slow. It’s also a good idea to learn good cash management skills.
    • Bank Accounts – The new business owner will need to set up banking accounts including operating and payroll. All business owners should take time and discuss their banking needs with their bank representative. Do you need a credit card machine or a company credit card? Your bank can help with both of these and your banking system should be reviewed from time to time to ensure you getting the best services.
    • Licenses and Permits – Not only will you need to get a federal tax identification number, you will need a department of labor number, sales tax license, city or town license, and industry specific permits or licenses. Most states have an economic development department online where you can find all the required licenses you need as well as where and how to obtain them.
    • Insurance – Along with business liability insurance, you will need workman’s compensation insurance, life insurance and health insurance. Ask your insurance broker to shop around for the best policy. A good business liability policy should cover everything under an umbrella policy including employee theft, errors and omissions, officer liability, property damage, and any business autos you have.

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    Use a Good Checklist

    When you first open a business or if you have an existing business, in order for things to flow smoothly you need a checklist for running a small business. Even existing business owners should review their checklists from time to time to ensure expenses are lower than profits, vendors are offering the best prices, and your human resource needs are in place. Again, you can find a Checklist for Planning and Running a Small Business in our Media Gallery.