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Entrepreneur Mom

with Aliza Sherman

If you own a business - home-based or otherwise - this is the blog where you'll find practical tips and smart ideas about entrepreneurship. I've started and run 4 different businesses so "been there, done that." I'll also invite successful entrepreneurs to share their best advice with you.

To learn more about Aliza, check out her profile on Work It, Mom! and her website,

Biz 101 - Part 4: The New Entrepreneur’s Quick Startup Checklist

Categories: Biz Nuts & Bolts


You have a business idea, you’ve tested it out a bit and done some market research, you have a business name and you are ready to get started. Here are some things to consider as you start a business:

1. Structure - Check with both your accountant and a lawyer about the best way to structure your business (sole proprietorship, LLC, corporation).

2. Bookkeeping - Hire a bookkeeper or accountant to set up your company’s books.

3. Intellectual Property - Turn to a lawyer to help define and protect copyrights and trademarks, including your company name.

4. Equipment - Once your bookkeeper or accountant has set up your books, make key equipment purchases keeping your business expenses separate from your personal ones. You probably want to have at least a computer and a color printer.

5. Telecommunications - Many new entrepreneurs obtain a cell phone for their business communications instead of a land line. Or look into services that provide you with a single number to reach you wherever you might be - such as

6. Internet - Don’t bother with dialup unless you plan on doing nothing online other than the occasional e-mail. Go for a bundled package of services from your cable or phone company for cable modem or DSL.

7. Collateral - If you aren’t a designer, you’ll save yourself time and even money in the long run by hiring a graphic designer to prepare your print collateral material, but don’t go overboard with paper. Business cards are essentials but be strategic about letterhead, 3-fold brochures, etc. Letterhead, for example, can be printed on a good color printer using a template file produced by your designer.

8. Web Site - You don’t need to pull out all the stops with your Web site if you are an offline company looking to establish a professional presence online. But if you are a predominantly online business, make sure you invest in your site.

9. Advisors - If you incorporate, you’ll need to establish a Board of Directors. But even if you don’t, remember to put together an advisory board to be your sounding board and network of support.

10. Space - Don’t blow the bank on a big office space if you don’t even have clients. Carve at a space at home and for important meetings, look into local businesses that rent office space by the hour or day or borrow a meeting room from a friend or colleague.

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3 comments so far...

  • Adding to 5. above, works very well, and is very cost effective and efficient, and is another great option for telecommunications.

    The big plus about this system, is that it makes your business sound much larger than it may be, since it has extensive features, plus music on hold, 1800 incoming calls and faxes, extensions for staff, recorded calls, etc.

    Barry Boese  |  October 19th, 2007 at 2:39 pm

  • so i know you need a good lawyer and accountant to help make sure everything you are doing is right and legal. But how do you go about finding a good one? What should we look for/stay away from? and how much should the services cost? what is ‘too good to be true’ cheap and overpriced? Thank you!!

    Kate  |  October 19th, 2007 at 4:16 pm

  • Kate - I’ll address your questions on Thursday! Stop by then to see my advice and the advice from several other mom entrepreneurs.

    Aliza  |  October 23rd, 2007 at 10:19 pm