Start a business online checklist

My vision with this “How to Start Business Step by Step” guide is to give you an overview of the main things that you need to do to launch a business.

Having started my own business a few years ago, I know how hard it can be to take those first steps. There is so much to do that it can leave you feeling overwhelmed, not knowing where you begin. The guide and checklist below should help you to get organised and prompt you to take action!

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. This means, I get a commission if you purchase through my links, at no cost to you.

How to Start Business Checklist

It is much easier to get started when you have a clear plan. This is why you should print out the checklist below, put it somewhere you can see it every day, and start working on it. You don’t need to do it all in one sitting. Even taking the smallest steps will bring you closer to your goal. The important thing is that you keep moving forward!

Breaking up your big goal of starting a business into small, manageable steps will make things seem less overwhelming and will encourage you to take action.

Using the format of a checklist will help you stay on track and keep motivated. I love the satisfaction of an item crossed of my to-do list (and I am hoping you do too!).

Once you have crossed off all the items on your list you will have a clearer vision for your business and an action plan moving forward. Imagine how good it will feel!

Here’s your checklist with the 24 basic steps to start a business:

Click here to download a PDF version of the “How to Start a Business Step by Step” checklist. 

1- Choose a name

It all starts with a name! Choosing your business name can be more difficult than it sounds.

You want to find something that is:

  • Easy to spell
  • Catchy
  • Simple (but not boring)
  • Easy to remember
  • A name that matches your business tone

Read this blog post for more tips on how to choose your business name (and a rundown on some other important admin things to consider)

2 – Define business niche

When you are starting a business, it can pay to spend a bit of time thinking of what your area of specialty is going to be. 

Your business doesn’t have to appeal to the masses, but having a well-defined niche will allow you to present your business in a way that it will truly resonate with your target audience.

RELATED READING: 7 awesome benefits of having a business niche. 

3 – Think about who is your ideal customer

As you get ready to present your business to the world, it is important to think about who your ideal customers are. Every business will have a different audience, and it is key to define yours.

A good way to go about this is to create what we call an “ideal customer avatar.” This just means creating an imaginary person that would represent your ideal customer.

Here are some initial questions and ideas that you can consider when thinking about your ideal customer.

  • What are some key demographics? (age, gender, location)
  • What are their interests/ hobbies?
  • What are their values?
  • What problems/ needs do they have that your business is solving
  • What motivates them to seek out a business like yours?
  • What type of content do they engage with? (blog posts, emails, videos, social media etc)
  • Where would you find them online? (video sites, social media, search engines, etc)

Once you have a clear idea of what your ideal audience looks like, you can think about how to present your business in a way that captures their interest and speaks to the specific problems that they have.

You may have more than one ideal customer, and that is ok! Create more customer avatars to cover all of your main customer types. 

RELATED READING: How to define your ideal customer and why it matters

Free ideal customer avatar template

4 – Define the services that you will offer

Spend some time thinking about the services that you are going to offer. Keep in mind your ideal customer and the problems that you can solve for them. 

It can be a good idea to do some market research, including competitor analysis. Doing market research doesn’t need to be hard! Read this blog post for more information on how to do market research and the questions to ask.

5 – What makes your business different?

As you research what the competition is doing, think about your Unique Selling Point. What makes you different from other similar businesses out there?

You can learn how to identify what makes your business different from the competition in this article

6 – Design your logo

If you don’t already have one, you will need to create a logo for your business. This is an important step as your logo will help establish how your customers perceive your brand. As you are designing your logo, you can think about questions such as:

  • What do you want your logo to say about your brand? 
  • Do you want to portray a serious or more chilled vibe? Refined or casual? Mature or young?
  • What colour and font are you going to use? (more about this below)

7 – Choose colour palette and typography

Apart from your logo, you should define your brand’s colour palette and typography. These will work together to create the style and feel of your brand, so spend some time choosing an option that not only looks good, but also sends the right message to your potential customers.

You can have a look at Canva’s guide to branding for more info and guidance.

It is a good idea to make a record of your final choices once you’ve made your selection. You can use this blank branding sheet to put everything in one place. This will make it easier for you to refer back to when you need to.

Once you have these defined, you can use the same colours and fonts throughout your marketing material to create a cohesive and beautiful look.

Bring your business idea to life!

Get a roadmap to your own service based biz!

8 – Set technical foundations for website

Don’t panic, this may sound a bit intimidating, but it is very easy to organise! To get your website up and running you need a few things:

  • A domain (this is your url)
  • Web hosting (a company that provides you with the technology and services so that your website is displayed online)
  • A content management system (which is the system that allows you to build