Checklist for Starting Your Home Business
By Lesley Spencer

Once you have decided on your
home business, you will need to
take steps to set it up. The following
checklist should help you get your
business off the ground.

> Before you begin your home business, check the zoning ordinances in your
Call your city or county government (usually the planning department,
building inspector or zoning administrator) to check zoning rules. Your
neighborhood also may have restrictions.

> Decide if you will be incorporated. Talk to a lawyer and check out books on the
subject such as, John Kirk, Incorporating Your Business, TPR Publishing. Also
decide if you will need patents, trademarks or copyrights on your work.

> If you will be incorporated, a partnership or have employees, obtain an
Employer's Identification Number (EIN) through the IRS.
Also if you have
employees, call the Employment Commission for information on unemployment
taxes you must pay.

> Determine if you should charge sales tax on your product or service (by calling
the State Comptroller's office in most states).

> Register your business name. Contact your county courthouse. (DBA -- Doing
Business As)

> Obtain any state or federal licenses if required by your business.

> Set up your business checking and savings accounts.
You may want to deduct a
percentage of your earnings to set aside for taxes. Shop around for banks that don't
charge monthly fees (such as credit unions).

> Obtain a separate business telephone line.

> Order business stationary and cards.
If you need small quantities, consider using
pre-printed paper.

> Talk to your insurance company about additional insurance to cover your
business equipment, inventory, liability, etc.

> Meet with a CPA regarding tax and accounting issues. They may be able to point
out deductions you may be eligible for and help you better understand tax issues.

> Keep complete and separate records for your business. Record each sale, invoice,
receipt, payroll, expense, etc. Keep copies of all receipts, invoices, cancelled checks,
etc. Record your business mileage in a daily log book that you keep in your vehicle.

Be prepared to start your home business by:

1. Developing a business plan.

2. Making contacts and networking for clients and customers before you begin your
home business.

3. Checking on health insurance costs and options.

4. Running your business part-time if you need the security of your job.

5. Have financial resources if needed to carry you through the first several months
of starting your business.

About the author: Lesley Spencer is founder and director of the, Inc. Network
which includes: the national association of Home-Based Working Moms (,
Mom’s Work-at-Home Kit, the eDirectory of Home Based Careers,
Mom's Work-at-Home Site and HBWM Canada. She has a Master's Degree in Public
Relations and has been featured in numerous publications including Forbes, Wall Street
Journal, USA Today, Home Office Computing, Parenting, Business Start-Ups, Family PC
and many others.
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