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Small Business Checklist: Steps to Start a Small Business

by | Sep 30, 2020

Small Business Checklist: Steps to Start a Small BusinessStarting your own business might sound like a lot of tasks in hand, but it is not. India is one of the most prolific start-up regions in the world. Nearly 4000 start-up businesses emerge from innovative entrepreneurs every year. However, it is said that about nine out of ten small businesses fail in India. Business owners primarily fail in taking the right steps in the initial stages of establishment.

Business owners must create and work on successful strategies from the beginning. There are various things to know about a business before you comprehend an effective method to start and run a successful business in India. This article is a part of our comprehensive business guide. It will walk you through a quick small business checklist and steps to start a small business.

Steps to Start a Small Business – Checklist

Starting a small business requires a lot of hard work and dedication. You will have to work on it around the clock to achieve your goals at the initial implementation stages. Getting set up with your small business is all about ensuring you have checked all the tasks on your list. The steps to start a small business mentioned below aims to help you do the same. We have broken a pile of tasks into manageable subcategories that will help you complete each step involved in getting started.

1.   Innovative Small Business Ideas

Necessity is what drives powerful innovations. Sometimes figuring out solutions to the problems around you can help you develop the best start-up ideas. Well, if the solution already exists, find a better, upgraded, and cost-efficient solution through innovation. A great small business idea is not the one that primarily focuses on generating wealth. It is the one that adjusts to the changes, fits your target market, suits the desirable location, and relates to you personally.

Starting your own business is a commitment itself; you need to choose something that drives you for a lifetime. What is a success, according to you? Draft your small business idea around your definition of success. Know what are your strengths and weaknesses. Question if your idea caters to them. Research on the most successful small business ideas to find ideal products or services that you can invent or innovate.

2.   Market Research

It would be best if you came up with the idea that works well on all market levels. But how do you figure out if you have hit the great small business idea? It would help if you used the “learn and plan methodology” to do that. Does your target audience desire a fancy restaurant, or would another burger shop in their neighborhood well fit their preferences? However, do not let your market research hold you back from establishing your business. It is only an experienced learning and not a part of your planning process.

It is crucial to understand your target audience to know if your business offers an ideal solution to their problems. What advantage do you have over your competitors out there? Map out the milestones and goals as per your business idea to build an outstanding team that will help you execute them within a specific timeframe. Validate your business ideas, meet real people, interview your potential customers to understand if your initial pricing plans seem convincing to them.

3.   Build an Effective Plan

“A dream written down with a date becomes a goal, a goal broken down into steps becomes a plan, and a plan backed by actions becomes a reality.” Although innovative ideas drive start-ups, they cannot succeed without a plan. It would be best to plan the sequence to how, when, and where to execute it. Sketch out the mere mirror of the path you want to accomplish to make your innovative idea an assuring existence more than just a possibility.

Draw out a flowchart in the sequential order of procedures to be followed to achieve your goal. Develop the ability to foresee the results of the events you plan. Make sure you add a back-up plan to any procedure with a chance of failure due to an unforeseen possibility. Business planning always helps you to cope up with any negative aspects that you might face along the journey. Therefore, planning is also the foremost step to start a small business as it provides a certain sense of stability and vision to follow throughout.

4.   Map-Out Your Finance Strategy

The requirement of finance to any business is like the fuel to an engine. Although generating money is not the primary goal of running a business, money is a vital aspect that sustains the business in the long run. Excel out the approximate budget you would need to start the business. Look out for financial assistance if needed. Check out the various business loans offered by the government to encourage business start-ups in India.

Here, we have listed some of the vital government start-up schemes that might be of your help.

  • M-SIPS (Modified Special Incentive Package Scheme) provides a 25% subsidy for innovative start-ups related to automobiles and the electronic industry.
  • The Venture Capital Assistance Scheme provides loans at zero interest rates for businesses related to farming and agriculture.
  • Raw Material’s assistance helps manufacturing businesses by providing loans at low-interest rates on unique imports of indigenous raw materials.
  • Infrastructure Development Scheme supports start-ups in setting up their own office space of about 467 sq. ft to 8657 sq. ft with specific terms and conditions.
  • Atal Incubation Centres (AIC) empowers innovative start-ups related to artificial intelligence, food, Nano-tech, etc. It provides funds up to 10 crores INR that covers the managerial incidentals for almost five years.

Besides, there are many other schemes offered by the GOI that helps in establishing a small business. However, having a precise financial plan and execution strategy is crucial to run a business with zero hassles.

5.   Branding

If you believe branding is for large businesses, you need to rethink your considerations. Branding is one of the crucial keys to increase sales and loyal customers, and it is necessary irrespective of the type of business and it’s scale. It is where you should be putting all your hard work. Once you’ve known your target audience, you can quickly grab their attention through your brand.

To start branding your business, you need to focus on a few things. Firstly, choose the brand name that you can trademark. Secondly, come up with your value proposition: a brand message, tagline, and tone of voice. Thirdly, define the look of your brand; that is the colors, themes, and fonts. Lastly, but most importantly, create a captivating logo that well represents your business’ innovative idea.

6.   Infrastructure Management

Infrastructure management is one of the crucial steps to start a small business in India. Look out for the infrastructure or, in particular, the facilities for running the machinery (if any) to have your business run undisturbed. The communication facilities, power facilities, network availability, and basic needs like water, food, etc. must be met by the setup’s location.

7.   Legal Requirements

Any business needs to be linked and updated with the legalities as per the GOI policies. It helps a business have a stand amid the competitive world and protects against frauds and failures, assuring utmost safety. There are various sectors under which a business should be registered, especially the GST policies of the nation.

To avail of the advantages offered by the government of India, a business should undergo specific legal documentation as proof of existence. The overall financial data must be recorded and documented to submit them to the ITD when required. Thus, having a strong stand in terms of a business’s legal aspects is also an essential factor in achieving the goal effortlessly.

8.   Persistence and Passion

The road that leads you to success will always have ups and downs despite making all the ends meet while establishing your business. Only passionate business owners can persist despite difficulties and oppositions along their journey. They have the tact to keep going with their goals. And when the goals are met, they continuously keep aiming for higher goals to be reached.

These qualities are essential to sustain in today’s business world. Develop the patience along with tactics to work smart. Do not look at your business as a money generating idea. Make sure it is something you can live and breathe with, something you are passionate about. Take your failures positively, as a motivating factor, as a lesson that will help you do better in the future.

9.   Registration Processes Involved in Starting a Small Business in India

Have you registered your business name? If not, how to do it? To successfully establish your business, you will have to tick all the boxes on your checklist. One of which also includes registering your business officially. Here, we have listed the necessary registration process that you might have to consider while getting on with starting your business in India.

Name & Category of the Business

It may not seem like a more significant concern, yet, you need to invest all your intelligence in naming your business. Indian business owners often find it hard to find a business name for patent and copyrights purposes as most names are unavailable due to crores of companies within the country.

However, it is ideal for you to develop a unique name that is catchy, recognizable, and easy to pronounce. Further, it would be best to finalize the category of business that your start-up falls under as it decides the registration procedures accordingly.

Apply for the DSC (Digital Signature Certificate)

The DSC is the primary certificate provided as a signatory authority to the respective owner or director to proceed with the registration process. To apply for the DSC, you will have to present your proof of identity provided by the government to its citizens. In India, the valid proof of identity documents includes the Aadhaar Number, PAN, Address Proof, or the owner and director’s contact details.

Obtain TAN (Tax Account Number)

TAN is a unique number provided by the income tax department to the registered taxpayers. You will have to fill and submit the TAN form on the official website or centers that offer TIN (Tax Information Number). The ITD then verifies and issues the TAN number to the respective applicant.

Obtain the Required Documents that Indicate a Lawful Business

It is the right documentation that determines the credibility of the company. You will have to obtain various documents to prove that the company’s rules and regulations are as per the members involved in it. We have listed some of the necessary forms that you will have to obtain.

  • MOA (Memorandum of Association), giving an insight into the pre-determined goals of the company.
  • AOA (Article of Association), giving insights into by-laws that the company and its members are obliged to stand by.
  • OPC, when the business is registered under One Person Company, the owner must nominate the next owner in case of death/accidents. The consent of the person assigned must be submitted with his/her PAN and Aadhaar.
  • NOC (No Objection Certificate), a registered proof of ownership to ensure no objections from others concerning your business.
  • An affidavit from INC-9 and DIR-2 from the proposed director/s indicates whether the company is INC, Co, or Ltd in terms of liability.
  • Declaration of certifications, it declares that all the related agreements have been obtained and submitted.

GST Registration

Any business or corporation involved in the sale of goods and services must register under GST and have a valid GST number. It is mandatory for businesses selling goods with an annual turnover above 40 lakhs or services above 20 lakhs. The newly updated tax calculation procedures in India have made registration easier than ever. You will have to submit the necessary documents on the GSTIN portal to obtain the GST number.

  • In case your business lists under proprietorship, you will have to provide the proof of proprietor.
  • In case your business lists under LLP, you will have to provide the PAN card of LLP, Name and address proof of the partners’, and the LLP agreement.
  • In case your business lists under a private limited company, you will have to provide the certificate of incorporation, PAN card of the company, AOA – Article of Association, MOA – Memorandum of Association, a resolution signed by the members of the board, identity and address proof of the directors, and the digital signature.
  • You can either provide your passport, voter ID, Aadhar card, ration card, telephone/electricity bill, driving license, or bank statement as the proof of identity and address.

Obtain the Required Forms under MCA (Ministry of Corporate Affairs)

Obtaining from under MCA is the final step of registering a business under the law. You will have to upload all the necessary documents and certificates listed above in the article on the MCA website. It might take up to 3 working days for the verification and approval of the same. Once the process is completed, you will be notified about the confirmation.

10.   Launch and Market Your New Business

Once all the above-mentioned steps to start a small business is accomplished, it’s time to spread some excitement around your opening day. Start with a bang! Publish an article in the press, spread the word yourself, and ask others to do their bit as well.

  • Create a comprehensive marketing plan and start marketing your business right away.
  • Create materials to support your marketing plan (shop signs, PowerPoint presentations, invoices, digital and manual brochures, and flyers).
  • Launch your website – register with a domain name, purchase the best server host, focus on building your site, and get yourself listed on the key directors.
  • Spread your horizons on the social media platforms.
  • If you love the idea of it, you can print t-shirts or uniforms for your team members.

The key is to spread the word across, let the press know that your business is coming up, and organize a grand opening day.

Steps to Start a Small Business – Quick Tips for Small Business Owners

  • Create an online business at a low investment.
  • Always choose digital modes of operations and advertising over traditional methods.
  • Adapting to remote working culture is more likely to improve productivity.
  • It saves costs in every possible way.


Regardless of the place you choose to start your business, it is going to be risky. No matter how prepared you are, there will be unforeseen challenges, and this is when you need to deal with the situation on your own. The key is to educate yourself and stay up-to-date to better deal with any situation. Having a small business checklist will help you put things in perspective.

We hope our small business checklist with specific steps to start a small business will guide you through establishing your new business. Do your best in all endeavors. Digitalize your business operations, rid of the manual processes. You can now automate accounting and tax calculation. Subscribe to Imprezz, leading accounting software in India.

We offer a 14 days free trial software program for small businesses in India. Log in to start your business rightfully. Feel free to contact our support team for further guidance and support.

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