Starting a business is confusing and when it comes to legal and financial matters, you may not know where to start. Rest assured; you are in the right place. Sparkyard will help you navigate the resources you need for your business and how to build a trusted network to ensure your success. Save this article for later or download our document checklist to reference what documents you still need to create, find, or complete.
Find business resources on The City of Fort Worth’s Business Services page here: https://www.fortworthtexas.gov/copy-business
1. Your Business Plan
Think of this as the handbook that will make your business successful. Although tedious, this is an important step to think through thoroughly. A business plan brings forth details you may have overlooked when starting your business, and it is a good practice to update your business plan at least once a year. This document should include the details that are essential to operating your business and your plans for future growth.
If a business plan is too intimidating at first, start with a Lean Canvas. This model breaks down a business plan into 1 page, making the information more “bite-sized.” After completing your business plan, it is easier to identify the aspects of your company that you can pitch to investors, co-founders, customers and future employees.
*Bonus Tip: Seek out a mentor or a local business resource, like your local SBA, to review your business plan and identify anything you may have forgotten.
2. Business Registrations
This part is the not-so-fun part of running your business, although it may be the most important. You will need to register your company for various reasons.
- File your DBA, a.k.a. “Doing Business As”
- DBA’s let the public know who is operating the business.
3. Federal Tax ID (EIN – Employer Identification Number)
4. Operating Agreement, Cofounder Agreement, and Buy-Sell Agreement
An essential step is to determine how your company will run and who will run it. Figure out if you are flying solo or pairing up with a cofounder, what happens if someone’s plans change, and write down the agreement between you and your cofounder.
5. Sale Tax License (Sales & Use Tax Permit)
This license allows your business to collect sales tax on purchases. Most companies need this permit, although some business entities do not need it, so find out if your company falls in that category.
7. Employee Agreement
Employee agreements are the binding contract between an employer and an employee. It states expectations of the job in the exchange of payment for the employee’s time. Similarly, an employee handbook helps communicate information, such as company’s mission, vision, procedures, and more.
8. Non-Disclosure Agreement
These documents are your legally binding, protective documents that are important for your company.
Non-disclosure agreements (NDA), or a Confidentiality Agreement sets parameters of what information can be shared about the company to others.
Free resources exist, but it is best to have a legal representative to look this over.
9. Terms of Service / Private Policy
Not all companies need this, but it is good to have when working with your clients.
The terms of service outline what is expected of your service to your clients and patrons, and how the exchange of service should look between the parties.
Privacy policies are becoming more important as people become more concerned about how their private data is being used. Providing a private policy protects your company and offers a resource for clients to review when using your service.
10. Financial Documents
These documents listed below can help you when looking to track and predict your companies’ financials. It is also good practice to hire an accountant and tax professional to help keep track of your finances and keep your business out of trouble.
- Profit & Loss Statement (P&L, or Income Statement)
- Cash Flow Statement
- Balance Sheet
- Tax Returns
- Accounts Payable & Accounts Receivable
To note that there are many resources available to assist entrepreneurs but be wary of potential scams asking for money. Make sure to research and validate trustworthy sources. If you need support, complete a complimentary Spark Plan to guide you through the process of building your startup.