There are many steps to starting a business. Some of the steps are simple and others can be time-consuming and costly. Of course, this depends on the type of business you are starting.There are many things one must do before starting a business. A well executed business startup takes months…not days.Some Important Steps To Starting A BusinessName Your Business You need to give careful consideration to your business name. Make sure your business name reflect the image you want your business to portray. Your business name is a part of your branding.Choosing a Domain Name Now that you’ve developed a business name, you must obtain a domain name. Your domain name should also include your business name. It is also a part of your branding.Try using dashes (-) between the words if your business name is unavailable or for readability. For example, if your business name is Cory’s Outdoor Signage. You may consider: corys-outdoor-signage.com for readability purposes.Business Structure You also must decide how you wish to structure your business: sole proprietorship, incorporation, partnership, limited liability corporation, etc.Below are some of the most common legal requirements; however, please don’t see my list as all-inclusive. Check with your state, city and county regarding any additional requirements.Business License So before you hang your sign, you must first make your enterprise legal. Many states, cities, counties require that business owners obtain a business license. The cost of obtaining a business license varies from City to City and County to County. The cost of a business license is significantly less than the stiff penalties assessed to businesses operating without a proper license or without other documents.Depending on the requirements in your area you may obtain a business license from your local city or county. Generally you must complete an application for a business license. A business license is issued for a stated length of time (1 year or multiple years) authorizing you to pursue your business.Fictitious Name StatementSome jurisdictions also require that you obtain a fictitious name statement if your business name is called anything other than your own name. In addition, as in Sacramento County, you are also required to publish your DBA (Doing Business As) in a locally approved publication for a predetermined number of weeks.Reseller’s LicenseIf you plan to purchase goods at wholesale for the purpose of reselling them at retail, you will need a reseller’s license. Wholesalers and manufacturers will not do business with you without having a reseller’s license. Otherwise you will have to purchase at retail like the rest of us.Merchant Accounts Now is a good time to consider obtaining a small business merchant account. This will allow you to accept credit card payments, which would be deposited directly into your business bank account. For more information, go to link:Department of HealthIf you are selling unpackaged consumable goods, please contact your local Department of Health for further guidance.Every State in the United States requires businesses that serve unpackaged consumables to obtain the ServSafe Manager or ServSafe Food Handler certificate. This is a federal requirement; however, some states and/or local counties may have stricter guidelines. You may visit http://www.ServSafe.com for more guidance regarding requirements for your state and/or county.For example, the State of CA requires that one manager and one non-manager, at a location that serves unpackaged consumables, to obtain the ServSafe Manager Certificate. Starting July 2011, in the State of CA, all employees at locations serving unpackaged consumables must obtain the ServSafe Food Handler certificate.You know how you are offered something to drink when you go to the spa for a massage or facial? Well if they open the beverage and pour it into a glass for you, then that drink becomes an unpackaged consumable and they must have the ServSafe certification.Contractor’s LicenseIf you are considering starting a business as a handyman, I highly recommend that you check your State’s contractor’s license requirements. Some of the handyman work you are proposing to perform may fall under the heading of contractor.Meaning you would need to obtain a contractor’s license or not perform the duties of a contractor.Bookkeeping You should seriously consider your bookkeeping methods before your grand opening, because you make many purchases and pay many expenses before your grand opening or first day of business! You need to keep track of these expenditures before the first day of business. They are tax write-offs!Employee Identification Number Will you have employees? Will you be opening a merchant account? Will you purchase from vendors?If you answered yes to any of these, then you need to seriously consider obtaining an Employee Identification Number (EIN). It is much safer than using your social security number. You may obtain an EIN at http://www.irs.gov.Partnership Agreement Will you conduct business as a partnership? Or will you partner with other companies on individual contracts? If so, you will need a partnership agreement. You should seek legal assistance regarding developing a partnership agreement that works for all parties.