The Ultimate Startup Checklist

So you’re starting your very own business? That’s amazing – we’re rooting for ya! But before you venture in, be sure to read this first!

March 2021
5 min

Let’s just be honest – starting a business can be scary! But the reward of working for yourself, choosing which direction you take, and just being able to take ownership of something make the challenge 100% worth it.

True, there’s a lot to consider – but help is at hand! Our Ultimate Startup Checklist is our guide to everything new business owners need to think about.

Phase 1: Get Planning

Choose a business or brand name. Make it unique enough that people will notice it, but simple enough that they will recall it. Oh, and make sure no-one else has it!

Create a business plan or strategy. Your plan of attack can be as simple as ‘selling books online’ (heard that one before!) and an overview of how to do that;  to an all-singing, all-dancing ten pager. But if you’re starting out, keep it simple. 

Scope out the competition! Scan your chosen industry to figure out who your closest competitors are and what they’re doing right/wrong.

Market research is key! Scour the market and industry needs to make sure your plan is solid.

Know your costs. Create a cash flow projection: estimate startup costs, sales, and expenses.

Figure out your business’ legal structure. Will you be a sole proprietorship? Partnership? Fully-fledged corporation? Scope out the best way forward. You can always change things around later.

Create a persona for your ideal customer. It might sound obvious, but do you know exactly who you’re selling to? Who are they? Where do they live? What do they enjoy doing? Give them a name. Know who they are.

Phase 2: Get Branding

Now comes the fun stuff… figuring out how to bring your brand to life – through words, images, and digital assets!

Verbal Identity

A Verbal Identity is the articulation of your brand through the use of distinct and focused language, expressed through words.

  • Vision statement
  • Mission statement
  • Value proposition statement
  • Tone of voice
  • Key messaging

Need help crafting those words? We have a team of amazing copywriters at our fingertips! Click here for a free no-obligation estimate.

Visual Identity

You have a name, now you need a brand identity! The visual elements of a brand act as its calling card – communicating your style through images, shapes, and color.

  • Typeface
  • Symbol
  • Typeface + symbol (logo)
  • Colour palette
  • Application mockups with the logo
  • Brand book

Need help building out your brand identity? We got your back. Click here for an estimate.

Online Presence and Marketing

Building out your online presence – from social media to website – is another mission-critical step to get right! 

Social Media

  • Pick and set up your social media channels and accounts
  • Complete your profile (picture, bio, cover, links)
  • Claim your page URL / username @
  • Create a content strategy and plan
  • Create a content calendar for each month
  • Follow your favourite brands and competitors to see trends and spark ideas
  • Perform a monthly social media audit and check results of posts and campaigns
  • Come up with new experiments and campaigns to A/B test each month


  • Domain name registration
  • Information architecture - site structure and plan
  • Wireframes & UX (user experience) designed for the website
  • Get User Interface (UI) design for web pages (look and feel of website)
  • Develop website on a platform that best makes sense for your business
  • Include SEO keywords, titles and descriptions into website
  • Add Google tools such as Analytics, AdWords and Tag Manager
  • The website must have a 401 error page, a privacy policy, and 301 redirects – if any.

Need help building out your online presence? We’ll help you build out a website you can 100% own and manage! Click here for a free no-obligation estimate.

Tip: Why not create a mood board of ideas, inspiration, visual and verbal elements that you like? It’s something you can keep coming back to – and great if you’re outsourcing your content, design, or development.

Phase 3: Get Going

Finance is the beating heart of your new company. It’s something you need to keep on top of – you need to get paid, right? But just as important are the operational aspects of your business. The two go hand in hand.

  • Open a business bank account 
  • Set up your accounting system or outsource it 
  • Business insurance 
  • Line up suppliers, contractors and service providers
  • Need stationery? (business cards, flyers, posters, letterheads, branded marketing materials, etc)
  • File for Trademark, Copyright, Industrial design, or Patent
  • Figure out if you need any business licenses or permits
  • Figure out payroll, trade and taxes
  • Set up your business email
  • Set up an online working environment: where you’ll save documents and files (G Suite, Office 365 or similar)
  • Create a Terms and Conditions document or website page

Phase 4: Get Hiring

Taking on staff? Partnering with a co-founder? Be clear as possible about what you do, what they’re responsible for, and what kind of company culture you want to create. 

  • Do you have an employee onboarding checklist and training schedule setup?
  • Do you have all employee agreements and documents in place?
  • Figure out company culture or create a culture manual
  • Get a mentor or coach onboard

Phase 5: Get Marketing 

Time to figure out and refine your sales pitch and make sure everyone knows you’re open and ready for business! Your marketing matters!

  • Do you need a CRM (customer relationship management) tool to capture and nurture customers?
  • Create a marketing plan
  • Email marketing and funnel setup
  • Start a blog
  • Social Media campaigns
  • Setup a Google Adwords account
  • Product photography

One Step At A Time

Keep in mind that not everything listed here will apply. And some points may become more relevant the further down the road to success you go – so be sure to keep this checklist close by!

That said, getting the basics in place is important. But as long as you have customers, a route to market, income, and are doing everything you should where taxes are concerned – you’re good to get started.

But if there is anything here you’re unfamiliar with, do delve a bit deeper online to find out if it’s something you can tackle yourself – or whether you can outsource it.

Hey – you can do anything, but you can’t do everything! If you’re looking for copy, content, design or development support, contact the Khula team today.

Book a call and see how we can help. Remember: you are not alone on this journey!