Background Work
Are you cut out to be a business person? 
Do you know what business you wish to start? 
Do you have working experience in this business? 
Do you have enough money of your own?
     Do you know your credit score
     Do you know your “owner’s draw”? (this is the amount of money you will need out of the business to live on) (Develop a
Have you attended the SCORE Seminar "Starting and Running Your Own Business?"
Have you stopped by a SCORE office for free, confidential counseling?

Select a business
Select a location
Select a business name
Develop a business plan
see below) (Do not skip this step... the research required here is critical to your success) 

Create your business:

Select legal structure: Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, Limited Liability Company, S - Corporation, C -Corporations  (may need legal help if you have partners).  If Sole Proprietorship or Partnership, register your name (DBA) or stop by one of the County Clerk's office (for Harris County, call 713.247.2982; call our office for other counties) 

Get Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) ( 1-800-829-4933 ). 

If you have employees, register with Texas Workforce Commission and get an Unemployment Tax Account

Get a sales tax permit (if applicable) - Call 1-800-252-5555 or click here.
Get sales tax exemption certificate - 7011 Harwin #186 ( 713-777-1881 )
Find out reporting requirements for
Franchise tax:  1-800-252-1381

Obtain a business license or permit and other understand regulatory requirements (if applicable)      
     Houston Business Solutions Center

Protect intellectual property (with Patents, Trademarks, Copyrights) (if applicable) 

Develop a start-up budget 
Capital items
Working capital (cash needed until breakeven) 

Obtain equity financing 
From Yourself: Savings, 2nd mortgage, Borrow against 401k 
From: Family; Friends
From: Partners; Investors

Obtain debt financing
Select a banker and apply for a business loan
Approach vendors and equipment suppliers for additional financing if necessary 

Set the starting date

Identify human resources
Identify personnel and begin recruiting 
Identify professional services: 
Lawyer  or Pro-bono Lawyer
Accountant (CPA, Book-keeper)
Insurance agent 

Buy Insurance

Set up a business checking account
Establish a line of credit (if necessary)
Credit Card and/or Check Cashing Protection Services

Line up suppliers

Set up physical business
Buy or rent property (obtain a lease)
Find a contractor to make improvements
Order furniture and equipment
Order utilities
Order office supplies

Begin Pre-opening advertising, sales promotion and Public Relations efforts
Order business cards and stationary
Develop a website
Order signage (Outside and Point of Sale)

For Advertising
Develop a message
Select a medium
Develop budget
Begin advertising


  Develop a Business Plan (see the SCORE templates ... answer only the questions that apply to your business) 

  • Title Page
  • Index
  • Executive summary: Write an upbeat, readable and believable one to two page summary where you describe your product/service, mission, target market (niche), your competitive advantage, start up costs, equity investment, and why you will be successful… this should be done last after you have developed Marketing and Financial plans.
  • Business Section
    Identify owners; select legal form; describe management structure; describe facilities, equipment, etc if appropriate
  • Marketing Section (Conduct market research to answer these questions)
    Define your product or service 
    Identify your market niche
    Identify your customers, their needs and wants (especially unmet needs)
    Identify your competitors
    Define your competitive advantage (i.e., why people should do business with you)
    Define your sales, pricing, purchasing, and advertising strategies
    Forecast sales volume, price, gross margin and inventory turns 
  • Financial Section
    1. Develop a PERSONAL BUDGET to identify minimum Monthly Owner's Draw
    2. Develop a START-UP BUDGET (including inventory and working capital - cash until breakeven).
         Identify how you will finance the startup costs (Equity and Debt)
    3. Develop a monthly EXPENSE BUDGET (focus on fixed costs) (use the template in item 5 below); if borrowing money, estimate your monthly loan payments and include them in the expense budget
    4. Develop SALES VOLUME AND GROSS MARGIN BUDGET by month.  Disaggregate product lines. (add lines before the cash revenue line in the template in item 5 below)
    5. FORECAST CASH FLOW BY MONTH (for the next 12 months; clearly describe key assumptions); Show breakeven point
  • Appendix (for all support documents)