A new business checklist!
Opening a business can be both an exciting and overwhelming process. In Collingswood, we support local businesses by providing resources and information to help you get started. We encourage you to review the checklist and also check out the Business Resources page for information about organizations that can help you plan, prepare and launch your new business!
1) Conduct Market Research
Market research will tell you if there’s an opportunity to turn your idea into a successful business. It’s a way to gather information about potential customers and businesses already operating in your area. Use that information to find a competitive advantage for your business.
2) Create a Business Plan
Your business plan is the foundation of your business. It’s a roadmap for how to structure, run, and grow your new business. You’ll use it to convince people that working with you — or investing in your company — is a smart choice.
3) Finance Your Business
Your business plan will help you figure out how much money you’ll need to start your business. If you don’t have that amount on hand, you’ll need to either raise or borrow the capital. Fortunately, there are more ways than ever to find the financing you need.
4) Find Your Location
Your business location is one of the most important decisions you’ll make. Whether you’re setting up a brick-and-mortar business or launching an at home business, the choices you make could affect your taxes, legal requirements, and revenue. Learn more about locating your business in Collingswood.
5) Choose a Business Structure
LLC, LTD, Corp? The legal structure you choose for your business will impact your business registration requirements, how much you pay in taxes, and your personal liability.
6) Choose a Business Name
It’s not easy to pick the perfect name. You’ll want one that reflects your brand and captures your spirit. You’ll also want to make sure your business name isn’t already being used by another business. Take your time with this step!
7) Register Your Business
Once you’ve picked the perfect business name, it’s time to make it legal and protect your brand. If you’re doing business under a name different than your own, you’ll need to register with the federal, state and county government in most instances.
8) Get a Tax ID Number
You’ll use your employer identification number (EIN) for important steps to start and grow your business, like opening a bank account and paying taxes. It’s like a social security number for your business.
9) Apply for Licenses and Permits
Keep your business running smoothly by staying legally compliant. The licenses and permits you need for your business will vary by industry, state, location, and other factors. We highly recommend you seek legal counsel to assist and advise you through this process.
Collingswood specific approvals include (but are not limited to) the following. Please check with us or your attorney if you have any questions regarding approvals:
- Certificates of Occupancy (C.O.’s)- A Certificate of Occupancy is required at the time of change of occupancy of any property in the Borough of Collingswood. The criteria for a CO are contained in Chapter 227-3 of the Collingswood Code which can be downloaded from the Government Forms area on collingswood.com. All commercial units must be inspected between tenants. Dwelling units in triplexes and larger must be inspected between tenants. The Boca National Property Maintenance code of 1993 is the criteria used in these inspections.
- Zoning- Typically if you are changing the use of your property, you need a Zoning Permit which can be downloaded from the Government Forms area. One of the most frequently asked questions regarding both construction and zoning is whether or not a resident or business needs approval before beginning any type of construction. Whether you are changing the use or making an improvement to the property, chances are you will need a permit to legally begin construction. When in doubt, please call ask the Zoning Office.
- Construction Code - The Uniform Construction Code governs all of the construction and renovation of properties located in Collingswood. Permits are required by the Borough of Collingswood for any renovation of commercial buildings. Permit applications are available at the Collingswood Borough Hall. If you have any questions, contact our Construction Code office.
- Sign Committee & Historical Review -Built into our Zoning & Construction processes is a review of improvements and their historical preservation effects. If you plan on doing construction work of any kind in historic downtown areas, your plan will go in front of this committee for review. An explanation of Historical Preservation Guidelines can be found at the Collingswood Library, Zoning Office and the Planning Board. Similarly, planned signs are reviewed by a separate committee to ensure all town signage conforms to the Borough Sign Ordinance. This can be obtained from Borough Hall or downloaded from the Government Forms section of our website.
- Restaurants - If you are opening a restaurant or eating establishment, the requirements of the New Jersey Board of Health will need to be “built-in” to your plans. To get a copy of their guidelines call the Camden County Department of Health at 856-374-6000 or visit their website.
10) Hire Professionals to Assist You
It is important to have a team of professionals to assist you in the process of opening a business and should be part of your business plan start-up costs. Depending on your business some common needs include Attorney, Accountant, Architect, Contractor, Realtor, Insurance Agent, Plumber, Electrician, etc.
The best way to find professionals is to talk with friends or other business owners and check with local business organizations such as Chambers of Commerce in the area. While we cannot make recommendations, you can check out the Collingswood Business Directory if you are looking for businesses in town.
DON’T FORGET! You can get more help with these steps at our Resources page or visit the Small Business Administration Start-up Guide for expanded information on the steps to opening a business.
Collingswood Partners can help! If you are locating your business in a Business Improvement District in town you're automatically a partner - take advantage of the knowledge and expertise of those who have already opened a business and can help you along.
Ready to Launch? Hold a ribbon cutting and grand opening event at your store or business location! Get in touch with us, we have the big scissors, ribbon and can help in getting the word out about your business to local news and residents! Collingswood's BID goal is to help build and promote Collingswood businesses!