Starting a business is no small undertaking. Besides coming up with a marketable idea, you have to bring it to life, price it, and find people to buy it – not to mention back-end responsibilities like bookkeeping and hiring employees.

When it comes to getting your business off the ground, taking care of the basics first ensures that your business will have a strong foundation and be able to hit the ground running when the time comes.

So what are the basics of starting a business? The most obvious first steps include developing your product or service and naming your company – but you’ll also need to register your business, get a tax ID, set up a website, and take precautions to protect any valuable intellectual property.

They’re definitely not glamorous tasks, but we’ll help you through the basic steps to get your business off the ground and running.

Register Your Business

You know you have to register your new business with the government, but what will you register as? Will you be a sole proprietorship, limited liability company (LLC), partnership, or corporation? Each of these options have their own pros and cons. Here are a few:

Sole Proprietorship

Limited Liability


The Small Business Administration has more information about the benefits of each type of business structure and how to apply.

Get a Tax ID

Once you’ve chosen your business structure and registered your company, you’ll need a tax ID number or Employer Identification Number (EIN). Your tax ID number allows the IRS to recognize your company as a business, so you can pay local, state, and federal taxes as a business entity (Exciting, I know).

Thankfully, this is one of the simpler processes you’ll have to go through – just apply online through the IRS website. After answering a handful of questions, your business will be validated and you’ll receive your EIN.

Set Up a Website

Gone are the days when building a website for your business could sit on the back-burner. Having a user-friendly website from the get-go is absolutely vital in today’s business world. The good news is – along with becoming more important – it’s also gotten a lot easier to set up a new website.

The first step is to buy a domain name. If you can get your exact business name, that’s great. Otherwise, consider using less common (and in demand) endings like,, or

Once you have a domain, you can either build the website yourself or hand it off to a professional design/developer. If your website is your business (e.g. if you’ll be selling products there) then we recommend having a professional design your site.

If you opt for the do-it-yourself route, there are plenty of website management options – like WordPress, Squarespace, and Wix – that make it crazy easy to set up and manage your site. To DIY, just keep these principles in mind:

Protect Your Intellectual Property

Intellectual property (IP) can be an intimidating topic. It involves plenty of legal jargon that can be hard to digest for the average small business owner. However, it's important to get familiar with IP laws and regulations, so you know if you need to take steps to protect your IP.

There are a few different types of intellectual property:

You can learn about the different types of IP and whether they apply to your business with’s Business Tools and The Small Business Administration’s section on Intellectual Property Law.

One of the bigger fears for entrepreneurs is that their business idea will be stolen. While not all businesses are eligible for protections, pursuing government recognition of your IP is important for revolutionary processes and innovations and creative works.

Registering your intellectual property is how you protect your business idea, products, and processes from being stolen or used without permission.

Get the Basics Right

They’re not the sexiest aspects of starting your own business that you might’ve imagined, but the basics are important just the same. By taking the time and effort to get these right, you’ll set your business up for success right out of the gate.