Checklist For Starting Your Own Business

If you’re ready to take the leap into starting your own business, you’re in good company. In Mississippi alone,  nearly 40,000 new businesses have been formed in the first half of 2021. Nationwide, over two million business applications have been filed. 

Business owners who stay organized and take planned steps have the best chance of long-term success. In fact, 71% of fast-growing companies utilize detailed plans. That’s why we put together this short 5-point checklist for starting your own business and making the most out of your new venture’s “honeymoon period.”

1. Set Up Your Finances

Finances are the backbone of any business because they allow your products, services, teams, and ideas to stand tall and grow. 

Decide on a Business Structure

How your business is structured determines your liability, taxes, the paperwork needed to register, and funding. Corporations, limited liability corporations (LLCs), and some partnerships all offer varying degrees of protection from personal liability for business debt, while sole proprietorships don’t separate personal and business financial responsibility. You can learn more about the perks and drawbacks of each type of business here.    

Decide on a Financing Option

There are several options available to secure funding when you’re starting your own business. Depending on which one you choose, you’ll likely need to write a business plan, which can be optimized using business planning software

Most financing options require several financial statements, including a startup budget, costs worksheet, P&L statement, break-even analysis, and a sources and use of funds statement.

Here are seven top ways your new businesses can be financed:

  1. Loans
  2. Investors
  3. Grants
  4. Subsidies
  5. Crowdfunding
  6. Family and Friends
  7. Self-Funded

For those interested in purchasing rather than leasing commercial property, you can take a look at the types of loans available in the commercial space.  

2. Register Your Business

In each state, the Secretary of State (SOS) office has the forms, regulations, and guidance available to ensure that your new company is properly registered. Below are some of the key highlights to check off your registration list.

Pick a Business Name

The SOS office can typically tell you whether any of the names you’re considering are already in use in your state. This is especially useful to know when dealing with your competitors.

Register Your Domain Name Online

While your favorite business name may be available in your state, it may already be connected with a popular website. You can do a quick google search to find out. Then, do a domain search to choose a web address.

Register with Federal, State, and Local Agencies

Besides being the source of your business registration forms, the SOS office is also where you typically file the required paperwork to register your business. Some cities, counties, and municipalities may also require separate registration. At the federal level, you can file to register your business tax ID, trademarks, patents, and certain types of corporate status.

Register with the IRS and State Offices

To open a bank account, file taxes, pay staff, obtain permits, and various other operational functions, you’ll need your federal tax ID. Certain states require a separate tax ID as well.

Open a Business Bank or Credit Union Account

There is a slew of benefits to creating a separate bank or credit union account when starting your own business. These include an emergency line of credit, access to secure merchant services so you can accept credit cards, and establishing a favorable credit history for your company.

A woman smiling while shaking hands with a person across a table while three more people sit around the table smiling.
Business owners who stay organized and take planned steps have the best chance of long-term success.

3. Choose a Business Location

Perception is reality. That’s why your physical locale affects all aspects of your operation, from branding and visibility to attracting the right talent and growing your customer base. In fact, deciding where to locate your new business is one of a handful of decisions that can have the largest impact on your success.

Take a look at our top five “to-do list” items for choosing an ideal locale.

Get to Know the Zoning Requirements

The type of space you need may be available in some parts of a city or region, but not others. That’s why it’s important to ask yourself, “How will my business be zoned?” While many businesses are zoned commercially, others are considered multifamily, office, industrial, or mixed residential and commercial. Within the commercial designation, there may be several subcategories, such as is the case in Jackson, Mississippi.

Knowing where you can legally locate your business is a necessary first step. Then, compile a list of properties that catch your eye and make your shortlist of desirable buildings.

Decide if You’ll Lease, Buy, or Design and Build

Most businesses lease or even purchase the commercial real estate where their company resides. However, if your business happens to be Commercial Real Estate (CRE) investing (or if you’d like to expand outside your traditional business parameters) designing may be the best option.

Whatever your decision, it will affect where you locate your business. For instance, if no land is available in the Central Business District (CBD), those interested in designing and building a space there may need to consider other options, such as a redesign of an existing space or choosing a different locale. Likewise, business owners interested in leasing a building with LEEDEnergy Star, or other environmental certifications might look outside any “Old Town” sections of the city. Landlords in those areas could have a difficult time meeting both green and preservation standards.

Consider Your Customer Base

Here’s where the market research from your business plan comes into play. Who is your ideal customer and what demographic are you targeting? Restaurants, for instance, would do well to locate within walking distance of residential or business hubs. Corporate offices may be more tailored to upper-level management and HR activity, and therefore can be located away from pedestrian traffic lanes.

Align with Your Budget

Your business plan financial statements let you know which location options best match your available finances. In many cities, more popular neighborhoods like the CBD may bring in lots of traffic, but they also tend to cost more. If your finances are relatively strong, this can be a great space for starting your own business and quickly growing it. Even if you have limited funding, finding a real estate agent with a reputation for locating needle-in-the-haystack deals could land you in your ideal spot. In the meantime, consider the locales that match your current budget. Set yourself up for success early on.

Check out the Neighborhood

“Farming” the neighborhood allows you to check it out firsthand to find out the market value of properties, and also if there are any nearby competitors. Depending on the type of company you’re starting, you can also ask around about the neighborhood’s reputation for drawing in business. Ask about any regulations that may add or detract from the value of the property.

4. Apply for Operating Permits and Licenses

Once you know the location where you’ll be setting up shop, your next step is obtaining any necessary federal, state, city, or industry-specific operating permits and licenses. Some of these require passing certain testing and certifications, especially at the federal level. Others charge fees, require proof of registration, and focus on product and service quality standards.

Here are a few examples of common permits and licenses:

5. Consider Your Building Needs

Here’s where the big picture really meets the minute details. Taking time to dig deep into your building criteria ensures that when the ink is dry on your contract, you’ve covered all your bases, your needs are met, and you can relax into comfortably doing business.

12 Top Space Needs to Consider

  1. What spaces and equipment do the day-to-day activities require? For instance, some examples include technology build-outs, worker break rooms, retail space, warehouse space, back-up generators, drive-through lanes, AC units, showrooms, elevators, offices, and delivery zones.  
  2. How much space in square feet do you need for each activity? This can be dependent on the number of employees, customers, products, and equipment that will occupy each area.
  3. How much parking will you need? If there’s no parking lot on-site, check to see if one is nearby or if there is a parking garage within walking distance.
  4. What are your storage needs?
  5. What amenities will be offered and how will this impact your building needs? For instance, do you want tall windows to let the light in, meeting rooms for employee/client conferences, or an on-site cafeteria?
  6. Do you need traditional or flex space? The latter can be quickly (and legally) converted to serve different activities as your business changes and grows.
  7. Are you willing and able to share space in order to save on costs?
  8. What are your electric power needs? Determine the number of outlets and their power capacity, and compare this against your equipment’s power requirements.
  9. What are your communications technology needs? Ask whether the space is wired for high-volume internet if this is one of your needs.
  10. Can the building be altered? Examples include adding ventilation and soundproofing.
  11. Should your building be green-friendly?
  12. What is your building budget?

Starting Your Own Business? Contact a Commercial Real Estate Agent

Once your checklist is complete, you’re ready to connect with a professionally trained commercial real estate agent to transition from “brand new” to a brick-and-mortar business. A Tenant and Sales Representative from Speed Commercial Real Estate can guide you through the various costs and considerations associated with a CRE lease for your new business. Additionally, we offer real estate guidance for those interested in purchasing.

Contact us today to get started on one of the most important steps of your entrepreneurial adventure.      

10 Factors To Consider When Choosing A Warehouse in Mississippi

If you are contemplating investing in a warehouse in Mississippi for your business, you are not alone. Demand for warehouse space is on the rise in the Magnolia State, with the Jackson industrial market now spanning 40 million square feet. But if you’ve never purchased warehouse space before, you may not know where to start.

The good news is that the selection process is easier than it may seem. The key to choosing the best warehouse for your operations is to reach out to an experienced commercial real estate professional who can help you evaluate local prospects. Additionally, it’s a good idea to consider the ten factors below as you compare available options.

1) Size

Size is perhaps the single most important variable to consider as you launch your search. Ideally, the warehouse you secure should be large enough to comfortably accommodate your inventory, equipment, and employees, while providing room for growth. Here are some questions to ponder:

  • How much space will you need for employee workstations?
  • What type of clearance is required for cranes and other loading and lifting devices?
  • How much, if any, inventory do you plan to store in your warehouse?
  • What are your plans for growth or expansion in the next 1-5 years?

2) Cost

The cost of warehouse space tends to increase along with square footage, amenities, and location. Many first-time warehouse buyers are surprised to see how much money they can save by choosing a location that’s rather far from popular business centers and industrial parks. But before you commit to a warehouse that’s off the beaten path, remember you want to remain accessible for employees, clients, and visitors. Additionally, you’ll want to inquire about any taxes you will owe, as this may ultimately influence your decision.

3) Loading and Receiving Docks

If you receive or ship freight several times per day, you will need a warehouse with at least one loading dock – preferably multiples. Otherwise, your pickups and deliveries could rapidly begin to stack up. If you already handle multiple incoming and outgoing shipments each day, it’s best to choose a warehouse with at least two loading docks – one for your incoming receivables and one for your outgoing orders.

4) Office Space Needs

Not all warehouses feature office space, so it’s important to take a few minutes to sit down and make a note of any employees who will require an office or cubicle. If the majority of your office staff works remotely, your breadth of options will significantly increase. Otherwise, you’ll need to choose a warehouse in Mississippi with existing office space or gather the resources to build interior offices on your own.

5) Accessibility

Fast, timely deliveries are a must in today’s world of impatient consumers. While there may always be a few variables beyond your control, you can help ensure that orders are received and shipped on time. One of the best ways to achieve this goal is to choose a location that is not too far from interstates and main thoroughfares. The less time your orders spend in transit, the faster your customers will receive them.


6) Climate Control

Climate controlled warehouses offer a host of advantages. They help keep inventory from spoiling or becoming moldy, while also helping to preserve the integrity of your products and equipment. And with average high temperatures in Jackson often exceeding 90 degrees during the summer, you can help keep your employees cool by choosing a warehouse with climate control.

7) Security

As a business owner or operator, it’s up to you to provide a safe, secure environment for your employees and visitors. Some warehouses in Mississippi are already equipped with integrated LED emergency lighting, security systems, and alarms. Other facilities may have outdated security features or lack them entirely. An experienced commercial real estate agent can often provide recommendations in this area.

8) Parking

If you have a large fleet of vehicles you regularly use, or if you have a large number of employees who drive to work at your warehouse every day, you need to choose a site with plenty of parking available. Remember, you will also need to reserve some open spaces for clients and special visitors, so it’s better to overestimate the parking space you will need as opposed to underestimating your parking needs.

9) Proximity to Ports and Airports

Are you planning to expand your business internationally in the near future? Have you noticed that you are receiving more overseas products than ever? If so, proximity to airports, railways, and ocean ports is a huge plus. You may wish to consider a warehouse that is located on the south side of Jackson to help get your shipments to port faster. And if you handle a large number of small parcel shipments, it’s helpful to have a location near a UPS or FedEx facility.

10) Room for Growth

If you are like most Mississippi business owners, you are focused on growing your revenue and expanding your business. When evaluating warehouse options, make sure you aren’t overly conservative on the space you will need – especially if you anticipate significant growth. Also, if you plan to add new cranes or other industrial equipment over the next few years, make sure you select a space with plenty of overhead clearance and room to operate heavy lifting devices.

Finalizing Your Selection

Clearly, there are many factors to consider when choosing a warehouse in Mississippi for your business. The single best way to ensure you choose the best warehouse for your business is to contact us at Speed Commercial Realty. For over 17 years, business owners have turned to us for professional guidance when securing warehouse space.  

When you reach out to our team at Speed, you will receive the personalized guidance you deserve. Our team of licensed commercial real estate agents will take time to listen to your needs and discuss your budget. Then, we will present the warehouse options that will satisfy your business demands without breaking the bank. We look forward to helping you find a warehouse in Mississippi that will take your business to the next level of success!

Re-Opening Your Business During COVID-19

The long-awaited ease on lockdowns is upon us, with most businesses getting the green light to reopen. It certainly comes with much-anticipated relief as business owners gear up to get back to their sources of income. But even with the lift on restrictions, it is still not a normal state of affairs. Re-opening your business during COVID-19 comes with its own set of ups and downs. You still need to maintain vigilance and keep your employees’ and customers’ wellbeing first. If you are currently facing challenges on where to start, let this guide act as a starting point as you reopen your business.

Review Industry Guidelines and Specifications on COVID-19

Before deciding when and how fast to re-open your businesses, you first need to consider where your business falls within the newly issued re-opening standards. Federal and state regulations dictate that each company needs to adhere to given specifications on their area of operation. For instance, some businesses will have to cut down on the number of staff and customers during working hours. If you operate sensitive businesses such as restaurants, you may also have to get regular screening for your workers.

Paying attention to your immediate business is not enough and as such, you will need to look into your business allies and the guidelines surrounding them. Check that your business connections, such as vendors and landlords, also have a go-ahead before initiating business deals. Some institutions require health certifications, so keep that in mind to stay clear of any legal troubles. Current restrictions are bound to change as time goes by, meaning regularly checking for updates will serve you well.

Workplace Cleaning and Disinfecting

Just like personal hygiene is called for in fighting the pandemic, reopening your business during COVID-19 also calls for enhanced cleaning measures. This means cleaning and disinfecting all business surfaces and equipment while adhering to the EPA’s standards. If you have any equipment that may cause challenges during the cleaning process, now is the time to store them away safely. Such surfaces may also be breeding grounds for COVID-19 due to contact once you reopen, so it may be best to keep them in their storage areas. These practices will come in handy before reopening your business, but you certainly need to have scheduled cleaning and disinfection visits during your operations.

Prep for Daily COVID-19 Safety Measures


Businesses have undergone massive losses due to their closure, which is still a likely scenario unless owners take action. To reap benefits from reopening your business, you need to prepare your workplace with new safety measures. These include:

  1. Setting up check stations. These will facilitate proper checks to ascertain that your employees and visitors have appropriate personal protective equipment such as masks. The checkpoints can also act as screening points for elevated temperature checks for any incoming personnel.
  2. Protective screens at high interaction areas. If your business operates in areas where employee-customer interactions are more likely, you will need to introduce protective screens.
  3. Organize and space out your workstations to help employees maintain social distance on your business premises. If, on the other hand, you have limited space, consider accommodating teleworking plans, or have your employees working in shifts.
  4. Consider marking spots in communal areas such as elevators where employees and customers should stand. You can also extend this to queuing areas to allow customers to have proper guidance.

Realign Your Communication Tools

Communication has been an essential tool for businesses, but you need to improve it with the pandemic. Re-opening your business post-COVID-19 means being on the pulse of everything that is happening at your workplace. Establish clear communication lines with your employees before you get back to business to allow for a smooth transition. It can include appointing an employee beforehand to handle all employee and customer queries. These may consist of having information on matters such as new safety guidelines, changes in work hours, and work refusals. Depending on your business needs, the employee can have a designated mode of communication such as emailing, real-time responses on your website, or answering telephone calls.

Your customers can also benefit from well laid-out procedures such as clear signage. These can act as information tools for them to learn about the new safety measures.

Check Your Operational Needs

Now that you have the COVID-19 safety measures in place, it is time to look at your daily operational needs. Are you still in contact with your suppliers and vendors? Re-opening business post-COVID-19 will require you to re-establish your networks. Look into your supply chains as well as your inventory needs. You certainly do not want to have any shortages during your first day of work. Confirm that your vendors are still in operation and, if not, get new contacts and verify their work. 

Liquidity and cash flow can also present unforeseen challenges while reopening your business during COVID-19. Do you have enough finance to back you up for the next few months should another lockdown happen? Get your financial records in order and establish how to cut down costs, such as working with suppliers who currently have discounts.

Check Your Premises’ Safety Guidelines

Ensuring your premises’ safety is also a crucial step for getting back to business. Check for any damage that may have occurred during your lockdown. It may be simple issues such as water leaks that could threaten the structure of your building. Consider other often-forgotten factors, such as pest invasion and whether your ventilation and drainage systems are working correctly. Lastly, do not forget to countercheck your fire protection tools.

Flexibility in Facing COVID-19

Let’s face it, some measures mentioned above may feel excessive at first, but they will come in handy in maintaining safety at your workplace. Your employees and customers need to feel protected, so set up practices that will safeguard their health. Normalcy will soon return to the workplace, but before that happens, flexibility is called for in mitigating the current times. Adjust your needs as time goes by to allow your business to succeed.