How To Start A Business Efficiently Step By Step With Modern Tools In 2024

Desk, monitors, keyboard, books, phone, laptop.

There’s a lot of standard information on how to start a business. Figure out a business idea, find a market, choose a name, pick a business model, write a business plan, etc. While those are appropriate steps, there’s not a lot of information on how to start your own business with modern technology in today’s world.

The legal process of registering a new business varies from location to location. If you’re looking to register your business, this is best done by going to your local government agency website or using a legal service to file all the paperwork for you. This guide will focus on the tools you’ll need to start a business running smoothly so you can focus on growth.

Many small businesses struggle to get off the ground. The key to running a successful business is having the right systems in place to make your job easier.

How to Start A Business: Why Use This Guide

Starting a business can feel overwhelming. From my experience, if you want to put your best foot forward, having this setup will show anyone you deal with that you are a professional.  You’ll also be more prepared to handle your business administration, from finding clients to getting paid.

This approach is lean, so it can be done with very little money upfront, which is perfect for a small business.

As a business owner, you’ll have to make lots of decisions. This will take out a lot of the guesswork on how to start a business so you can focus on what makes you money.

The Essentials

how to start a business, architects and engineer on job site looking at a plan

These tools are the foundation and the frame on which you’ll build your business. This section is ordered so each step builds on the previous one. In my experience, this order makes connecting the different tools or services you choose as easy as possible. If you’re running an online business this is all you’ll need to start.

1. Choose and Purchase a Domain Name

A domain name is essential for any business. It represents the brand and is the unique address where customers can find your business online. This should just be your business name (think “”). Its first use will be for your business email address, then your website.

2. Select an Office Software Suite

An office software suite is essential to create and manage documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and other administrative tasks.

Modern software suites are web-based. That means you’ll be able to work from anywhere and not miss a beat. All you need is an internet connection.

If you need to hire employees it will be easier to onboard them and give them access to all the tools they’ll need to do their work.

They also provide online file storage so you won’t have to worry about losing files if your computer breaks down, and many provide email management to complete your online office.

3. Decide Where to Manage Your Email

Your domain name already decided what your email address will be, now you need to select what service you’ll use to access and manage your emails.

A professional email address with the business domain name helps to establish credibility and builds trust with customers and clients.  You can’t build a proper email list or email campaign without it.

Your email address can be set up within an office software suite using your domain name, which is what you’ll likely do, or as a stand-alone service.

4. Open a Business Bank Account

Business bank accounts help keep personal finances separate from your business. You’ll want to set up this account to make it easy to monitor and manage your business cash flow.

Having a separate business bank account will also help protect your corporate veil, stopping you from having any personal liability from any legal/financial issues of the business. Your corporate veil keeps your personal assets safe.

5. Choose a Business Credit Card

Business credit cards are essential for managing/tracking expenses and earning rewards points and cashback for business purchases. Same as having a business checking account they keep your personal and business finances separate making it easier come tax season to see what business costs you can deduct.

At a glance, you’ll be able to see how much money you’re spending on your business and what that money is going towards.

You’ll also want to connect these credit cards to your business checking account.

6. Choose Accounting Software

Accounting software manages and records financial transactions, creates financial statements, and ensures compliance with tax laws and regulations.

Connecting your business checking account and credit cards to this software automates recording your business purchases and cash flow. This will help you know how much revenue you’re making throughout the year making you more prepared and organized when you file your business taxes.

7. Select Payment Processing Software (Merchant Services)

Payment processing software is necessary for your business to accept credit card payments, manage/record transactions, and track your business income.

Accounting software generally provides this functionality as part of their packages or as an add-on. However, you may be able to find a better deal with a separate provider. If it’s separate, don’t forget to connect the two so you don’t have to manually record your transactions.

8. Decide on Website/Web Hosting

A website is a powerful marketing tool for any business, and web hosting is necessary to ensure the website is accessible and available to visitors 24/7.

Hosting is basically where your website lives and many providers will have tools to help you build and manage your website.  You can also outsource this, but it may not be cost-effective for a new or small business.

The first thing anyone does when hearing about a new business is to go to their website to check them out.  It doesn’t look good if someone goes to Google your business and can’t find anything.

9. Assess Your Computer

You wouldn’t be able to read this without some sort of computer, but different businesses have different computing needs.

A dog walking business versus a 3D sculpting/design business will require very different computers for their day-to-day operations. This is listed last because you may or may not need a new computer depending on what kind of business you’ll be running.

person working on a tablet at a table with computer in the background

Although these tools are not essential to starting a business, they can give you peace of mind knowing that you are protecting your assets and source of income.

While not likely to cause issues, especially at the start of your business, having legal policies and disclaimers on your business website ensures you comply with relevant laws and regulations.

These documents provide clear guidelines and expectations for users, limit liability, and protect your assets. They also help safeguard against legal disputes, intellectual property infringement, and issues from data breaches.

These are listed as recommended because they’re not essential to starting your business, but eventually, you’ll want to add them sooner rather than later. Even a small business can be the target of legal action.

Luckily, high-quality legal templates are available online, saving you the time and trouble/cost of hiring a lawyer to write them for you.

Email Marketing Software

Email marketing software can help you create and manage email campaigns, track customer engagement, and analyze results. Email marketing is an effective tool for reaching potential customers, but it’s not essential for all businesses.

You can add this later if you want to step up to the next level of marketing your business.

Email Security/Phishing Protection Software

With spam and phishing email threats rising, these solutions can help safeguard sensitive information, prevent data breaches, and ensure business continuity. Without email security software, businesses are more vulnerable to cyber threats that can compromise their data, damage their reputation, and disrupt their operations.

Most phishing attacks can be avoided with some caution and knowing what to look for, but if you’re concerned about these kinds of threats this is something to look into.


A VPN provides a secure connection to the internet, protecting sensitive data and ensuring your privacy. It even stops your ISP (internet service provider) from seeing what your internet traffic is.

I recommend a VPN if you handle sensitive data, have remote workers, or travel while you work.

Password Manager

A password manager will help you manage and secure passwords, reducing the risk of data breaches and cyber-attacks. I’ve dealt with nightmare situations where passwords were compromised because they were kept in Word documents and notes on phones.

It’s surprising how many different accounts and logins you accumulate while running a business. Without a password manager, keeping track of everything could be daunting.

Anti-Virus Software

Anti-virus software can help protect your computer (and your business) from malware, viruses, and other online threats. Although not essential, it can save you from that one accidental click of a malicious link or opening the wrong email attachment, making the extra precaution well worth the investment.

Bonus Material

man looking at wall of papers and notes trying to figure something out

In this section are “nice to haves” and other things to consider that could make running your business easier.  Depending on the nature of your business, some of these may be essential for your day-to-day operations.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software

CRM software will help you manage customer interactions and store customer data in a centralized way.  This will make it easier to analyze customer behavior and see how to get them to engage more with your business to build customer relationships.

With all that information you can more easily personalize communication and create targeted marketing campaigns to try and reach more potential customers.

Point of Sale Software/Hardware

Whether selling a product online or in person, point-of-sale software is used to process and manage sales transactions, inventory, and customer information.

Hardware for in-person would include credit card readers, touch screens, etc., for a smooth transaction. You would also be able to provide a digital or physical receipt. For a small business, it could be the difference between making or losing a sale.

Inventory Management Software

Inventory management software helps businesses keep track of their inventory levels, monitor product movement, and forecast demand. It can also help reduce excess inventory and optimize purchasing decisions.

Other than products for sale it can also keep track of your business assets like office supplies and equipment.

Project Management Software

Project management software helps you plan/track projects and assign tasks and deadlines. It can also help manage budgets, resources, and timelines.

At a glance you’ll be able to tell if a project is on track or where it’s falling behind, allowing you to make adjustments before it’s too late.

If you’re working with a team, this kind of software becomes even more important to make sure everyone is on the same page and understands the project’s needs.

Design Software

At some point, you’ll want to focus on how to market your business which means you’ll need to create marketing material. It could be as simple as making a logo to display your business name or as complicated as creating custom images for your website or ad campaigns.

You could always outsource or hire someone for your business marketing material. But, if you’ve got an eye for design or the desire to learn there are plenty of tools on the market, both free and paid, for large and small businesses.

Time Clock/Biometric Reader

If you don’t have employees or don’t need to track their time worked you can skip this one.

If you have a brick-and-mortar business with employees, using a time clock automates tracking employee attendance and hours worked. It will also help facilitate payroll processing by having employee timesheets automatically filled.

Having a time clock with a biometric reader would allow employees to clock in and out with a fingerprint or facial recognition without needing a PIN or ID card. This is more secure because it will stop punching in for the wrong person.

There’s also time clock software if you have remote workers that will allow them to log into a web portal to clock in and out.


Sometimes you just need paper in your hands for documents such as invoices, reports, and marketing materials.

But, in the online digital age, it seems like having physical printouts is becoming less important.


Scanners can declutter your space by scanning and digitizing physical documents for storage and sharing.

There are also printer/scanner combinations, especially if you need to make physical copies of documents.  These combo printers can even send copies you make directly to your email.

Standing Desk

Standing desks can promote better posture and help relieve back pain that tends to pop up when sitting too long.  Since they’re adjustable, of course, you can sit back down if you want to.

Closing Thoughts

little lightbulb robot plugging itself in

As technology advances and society changes, so does how to start a business and run it efficiently.  Since change is inevitable, this list will also change with time.  There will be additions and subtractions, but the focus will always be on providing the most streamlined approach to starting your own business in a way that will prepare you for growth.

Starting a business can be difficult and small business administration can be confusing, but with the right tools at your disposal, it will help remove obstacles that get in the way of running a successful business.

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