Checklist for New Businesses

There are many federal, state, and local requirements for doing business in Colorado.  The following is a checklist of general issues that you may want to consider as you set up your business. Some of these items may not apply to your business or  situation, and there may be other considerations not listed here.

For more help with starting a business, see the Colorado Business Resource Book.



  • First meeting of directors/shareholders should be held immediately.
  • Election of new directors and appointment of officers.
  • Adoption of Bylaws.
  • Establish a corporate bank account.
  • Which officers are authorized to sign checks?
  • Trade names: Are you going to do business under a name other than the corporate name?
  • Protect your ideas: Contact the Secretary of State and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for information on state and federal trademarks and copyright. Trademark FAQs
  • Buy-sell agreements between shareholders.
  • Is this a small corporation? Are you going to apply for "S" corporation status? Contact the Internal Revenue Service.
  • Securities laws: Are you going to sell stock? See your attorney.

Financial/Business Plan

  • Business plan, budget, cash flow projections, working capital needs: Can you cover payroll, operating expenses, taxes, etc. for a 6 month period?
  • Books and accounts: Contact your accountant.
  • Do you understand the tax implication of the entity you are using for your business?
  • Obtain your federal tax identification number form the IRS.
  • Obtain your state tax identification number from the Colorado Department of Revenue.
  • Do you have all of the federal, state and local tax information and forms?
    • Federal withholding
    • Federal unemployment
    • State withholding
    • State Workmen's Compensation
    • State & Local Sales Tax - Contact City Hall


  • What is your product?
  • What is your market?
  • Do you have a marketing plan?
  • How are you going to distribute your product?
  • How are you going to advertise?
    • Yellow Pages
    • Radio/Television (have you thought about cable)
    • Business cards/signage, networking
    • Telephone lines: Business lines are more expensive than personal lines

Local Regulatory Environment

  • Zoning: Is local zoning appropriate for your business use?
  • City/County business licenses: Contact City Hall or County Offices.
  • Special licenses for certain kinds of business: Contact City Hall.
  • Will you serve liquor?  Obtain liquor license from City Hall.
  • Will you serve food?  Contact local/state health department.
  • Will you provide public accommodations? Contact health department.



Department of Regulatory Agencies Small Business Guide to Insurance

  • Liability
  • Fire and Premises
  • Auto
  • Glass
  • Business interruption
  • Crime
  • Officer and director liability
  • Products liability


State Regulatory Environment

  • Will you be one of the businesses listed under state-regulated businesses?
  • Will you serve liquor? Contact Department of Revenue.
  • Will the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) regulate your business?
  • Will you buy or sell wholesale? Contact Department of Revenue.

Federal Regulatory Environment

  • Minimum wage laws: Do you know how much you have to pay your employees?
  • Equal Employment Opportunity: Anti-discrimination laws may affect your business.
  • ADA - Have you complied with the Americans with Disabilities Act?
  • Will your business generate hazardous waste or materials?
  • Will your business generate smoke or air pollution?
  • Will your business discharge industrial waste into the water supply?
  • Does your business involve the sale or use of firearms, explosives, or fireworks? Contact your local fire department or the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
  • Does the work environment involve hazardous conditions that could cause injury or death to employees? Contact the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).


General Management

  • Who manages and how?
  • Do you have standard contracts for the sale of your products or for the purchase of materials? If not, consult with your attorney.
  • Hiring employees: Employee Eligibility Verification pursuant to the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986.  Get information about e-Verify.
  • Have you satisfied the requirements of the Colorado Employment Verification law? See the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment for information.
  • Independent contractors or employees: Contact your attorney regarding the tax and liability impact.
  • Do you have employment contracts with upper-level management employees?
  • Noncompete agreements with key employees who might leave.
  • Life insurance on key employees.
  • Employee fringe benefits: vacation, sick leave, military leave, health and disability programs, automobiles or auto allowances, and other perks.
  • Retirement plans.
  • Stock options.
  • Notary public: Do you have or need one?
  • Protection of trade/business secrets: Nondisclosure agreements.

State-Regulated Businesses

If your business involves one of the following, contact the Department of Regulatory Agencies.

  • Accountants
  • Acupuncturists
  • Appraisers
  • Architects
  • Athletic Trainers
  • Audiologists
  • Bail Bonding Agents
  • Barbers
  • Certified Nurse Aides
  • Certified Public Accountants
  • Chiropractors
  • Cosmetologists
  • Counselors
  • Dental Hygienists
  • Dentists
  • Electricians
  • Electrical Contractors
  • Engineers
  • Estheticians
  • Guides, Hunting and Fishing
  • Hearing Aid Dealers
  • Insurance Producers
  • Insurance Intermediaries
  • Investment Advisors
  • Investment Advisor Representatives
  • Landscape Architects
  • Land Surveyors
  • Manicurists
  • Marriage and Family Therapists
  • Massage Therapists
  • Mental Health Professionals
  • Midwives
  • Mortgage Loan Originators
  • Mortgage Broker-Dealers
  • Nurse Aides
  • Nurses
  • Nursing Home Administrators
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Optometrists
  • Osteopaths
  • Outfitters, Hunting and Fishing
  • Pharmacists
  • Pharmacist Interns
  • Physical Therapists
  • Physician Assistants
  • Physicians
  • Plumbers
  • Podiatrists
  • Psychiatric Technicians
  • Psychologists
  • Real Estate
  • Respiratory Therapy
  • Sales Representatives (Securities)
  • Social Workers
  • Stockbrokers
  • Subdivision Developers
  • Veterinarians


You should not consider any guidance or assistance that you receive from this office to be legal, business or tax advice. Any such guidance or assistance is no substitute for the informed advice of competent legal, business, tax or other professional counsel. If you have substantive questions, we encourage you to consult your private attorney, business or tax advisor, or other professional. The employees of our office are not authorized to provide legal, business or tax advice. More information.