(Excerpt from the US Small Business Administration website: http://www.sba.gov/ )
Starting a Business
Are you thinking about starting a business of your own? Congratulations! It’s a huge step, and you’ll need to be prepared. That’s where SBA comes in: In this section, we have brought together the resources you need to get started. Whether you’re sitting down to write your business plan, wondering about your legal obligations, or researching your financing options, you’ll find the information you need right here.
Thinking About Starting
If you’re thinking about starting a small business, you should start by weighing the pros and cons, so that you can make a wise decision. The resources in this section are essentially a toolkit to guide your decision-making process.
Follow These Steps to Starting a Business
Starting a business involves planning, making key financial decisions and completing a series of legal activities. These 10 easy steps can help you plan, prepare and manage your business. Click on the links to learn more.
Follow These Steps to Starting a Business
Step 1: Templates for Writing a Business Plan
Use these tools and resources to create a business plan. This written guide will help you map out how you will start and run your business successfully
Step 2: Get Business Assistance and Training
Take advantage of free training and counseling services, from preparing a business plan and securing financing, to expanding or relocating a business.
Step 3:Choose a Business Location
Get advice on how to select a customer-friendly location and comply with zoning laws.
Step 4: Finance Your Business
Find government backed loans, venture capital and research grants to help you get started.
Step 5: Determine the Legal Structure of Your Business
Decide which form of ownership is best for you: sole proprietorship, partnership, Limited Liability Company (LLC), corporation, S corporation, nonprofit or cooperative.
Step 6: Register a Business Name ("Doing Business As")
Register your business name with your state government.
Step 7: Get a Tax Identification Number
Learn which tax identification number you'll need to obtain from the IRS and your state revenue agency.
Step 8:Register for State and Local Taxes
Register with your state to obtain a tax identification number, workers' compensation, unemployment and disability insurance.
Step 9: Obtain Business Licenses and Permits
Get a list of federal, state and local licenses and permits required for your business.
Step 10: Understand Employer Responsibilities
Learn the legal steps you need to take to hire employees.
20 Questions Before Starting a Business
Many people dream of having their own business. To see if starting a business is right for you, ask yourself these important 20 questions. Your answers will help you determine if you are ready to become a small business owner or where you need to spend more time in planning.
- Am I prepared to spend the time, money and resources needed to get my business started?
- What kind of business do I want?
- What products/services will my business provide?
- Why am I starting a business?
- What is my target market?
- Who is my competition?
- What is unique about my business idea and the products/services I will provide?
- How soon will it take before my products/services are available?
- How much money do I need to get my business set up?
- How long can I have to finance the company until I start making a profit?
- Will I need to get a loan?
- How will I price my product compared to my competition?
- How will I market my business?
- How will I set up the legal structure of my business?
- How will I manage my business?
- Where will I house my business?
- How many employees will I need to start up?
- What types of suppliers do I need to contact?
- What kind of insurance do I need to invest in?
- What do I need to do to ensure I am paying my taxes correctly?
Is Entrepreneurship For You?
Starting your own business can be an exciting and rewarding experience that offers numerous advantages, such as the ability to be your own boss, set your own schedule and make a living doing something you enjoy. Becoming a successful entrepreneur requires sound planning, creativity and hard work. It also involves taking risks because all businesses require some form of financial investment. To begin evaluating whether or not owning a business is right for you, consider the personal characteristics and qualities that can help improve entrepreneurial success.
FACT: Anyone can learn how to be an entrepreneur
Entrepreneurs often have similar traits and characteristics. Here are some of the qualities that can go a long way in bolstering business success. If you don't have all of these traits, don't worry. Most can be learned with practice.
- Calculated risk taker
- Avid learner
- Hard worker
- Resilient (able to grow from failure or change)
- High-energy level
- Problem solving skills
- Strong management and organizational skills
Businesses are built on ideas. In fact, the first step to starting a business is to come up with an original idea. Therefore, entrepreneurs must be open to thinking creatively. Are you able to think of new ideas? Can you imagine new ways to solve problems? Do you have insights on how to take advantage of new opportunities? Many people believe that some individuals are just born with creative minds, while others are not. This might be true, but you can learn to be more creative if you want to become an entrepreneur!
One approach to improving creativity is to research and learn as much as you can about the things that interest you. New ideas can come from reading or by talking to others who have the same interests. Another way to spark your creativity is to think about a problem and picture different ways to solve the issue. Once you have an idea, think it through and determine if it is a reasonable option. If it is, try it. If it isn't, keep thinking. Don't limit yourself. Be open to a variety of possibilities and your creative mind will naturally form new ideas.
To keep your creativity flowing, use these helpful hints:
- Look for new ideas in a variety of ways
- Keep the process simple
- Start small
- Try, try again