How To Start a Small Business

Being your own boss is a very satisfying option for those who are tired of working for a fixed paycheck and not having much of a say or control on how things get done. If you're looking to start your own small business, whether as a full-time occupation or as a supplementary source of income, read the guidelines below which describe how to just do that!

Step 1

Plan. Having a proper business plan in place is the first step to starting your own business. Put down your idea on paper, create an outline of your objectives and then prepare a detailed business plan. This will help clarify your own thought process and attract the right investment and talent to get your business going.

Step 2

Starting the business. Once your business plan is in place, you can get started with your business. In the first instance, starting your own business could mean buying an existing business or taking up franchise of an existing business. The second step is to secure the necessary investment and finance - you can get financial help from banks, financial institutions, venture capital, state and local government grants, private investors, etc. Next would be providing your business with a name and defining the business structure, i.e. a proprietorship where you're the sole owner, a partnership, a company or corporation, etc. Next is to secure and protect your business idea, which means taking competent and professional legal advice on issues such as trademarks and copyrights.

For any commercial activity, you need to have the proper licenses and permits in place. Find out the requirements for operating a business in your state, the relevant federal regulations, licensing procedures, getting an Employer Identification Number (EIN), import and export guidelines if applicable to your business and any other formalities. You should be able to get help on this from your legal and financial advisors, local chambers of commerce or from the Small Business Administration (SBA) chapter in your area. Once the documentation and financing is arranged, you need to start looking for a location or premises from which you will run the business, lease or buy the equipment, machinery or other infrastructure necessary to business operations and hire staff.

Step 3

Managing the business. The next step involves running or managing your business on a day-to-day basis. This will include making and executing decisions, managing your employees, marketing and advertising your business, employing fair business practices, preparing financial reports, paying back your debtors, balancing and managing profit and loss, staying current on the payment of taxes, providing insurance cover for the business, addressing legal, commercial and other issues which arise from time to time and forecast business performance and chart growth.

While the above steps look relatively easy on paper, implementation and execution of your ideas can prove to be a tough proposition. However, you can overcome this by applying rational thought, taking the help and advice from people who've done this before or you can even hire a consultant who will guide you through the process. At the end of the day, having your small business up and running will provide you not only with great joy and satisfaction, but also monetary gains.


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