The First Steps when You Start Your Own Business

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S tarting out on your own can be an exciting and scary time. There is no recipe for success – often it is about the right idea at the right time – but you can help to maximize your chances of success by planning carefully and reaching out for help from fellow entrepreneurs and experts.

The US Small Business Administration outlines 10 steps to take when you start a business:

  • Conduct market research
  • Write your business plan
  • Fund your business
  • Pick your business location
  • Choose a business structure
  • Choose your business name
  • Register your business
  • Get federal and state tax IDs
  • Apply for licenses and permits

Open a business bank account

While these are the practical first steps that will help you to launch your business, in today’s connected digital world, we would also add some important additional steps:

  • Before you get started, seek feedback from your network, about your own strengths and weaknesses as much as for your business idea.
  • Once you’ve made your plans, reach out to your network for help, advice, promotion and other assistance in launching your business.
  • Nurture your network as you grow – but don’t partner with people simply because it is convenient; know where you are going and why. Sometimes it is the least likely people who have the biggest contribution to make.

As you develop your business and begin to grow, another important early milestone will be your first hires. This can be another scary step, even if you think of yourself as a good judge of character.

Understand there will be ups and downs as you grow. Being prepared, updating your business plans, and reaching out for help when you need it can help you manage the inevitable bumps in the road. But perhaps the best way to ensure your success will be dependent on a decision you made right at the very start of your journey: when you chose to do something you love.