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10 Steps to Starting a Business

Business Start Up Guides

10 Steps to Starting a Business

Starting a business involves making key financial decisions and completing a series of legal activities. This guide provides information to help you plan, prepare, and manage your business.

  1. Step 1:

    Research and Plan Your Business
    Use these tools and resources to help you prepare your business plan and become a successful business owner.

A well-written business plan is essential to starting and running a business. Business plans are required when applying for business loans or seeking investors. A good business plan describes in deal a business' mission and goals, and how these goals will be achieved. The following resources will help you develop a sound business plan.

    How to Write a Business Plan
    Guidance on writing winning business plans.

    Business Plan for Home Based Businesses
    Provides a comprehensive approach to developing a business plan for a home based business.

    Free Business Planning Courses
    Free at-your-own-pace courses on developing and writing successful business plans.

    Currently, there are challenges in our economy and small businesses all over the country are being impacted. These challenges are the result of many factors and represent a slowing business cycle.

    SBA is developing a number of training materials and tools to help small businesses counter the effects of a slowing economy. The materials profiled in this section will be expanded as new courses and targeted business tools are developed.

    Sample Business Plans
    Bplan is a commercial site providing access to hundreds of free sample business plans.

    Podcast: Creating a Business Plan
    Expert advice on writing a good business plan. Read the Transcript.

    Video: Business Planning & Research
    Successful entrepreneurs share the lessons they've learned about writing business plans.

    Franchises and Business Opportunities
    Thinking about buying into a franchise? These resources will help you develop a plan and avoid costly pitfalls.

    Start Up Assessment Tool
    This simple assessment tool is designed to help you better understand your readiness for starting a small business. Takes less than 5 minutes to complete.

Step 2:

Get Business Assistance and Training
Take advantage of free training and counseling services, from preparing a business plan to getting financing, and help expanding and relocating a business.

Step 3:

Choose a Business Location
Get advice about choosing a customer-friendly location and complying 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 whether you are going to form a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, corporation, non-profit 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:

Employer Responsibilities
Learn the legal steps you need to take to hire employees.

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10 Steps to Starting a Business