Planning to Start a Business?
Ask Yourself 13 Tough Questions

These are the best of times and the worst of times to start a business. They are the best of times to start a business because the economy in the U.S. and elsewhere is coming out of a deep recession, which will boost demand and create fresh opportunity for the savvy entrepreneur; these are the worst of times to start a business because joblessness remains high and small business start-up funding and start-up business grants have dried up while business start-up costs can be considerable. Naturally, some of these costs can be cut by working on a low-cost business start-up, opting for a home-based business start-up to save on office rent, or choosing an inexpensive online business option.

There is real opportunity to start a business today because many, many businesses that existed prior to the recent recession have gone belly up and left broad segments of markets under-served. Many long-standing client relationships have also disappeared. More than anything else right now, consumers and businesses want the lowest cost, period! This presents a great opportunity for entrepreneurs who want to position themselves in the marketplace as the lowest-cost provider.

But before you get too far ahead of yourself to start a business, ask yourself these 13 questions so that you can take a good look at yourself, your capabilities, your commitment, and your business plan:

  1. Why do you want to start a business? Is it really for you? Up until the recent recession and its aftermath, we suggested that you start a business of your own only if you have a real passion and commitment to get out on your own and do what you have to do to make it happen. Unless you are very lucky or very rich, to start a business of your own can be tough sledding for a lot longer than you might anticipate. Today, there is another group of people who likely need to start a business of their own--those in their late 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s who simply cannot find work. Those are the people who have sent out 200, 300 or 400 resumes and gotten literally no response in the job market. For them, their only alternative is to get that new business going and move into the black as quickly as possible and achieve financial independence once and for all.
  2. Where's the money coming from?Start up business financing business start up funding and start up business grants are hard to come by. Where will you get a small business start up loan? There has been a change in the banker's tone recently regarding small business. That tone change is that if you survived the recent recession and you are still here, come see us about a loan. Of course, for the new business start up, that same banker might view you as too risky for a loan. You may want to apply for a loan anyway and get turned down. Then the bank can go to the Small Business Administration and get help for you in securing a loan.
  3. What do you know how to do, and what do you love doing? Are you a great butcher, baker or candlestick maker, but rather be skiing, boat making or involved in a craft? Are you one of the lucky ones who have great skills in the area that is also your passion? You need to decide what direction to go in with this. If you are a great teacher, an obvious business step for you to take is to develop a tutoring business. You can do this on your own or through a franchise company. If you have had it with teaching kids and love travel, perhaps you could combine your skill and passion and create a semester abroad business for active adults.
  4. Do you know how to run a business?Running a business takes different skills than practicing what you know or love. We know two business people who set up a highly profitable home remodeling business--even through the current recession. The first fellow knows everything there is to know about improving a house, but almost nothing about running a business. The second partner knows how to run a business, but is not a skilled craftsman. Together, however, they are a great team. If you don't know how to run a business, learn how to do it, or partner with someone who has complementary skills to yours. If you want to start a consulting business, for example, and love doing the work but hate doing the selling, then partner with someone who will get on the phone and sell the job. You will both do well financially.
  5. Do you have a strong sense of what business you would like to start? If you have a passion for being in your own business but do not know what business to pick, we strongly recommend that you look into a franchise business for start up business ideas. A good franchise company will literally tell you all you need to know to be successful in a particular business. It will cost you more than starting a business on your own, but you will be able to climb the learning curve a lot more quickly than you can on your own. Be careful with franchises and know what you are doing before you sign on the dotted line.
  6. How will your business start, grow, and prosper? You may read this question and respond…"How the hell do I know, I haven't started it yet!" Exactly our point! You do not need a formal business plan to start a business and to grow a business, but we will tell you that it is a lot easier going forward if you "force yourself" to sit down and come up with a realistic plan. Creating a real business plan is hard work and a pain. But it is hard work that will be rewarded. It forces you to think past rationalizations that we all tend to make and come up with something real and doable. Remember: if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.
  7. Why do you think your business idea will work?Do you think your business will work just because Joe or Jane down the street is making a similar business work? Do you have their skills and talent? How do you know? We are not being negative or pessimistic, only realistic. What is that entrepreneur bringing to the table? Do you really understand why his or her business works? One stark example we know of is a highly successful local party planner. A would-be entrepreneur who attended one of her party functions said to herself, "I could do this!" Absolutely! The new would-be entrepreneur could plan and execute a party, no question. What she did not realize at that moment was that the successful party planner could indeed organize a good party, but the key to her success was her ability to network almost constantly with high net worth individuals in her market who had the bucks to hire a planner. If you are attracted to a successful business, you need to really understand what makes that business tick.
  8. Can you layout in a step-by-step fashion, what you need to do to get the business off the ground and running? We are not talking about a written business plan here. We are talking about your ability to visualize the business being successful and the key steps you need to take to make it profitable.

  9. Do you know the applicable laws that apply to your new business start up? If you are going to run a business out of your home, are you allowed to by law to have a business there? Can you have employees working out of your home? Can you legally store supplies in your garage? Can you have trucks in your driveway? You need to figure out what you can do and what you can't do.
  10. If you are new to business, do you have a mentor for business start up advice? If that sounds all touchy-feely to you, it is not. You need someone you can talk to. You need a "been-there, done-that" kind of person.

  11. Who can you turn to for help to set up the business in the most effective way? There are a number of different ways to organize your business...sole proprietorship, partnership, corporate or LLC to name just a few. Do you know what is best for you? Figuring that out now, will save you money, time and effort in the future.
  12. What about issues like taxes, payroll, and insurance? Where will you turn for help?
  13. What about setting up an office? What is the most effective way for you to do this? What about buying a computer system and small business software?

First Steps to Launch Business
Once you have made the decision to start a business, here are the first steps you need to take to get it off of the launching pad.
How To Start a Business
How to start a business includes big decisions you need to make that will impact your success including what business structure to use, organizational details and marketing plans.
Getting Small Business Loans
Regarding small business loans, get your financial house in order before you start a business.
Business Insurance
There's a lot more to business insurance than meets the eye. Get the help of a knowledgeable independent insurance agent to make the right choices.
Creating a Limited Liability Company:
The limited liability company has characteristics of a partnership and characteristics of a corporation.
Forming an S Corporation
The S Corporation offers tax advantages and limited liability.
Incorporate Your Business
If you decide to incorporate your business it could offer you considerable advantages. Determine the best structure for your business in consultation with your lawyer.
Professional Corporation
The professional corporation is a business structure authorized by states for a limited number of licensed professionals.
Forming an LLP or Limited Liability Partnership
The LLP is formed to protect individual partners from personal liability for the ngligent acts of other partners or employees not under their direct control
Forming a PLLC or Professional Limited Liabilty Company
The PLLC or Professional Limited Liabiliyt Company is a limited liability company made up exclusively of licensed professionals.
How to Find Your NAICS Code
If you are ready to start a business, you need to determine what your NAICS Code is. NAICS Codes replace the old SIC Codes.
Do You Need Office Lease Space?
When you start a business, do you immediately need office lease space or is that a better alterantive for you?
The Virtual Office
There are numerous advantages to be gained by setting up a virtual office.
Consider an Office Sublease
In this economy, a good inexpense alternative to leasing office space is to find a well located office sublease.
Incubator Space
Incubator space in your area may be a good alternative to signing an office lease and having to pay big bucks on rent just as you start a business.
Office Investment
If you can afford it , an office investment might make sense for you.
Commercial Real Estate Terms
Key commercial real estate terms that entrepreneurs need to know and understand before negotiation an office lease.
How To Lease Office Space
You intend to start a business and lease office space. Begin carefully and hire professionals to help you.
Office Space Needs
Determine your office space needs and then evaluate possible alternatives to get the best space at the least cost.
Finding a Virtual Office in Your Area
The great thing about a virtual office is that you can open one anywhere. If you have offices in Atlanta, you can open a second office in Los Angeles with a phone call.
Small Business Software
To start a business, you need small business software. But with such a dazzling array of products on the market, what software do you need to start a business, what can you obtain later?
C heckmark
Checkmark Multiledger is an integrated, networkable financial package for small businesses.
Microsoft Accounting Software
Microsoft Accounting Software offers integration with other Microsoft programs and an easy to install and easy to get around in program.
MYOB accounting software
MYOB accounting software is streamlined and intuitive small business accounting software for the Mac
Peachtree Accounting Solutions
Peachtree Accounting Solutions for small businesses offers flexibility and depth.
Quickbooks Small Business Accounting Software
QuickBooks small business accounting software is one of the most popular because it offers users a quick start, flexibiity and depth.
Simply Accounting
Simply Accounting is a full featured, entry-level accounting system for small businesses to get you up and running quickly without having to know a lot of accounting jargon.
Small Business Accounting Software
When you start a business, a critical early decision that you must make is the type of small business accounting software you will use.
Business Market Research
Regardless of your new business idea, take time to do business market research to improve your chances of success.
Small Business Marketing
Small business marketing is really everything you do to promote your business from the moment you conceive the idea going forward.
Business Identity
Your business identity begins in the business pre-planning process and is a critical part of everything you will do to sell your product or service and attract customers on an ongoing basis.
Create a Logo for Your New Company
When you create a logo for your new company, keep in mind that the logo will likely be in use for many years. Therefore, do not skimp on the creativity you apply to get the logo just right.
Letterhead Templates and Samples
Ubiquitous letterhead templates and samples give the entrepreneur many choices in letterhead design and can help hold costs to a minimum.
Business Tagline
In developing an identity for your new business, consider developing a distinctive tagline along with a unique logo.
How To Brainstorm a Business Idea to Find Creative Solutions
Learning how to brainstorm business problems, challenges and opportunities can lead to creative and profitable soluitions.
Small Business Tips
You need to focus on the big idea in your business to be successful but there is a raft of small business tips to help you make or save money every day that you are in business.
Internet Fax Can Save You Money
That only fax machine and telephone number is costing you money. Close that old account and port the fax number to an internet account. It is easier than it sounds
Find a Small Business Association
A great way for new and existing businesses to save money is to join a small business association and take advantage of their health insurance and other member benefits.
Make a Land Line out of Your Cell Phone
Save business costs by turning your cell phone into a land line when in the office.
Get a VOIP Telephone for Your Business and Start Saving Money
The advent of the VOIP telephone has positioned your new business to drastically reduce phone costs.
Cable Deals, Bundling Services Together, Can Cut Your Business Costs
Cable deals abound today and you can save a lot of money in your business by bundling TV, phone and internet with the same company.
Consider Prepaid Wireless Plans for Your Business
By using one of many prepaid wireless plans, you could cut your cell phone bills.
Shop with Business Coupons
Business coupons can cut the cost of your purchases anywhere from 5% to 25% . All you need to do is take a couple of steps to become coupon aware.
Cash Back Credit Cards
Use cash back credit cards to save an additional 1% to 5% on all of your purchases. Over a year's time, that will add up to a lot of money!
Use a Business Auction To Cut Costs
If you will start a business and need to stretch your available cash as far as it will go, get into an business auction frame of mind.
Shop for Overstock Items to Cut Business Costs
For the most part, you can save a pretty penny by buying overstock items.
Direct Mail Marketing
Direct mail marketing and direct mail advertising are highly effective ways to bring in new business, even in this era of the internet
Small Business Marketing
A strong small business marketing programs begins with careful market or marketing research
Small Business Marketing
Small business marketing begins with a great idea, is confirmed through careful marketing research and then a solid plan is created.
Email Marketing Strategy
Your initial email marketing strategy, if you are entering this form of direct marketing for the first time, should be caution and to learn as you go.
Email Direct Marketing Tool
An email direct marketing tool can be your best friend to help you launch an email direct marketing program quickly and effectively.
Postcard Marketing
Postcard marketing is an effective and economical way for you to market your small business and to separate yourself from the competition.
Economic Development Agencies
Economic development agencies are on your side offering you every resource they can muster to help you succeed with your new business venture.
Marketing Tips
Good marketing tips and ideas are the lifeblood of the small business.
Marketing Tips
Marketing tips and ideas are the lifeblood of a small business.
Marketing Tips
Marketing tips and ideas are the lifeblood of a small business.
Marketing Tips
Marketing tips and ideas are the lifeblood of a small business.
Marketing TIps
Marketing tips and ideas are the lifeblood of a small business.
Business Details in 50 States
There is a huge amount of business knowhow on the web pages of the 50 states. Click here to learn about business in your state.
SBA and Other Government Resources
Check out the SBA, small business administration, and other agencies for business help.
Property Tax Assessment
Challenge your property tax assessment to reduce your costs when you start a business, a home-based business.
Make Business Cards Free
Make business cards free with literally hundreds of software programs and websites to help you.
Business Greeting Cards
Business greeting cards software can cut your promotion costs and help you customize your message.
Free VoIP Software and Services
There is software and services available that will allow you to get nearly free VoIP or Voice Over Internet Prococol phone calls.
The Basics of SBA Loans
SBA loans, or Small Business Administration loans come in many shapes and sizes and one might be right for your business.
SBA grants
While an SBA grants program for small businesses is non-existent, it can offer small businesses a variety of other options including a list of grants programs elsewhere in the federal government.
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will have a significant impact on small businesses. This community reinvestment act will have significant impact on small businesses.
SBA Business Loan
The SBA offers an excellent training program to prepare you to get an SBA business loan
Free Conference Call
The free conference call is a thing of the present and future. Eliminate those high bills from the telephone company by using these free services on the web.
The SBA 7a Loan Program
SBA 7a Loan Program is the most popular that the agency offers.
SBA 504 Loan Program
SBA 504 Program or simply CDC/504 furnishes long-term financing for economic development within a community.
Home Business Insurance
Home business insurance is an issue that you really need address before you launch your business, even the most modest of businesses
Business Security
Small business security is a big and comprehensive issue for even the smallest of firms.
Business Terms
Key business terms and definitions that you need to know.
Business Startup Ideas
With a whole universe of business startup ideas to choose from, which one is right for you?
To Start a Small Business Means Handling Everything
Unless you have substantial money to start a small business, are you willing to become a jack of all trades?
Business Market Research
Regardless of your new business idea, take time to do business market research to improve your chances of success.
Business Market Research
Regardless of your new business idea, take time to do business market research to improve your chances of success.
Business Market Research
Regardless of your new business idea, take time to do business market research to improve your chances of success.
Business Market Research
Regardless of your new business idea, take time to do business market research to improve your chances of success.
Business Market Research
Regardless of your new business idea, take time to do business market research to improve your chances of success.
Commercial Lease Tips
Here are several key tips about the commercial lease. The most important
Vision Statements
Vision statements tell you where your business is going.
Sample Mission Statements
Sample mission statements and sample vision statements may seem similar at first but nothing could be further from the truth!
How to Write Business Plan
In this section: "Tips on How to Write Business Plan," the writing of the plan is not difficult, it is carefully thinking through the plan before you write it that is important.
Business Plan Cover Page
The business plan cover page should be straight forward and to the point if being submitted to a bank for a loan.
Business Plan Format
Your business plan format needs to include a 100% accurate Table of Contents page. to tie the whole document together.
Business Plan Purpose
Include a "Business Plan Purpose Statement" when you create a business plan for submission to a bank for a loan.
Business Plan Summary
The Executive or Business Plan Summary is the first item in the document to be read but it must be the last one written.
Business Marketing Plan
The Marketing Analysis or Business Marketing Plan section is an integral part of your business plan document.
Business Plan Services
You need to describe in the business plan services and products of your company. While this might seem like the easiest section with which to deal, it is not; it is one of the trickiest.
Find a Small Business Advisor
Find a small business advisor or advisors when you start a business.
Do a Credit Repair Before You Start a Business
Be prepared to undertake a credit repair. When you start a business, it is essential that you put your best foot forward by evaluating your credit report and credit score.
Credit Report Before You Start a Business
Check credit report and credit score before you start a business. Poor credit results could harm your chances of getting a loan.
Credit Report Score Chart
A credit report score chart will help you figure out how you rank in the world of credit.
Write a Business Plan
When you write a business plan, describe in the Operations and Management Section of the plan how all of the moving parts work together.
Business Market Plan
When you create a business plan, you need to have a substantial business market plan included.
General Liability Insurance
Liability insurance or general liability insurance is defined as insurance that protects from claims by another of personal injury, property damage or negligence on your part or the part of your busin
Professional Liability Insurance
Professional liability insurance protects many professionals against claims of negligent acts, errors and omissions.
Product Liability Insurance
Do you think you don't need product liability insurance because you have general liability coverage? Think again!
Product Liability Cases
When is comes to product liability cases, size (small size that is!) won't protect you!
Flood Insurance
Determine if you need for flood insurance if you intend to start a home-based business. In fact, even if you lease office space rather than creating an office in your home, look into flood insurance a
Small Business Insurance Exclusions
As you look into small business insurance for your new company, it is wise to discuss with your insurance agent all of those risks that are excluded.
Directors and Officers Insurance
Directors and officers insurance or D & O insurance is something you may not need right now for your new company but something, hopefully, you will require down the road as your young company grows.
COBRA Insurance while you start a business
You may want to look into COBRA continuation health coverage, simply known as COBRA insurance, if you are planning to start a business
Disability Insurance
When it comes to disability insurance, shop (and then purchase) with extreme care.
Commercial Auto Insurance
When is comes to commercial auto insurance, it is better to be safe (and pay more up front) than sorry.
Business Owners Policy
For home business insurance or small business insurance, few if any insurance options beat the Business Owners policy or simply BOP.
Umbrella Policy
Consider purchasing an umbrella policy to guard against business surprises.
Business Health Insurance
Buying small business health insurance policy is a problem for any new or existing small or medium-size company.
Part TIme Business
Starting your new company as a part time business is a good route to take, unless you are one of the many unintentional entrepreneurs who have lost a job and you need a new opportunity quickly..
Why Start Your Own Business?
Starting your own business can be difficult and time consuming. Are you really ready for the challenges?
Nolapro Web Based Accounting and Business Management
Nolapro is a web-based accounting and business management suite that is free for commercial, non-profit and individual use.
Create a Business Plan that Will Help You Build Your Company.
Create a business plan for your new company? It is not absolutely necessary, but it is important. Heed this old adage: if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.
Definition of Trademark
Business glossary of key terms that you need to know to start a business.
Online Business Opportunity
When it comes to online business opportunity, the world is your oyster!
Starting a Business FAQ Blog
Are you about to start a business? This blog furnishes you with answers to frequently asked questions on starting and running a small business.
Site Map
Site Map of Everything you need to launch your new business.
Privacy Policy
Privacy policy.
Marketing with Business Cards
"Business cards at there most basic level are exchanged with others, but If that is all you are doing with yours, you are missing an effective marketing tool."