Planning to Start a Business?
Ask Yourself 14 Tough Questions

Start a business 3

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., Canada and elsewhere continues to come 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 stubbornly high and small business start-up funding and start-up business grants are still hard to get and when they are available, 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 been shattered or simply vanished. 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:

Start a business

  1. Why do you want to start a business at all? Is starting a business 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 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 and are not in a position to retire just yet. 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. Start a business

  3. Where's the money coming from? Start-up business financing is hard to come by. Where will you get a business start-up loan? Bank loans are tough for the newbie, although there has been a change in the banker's tone recently regarding small business that has been in existence for a few years. Two or three years ago, the loan window was closed to you. Today, bankers are looking at you and thinking if you survived the recent recession and you are still here, you must have something special; come see us about a loan. If you have a new business, you may want to apply for a loan anyway and get turned down. Then the bank can perhaps help you to go to the Small Business Administration about a loan.
  4. What do you know how to do, and what do you love doing? 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, but want to be in your own business, 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 instead love travel, perhaps you could combine your skill (teaching) and passion (travel)and create a niche learning/travel course featuring the great wines of France or the great foods of Italy.
  5. 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 knows almost nothing about running a business. The second man knows how to run a business, negotiate contracts, schedule jobs, buy products and meet and greet people, but almost nothing about the technical end of the business. 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 consulting work, but hate getting on the phone to make hundreds of cold calls to find new business, then partner with someone who will get on the phone and sell the job. You will both do well financially.
  6. 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. We like the trend today for people leaving online comments about virtually everything. In the world of franchises, you will find important information in those comments. Are the franchise owners great at selling the concept, but terrible about helping the franchisee. Are they ripping off the franchisee with the costs of goods and services. You have to be careful here, but a good, honest franchise company that sincerely wants to partner with you will be a great asset for your success.
  7. 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 in the neck for the entrepreneur who "wants to get going." 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. The very best entrepreneurs bring something else to the table besides a business plan...they know how they will start, grow and sell the business. Recently, we interviewed two entrepreneurs who are starting their fifth company together and they are in their early 30s.
  8. 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 marketplace who had the bucks to hire a party planner. If you are attracted to a successful business, you need to really understand what makes that business tick.
  9. 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.

  10. 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.
  11. 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.

  12. 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.
  13. What about issues like taxes, payroll, and insurance? Where will you turn for help?
  14. 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?
  15. Are your prepared to do a "premortem" of why your new business failed? New businesses fail at an incredibly high rate. After a business fails--and many do within the first year--the sad, broke entrepreneur could do a "post mortem," the way a coroner does, of why the business failed. But why not do a premortem? That is, imagine that the worst has happened and the business has closed its door or gone into legal bankruptcy proceedings. Now, come up with the main reason that the new business failed. Do not say to yourself--"I would never let that happen." Instead, imagine that the worst has happened and write down what happened; why it happened. Once you get that reason down, add a second and a third reason, until you have accumulated eight or 10 reasons that the business failed. Now, you have an incredibly valuable tool and you can go over your business plan and strengthen it. A powerful way to strengthen the premortem process even more is to tell those around you who know you and the business plan about doing the premortem. Ask them to come up with one or more reasosn why the business failed. Promise them you will not be insulted or hurt that you really need this information. Ask them to finish this statement..."The reason that the XYZ Company (your company) failed within its first year of operation was because....." "...shipments from China got delayed and did not arrive in time for the holiday season." "...there was a fire at the warehouse and one employee was killed; insurance coverage was not adequate to cover it." "...lightening struck the apartment over the store and the business had to close down because of water damage; the entrepreneur did not have business interruption insurance." By the way, these statements would all apply to businesses we know of.

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 buying business insurance than meets the eye. Get the help of a knowledgeable independent insurance agent to make the right choices.
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
Small business accounting software that you will select for your business is a critical early decision that you must make to get your start-up properly launched.
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.
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 Resources in 50 States
There is a huge amount of business know-how 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.
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.
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.
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.
Business Glossary
Business glossary--must-know terms for the start-up entrepreneur.
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.
Business Cards Online
QR Codes
QR Codes--There are many ways to market them in your business.
Value Links
Value links to help you successfully start a business.