Develop a business plan. Developing a good business plan will help map out how you will start and run your business successfully. Your plan should include a statement of the business purpose, also known as an executive summary, a description, a plan for marketing and managing your business, financial projects, and appropriate supporting documents. By doing a simple online search, you can find many resources for preparing your business plan. And remember, you need a solid business plan, but you also need to be flexible to modify your plan as conditions change.
Get professional help. Take advantage of free training and counseling services for businesses. The Small Business Administration (SBA) provides counseling and training designed to help businesses succeed. Research online for other learning opportunities in your area. Find a good business accountant and attorney. Your accountant can help you determine if an Incorporation, Limited Liability Company (LLC), or Sole Proprietorship, would be best. A business attorney can help with the paperwork needed for your new business like your Employer Identification Number (EIN), business name registration, sales tax licenses, federal business licenses, zoning permits, etc.
Prepare your finances. Know your start-up costs and what level of revenue it will take for your business to break even. Determine what expenses will be one-time costs, and what will be ongoing costs. Then decide if the costs are essential or optional, fixed (rent, utilities, insurance, etc.) or variable (inventory, shipping, sales commission, etc.)
Determine cash flow. It's important to make conservative estimates about sales and what it will cost to pay suppliers and employees. Also, consider the hours you'll put into your business to get sales. Be sure you can live off your projected income for at least six months from your personal budget. Negative cash flow is the most common reason for business failures.
Protect yourself and your business. Make sure you have enough business insurance coverage. If your business is based out of your home, your business items may not be covered by your homeowners' insurance. Assess your insurance needs, including liability and property damage, and meet with your insurance professional to make sure you are adequately covered.