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BellaOnline's Small Office/Home Office Editor

Start a Business - Five First Steps

When asked about dreams and goals, many people want to start their own business. Unfortunately, for some, that is as far as it gets. Few fail to take the next steps to bring their dream into reality. It can be very hard to start and run a successful business, but people do it every day. And, itís worth it!

Here are some "bare-bones" basics on business start-up that can help you decide if business ownership is really for you. What do you need to start a business? These five first steps will have you on the road to being your own boss in no time:

1) An idea. Every business is "about" something. What do you want your business to be about? Just wanting to start a business without knowing what business you want to own can lead to being scammed by "get-rich" quick schemes, or to losing your own money.

2) A market. Business doesn't happen until you sell something to someone. Even if you are providing a service, you have to sell that service to someone. The greatest business idea in the world is useless without a market--people willing to buy.

3) A business plan. For many businesses, there are numerous variables, and the process of completing a business plan will help you narrow those down. By writing your business plan, you will determine where to locate your business, how much money you need to make, how much money you need to get started, what your business will do, who your customers will be, what your competitors are doing, and much more.

4) Business skills. Beyond the specific skills and knowledge involved in producing your product or service, you need to know some basic principles of business. You need skills in communication, accounting, sales, marketing, and management. You also need to know or be able to find out what laws and regulations pertain to your business, such as local zoning laws, labor laws, tax laws and so on. Itís not hard, and you can always find people to help you, so donít let this part scare you off.

5) Tenacity. Once you have the idea, the market and the business plan, and some basic business knowledge, tenacity (determination, purpose) is essential. There will be setbacks and perhaps downright failures, but those who succeed have the drive, passion and persistence to overcome obstacles.

There are many resources available for free online that can help you learn business basics and turn your dream into a viable business. You can explore various ideas, discover other businesses that are similar, and even create a business plan. The Small Office Home Office site here at BellaOnline.com has many articles on business basics as well as specific how-to articles for several businesses.

If you know you want to start a business but need some help in coming up with the right idea, my ebook Finding the Perfect Small Business for You has easy exercises to lead you to that perfect idea.

When you are ready to get started, I recommend How to Write a Great Business Plan for Your Small Business in 60 Minutes or Less - With Companion CD-ROM.

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