Starting your own business is not an endeavor you should jump into without a great deal of thought and consideration. It’s risky, and there are a lot of steps to getting started.

Most people seem to think you can jump right into daily operations, but there’s a lot of preparation needed before you can make your first dollar or court your first customer.

We’re going to take a look at some of the various factors to consider before you open the doors to your business, and what you need to be absolutely sure to get in place before you get started.

Keep in mind that much of this specifically deals with laws in the United States. If you need laws specific to another area, you will have to check with your own local agencies for information.

We’re going to take a look at such things as:  

  • Business licenses
  • Taxes
  • Incorporation
  • Taking Payments
  • And More!

The first thing you need to ask yourself before you start a business is: Am I an entrepreneur?

You need to be completely honest with yourself, because if you start a business without that entrepreneur mentality, your chances of success will be greatly diminished.

The fact is, not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur. If you are the type of person who doesn’t like taking a lot of risks, starting a business is probably not for you. If you have trouble motivating yourself to work and you find you need a boss to keep you working, you’ll probably have a lot of trouble being productive working for yourself.
A true entrepreneur is someone who:  

  • knows how to motivate himself
  • knows how to delegate tasks to others
  • is an efficient time manager
  • is not afraid of taking risks
  • is a good communicator
  • is passionate about her line of business
  • is an effective planner
  • can manage money wisely
  • keeps their customers needs in mind
  • is not afraid to promote themselves
  • is not afraid of technology
  • is highly organized

It takes most of these traits to succeed in business, and the more of these you possess, the greater your odds of success.
Remember, many of these traits can be acquired by study and/or training, so keep working on growing as a business minded person of developing these traits.

If you’re starting a business that isn’t based solely online, you’ll probably want to consider whether or not you will need an online presence. And the fact is, these days almost every business can benefit from having a presence on the internet.

It doesn’t have to cost a lot to build some sort of online presence for your company. In fact, you can use free tools to build a website, set up a blog, and of course you can use social media.

Even if you don’t intend to do any selling online, you still need to be sure your business is represented online. Let’s say you’re a local paint contractor who deals primarily with customers only in your city or county. You still need an online presence.

These days, fewer people than ever are using the local yellow pages to find businesses. Most people go online now, because they can find out a lot of information without having to spend a great deal of time making phone calls. They can also see samples or your work/products, find hours of operation, and even contact you through email.

If you think about it, this benefits you, too. If people are able to find out the answers to simple questions online, then they don’t have to call you and cost you time and money. This means less work for you overall.
Social media is also important for nearly all businesses these days. Facebook, for example, can drive a large number of visitors to your business through word-of-mouth. Once a few people in your local area “like” your Facebook page, more people will see it and word will spread.
And don’t underestimate the power of online review sites such as Yelp, Google, Urbanspoon and Angie’s List. These sites allow visitors to review business and service providers, and a very large number of people use these sites before they decide which company to use or visit.
You should check review sites regularly to be sure no one is leaving bad reviews for your company. Bad reviews can hurt your business more than you realize, and if someone leaves a bad review, you have a chance to contact them and ask them to come back to your company and give you a chance to make it up to them so they may leave a more positive review later. (But NEVER respond in a negative way to reviews! It will only make you look worse, even if you are in the right.) But all in all, reviews are a great way to provide a positive reputation, offer great testimonials and even help you increase your ranking in online search engines.