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Starting a Business

An outline of some important steps to take when thinking about starting a new business.

Man balancing on a red robe suspended in the clouds. Rope becomes stairs.

In business, as in many areas of life, preparation is essential. That's sometimes easier said than done, however. When we're excited by the idea of starting a new business, we naturally want to dive in immediately. Additionally, a startup venture requires negotiating a wide range of challenges. Sometimes we make mistakes simply because we don't know what we're supposed to know.

We want to help you avoid that outcome by giving you a detailed look at the fundamentals of starting a new business. This week, we're discussing the precise steps you need to take to give your business the best possible chance for success.

The first step? Look internally. Do you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur? Sure, the idea of working for yourself is intriguing -- but do you have the core attributes that make entrepreneurs successful? We'll help you answer this question.

Other questions, too, should loom large for anyone considering founding a business. What kind of business will I run? Where will I run it? How will I attract customers? We'll help you write a list of such key questions to help you conceptualize your overall business approach.

Business plans are also critical. This week we'll show you the ins and outs of crafting a professional and persuasive business plan -- a document that will serve as your roadmap for the first few years.

What about financing? Even the best idea won't get you very far if you lack the capital to take it to market. This week we'll explore the most common varieties of business funding, and we'll help you determine which type fits best for you.

Determining your legal structure is another important step. Are you a sole proprietor? An LLC? A partnership? We'll explore the features of each structure, and how they may or may not be suited for your own business.

We'll also discuss your responsibilities as an employer. How do you handle payroll? What about benefits? How do you stay compliant with federal and local laws?

Preparation for these issues can mean the difference between a thriving new startup and a business that never reaches liftoff.

We hope that by the end of the week, you'll be more prepared than ever to take that first exciting step into entrepreneurship.