Starting and managing a business takes motivation, desire and talent. It also takes research and planning.

Like a chess game, success in small business starts with decisive and correct opening moves. And, although initial mistakes are not fatal, it takes skill, discipline and hard work to regain the advantage.

To increase your chance for success, take the time up front to explore and evaluate your business and personal goals. Then use this information to build a comprehensive and wellthoughtout business plan that will help you reach these goals.

The process of developing a business plan will help you think through some important issues that you may not have considered yet. Your plan will become a valuable tool as you set out to raise money for your business. It should also provide milestones to gauge your success.


Before starting out, list your reasons for wanting to go into business. Some of the most common reasons for starting a business are:

* You want to be your own boss.
* You want financial independence.
* You want creative freedom.
* You want to fully use your skills and knowledge.

Next you need to determine what business is "right for you." Ask yourself these questions:

* What do I like to do with my time?
* What technical skills have I learned or developed?
* What do others say I am good at?
* How much time do I have to run a successful business?
* Do I have any hobbies or interests that are marketable?

Then you should identify the niche your business will fill. Conduct the necessary research to answer these questions:

* Is my idea practical and will it fill a need?
* What is my competition (There is a saying, "If you don't have competition, then you don't have a business!")?
* What is my business advantage over existing firms?
* Can I deliver a better quality service?
* Can I create a demand for your business?

The final step before developing your plan is the pre-business checklist. You should answer these questions:

* What business am I interested in starting?
* What services or products will I sell?
* Where will I be located?
* What skills and experience do I bring to the business?
* What will be my legal structure? (There are a substantial amount of information about legal structures on this site - Just type in "corporation" in the search or click on the "INCORPORATE" tab)
* What will I name my business (Be careful, there may already be a business using your prospective name)?
* What equipment or supplies will I need?
* What insurance coverage will be needed?
* What financing will I need?
* What are my resources?
* How will I compensate myself?

Your answers to all these questions, will help you create a focused, well researched business plan that should serve as your business roadmap.