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10 Steps to Start a Business
Check out the The Small Business Administration’s 10-point plan for starting a business.

Business Planning Meeting at a Table

Are YOU in it to Win it?

So you have a great idea for a business, but how do you turn that dream into a profitable business? Starting a business involves securing funding, creating a lucrative business plan, hiring employees and completing a series of legal activities that can be daunting. Luckily, the Small Business Administration lays out 10 easy steps to help you start a new business.

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Business Plan Paperwork

Create a Business Plan

While business plans will vary from business to business, a well-formed business plan will serve as a guide to help get your business up and running. According to the Small Business Administration, your plan will continually evolve and be influenced by factors such as the economy and sales growth. Most business plans consist of an executive summary, a description of the business, a marketing and distribution plan and financial and sales projections.

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Office Workers Planning

Get Business Assistance and Training

Don't start a business blindfolded. The SBA suggests finding classes or taking advantage of free mentoring programs that assist entrepreneurs secure financing, hire the right employees and expand their businesses.

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Small Business Store

Choose the Right Location

Choosing a customer-friendly location can be determined by a number of factors: Would your business function well online? Do you need a location with a lot of foot traffic? Different types of businesses will succeed in diverse locations, so it’s important to establish what kind of customer base you want. Before opening shop, make sure you’re in compliance with local zooming policies.

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Small Business Lending FBN

Finance Your Business

The financial crisis caused credit markets to freeze, and more than two years later they are still thawing, making it hard for aspiring entrepreneurs to access credit. If you don't have a bunch of cash saved up, get your business started with a little help. The SBA suggests finding government backed loans, venture capital and research grants.

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Man Planning With a Calculator

Determine the Legal Structure of Your Business

Are you a sole proprietor? S Corporation? Establishing your form of business entity determines which income tax return form you have to file every year. Different filings bring different tax breaks and incentives, so be sure to do your homework to determine the best fit for your business goals.

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Coffee Shop Business Owners

Register a Business or 'DBA' Name

Picking a name may be a cinch, but you have to legally register it. Your registered name must appear on all government forms and applications, including licenses and permits. If you sell your products or open shop under a different name you must file under a 'fictitious name,' but states vary on this issue so be sure to check your state’s legal requirements.

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State Business Tax Climate

Get a Tax Identification Number

There's no hiding from good old Uncle Sam, even when it comes to starting a business. All businesses must pay federal, state, and sometimes local taxes. Most businesses will need to register with the IRS as well as state and local revenue agencies to request a tax ID number or permit to determine what taxes you owe.

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IRS Tax Return Envelope Reuters

Register for State and Local Taxes

Each State and locality has its own tax laws. According to the Small Business Administration, the most common types of small business tax requirements are tax permits, income taxes and employment taxes.

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business owner filling out papers

Obtain Business Licenses and Permits

To operate legally, your business must be licensed. Depending on services provided, your business may need to be licensed at the federal, state, or local level.

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business owner reading paperwork

Understand Employer Responsibilities

It's your responsibility to hire the right people to help expand your business. The Small Business Administration recommends learning the legal steps you need to take before and after hiring employees.

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10 Steps to Start a Business

Check out the The Small Business Administration’s 10-point plan for starting a business.

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