2007-05-25 / Business

First steps for opening new business

Starting a small business can open the door to independence, fulfillment and prosperity, but figuring out the first steps can be intimidating.

With more than 25.8 million small businesses currently in the United States and 671,000 new companies getting started every year, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, it's important to know where to begin to be successful in a competitive marketplace.

First ask what kind of business do you want to start? Think about your passions and interests and how to use your best skills and experience. Once you have your business idea, you can put your plan into action.

+Know the rules. Research which licenses and registrations are needed, tax responsibilities and the right insurance.

+Find the best office, at home or elsewhere. Decide on what technology to use, how to implement it with a local IT consultant.

+Build a brand. A compelling logo, marketing materials and a well-designed website are key to making a positive impression.

+Do the marketing. Research the market and choose the right vehicles, including advertising, keywords and public relations.

+Make the sale. Be prepared to accept payments in various forms and to keep track of customer relationships.

+Manage costs and keep the books in good order.

+Mind the details. Support for shipping, travel and legal issues is affordable and nearby.

This story is provided by North American Precis Syndicate Inc.

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