“Small business” is much too broad, so I’m dividing our entrepreneurship topics up into three categories:
- Dreaming: for those who are dreaming or planning to start a business of their own. [that's this page]
- Doing and Growing: for those who have a business, and have grown to the point that it’s time (or almost time) to hire that first employee.
- Leveling up: for those who have a business, but are looking to step up to a new level.
|Dreaming of opening a business is exciting!|
The Dreaming Stage
This is an exciting phase. You’re dreaming of starting something new. You’re full of excitement and also apprehension. To help get you going, here are some of our best resources:
Checklists for Getting Started
I wrote these first two for a friend, when he got his first paying side gigs. He wasn’t sure where to go or what to do.
- 4 tips for going into business
- Startup: Resources to get from idea to in business
- How to find people to help you with your business
- 6 Things self-employed should know from the IRS
- New online small business tax workshop
- Build a technology company without a tech cofounder
- Get going in business
- Treat it like a business
- 100 tips to get your business going
- Starting a business is like throwing a party
When you’re dreaming of starting a business, ideas can be like candy, or like yeast. You may snack away on them like candy, or they may help your business dreams to rise, like yeast in bread dough. We have a downloadable booklet, with 20 business ideas. It also has more ways to dream up your own business ideas. (Print copies of the booklet are available, $1 per copy to cover shipping.)
We also have an entire category of business ideas you can borrow or take inspiration from. A couple of examples:
- How to start a business today (helping others with social media)
- Becoming an entrepreneurial villager (four ideas for “profit centers”)
When you’re trying to evaluate whether a business idea is a good match, you need some business intelligence.
- Improving you chances of success, with entrepreneur tips from Dave Shideler
- Surprising business intelligence from your library
- Business intelligence from the USDA
- Retail Store Industry Benchmarks
- Simplify your business plan
- Hate business plans? I have alternatives
- Another business plan alternative: your calendar
- Simplify your small business marketing plan and the Simplified Marketing Plans video summary
- How to figure out your revenue goals
- How to set retail prices and markups
- 8 Ways to define your niche
- The Four Ps of Marketing
- Tips for setting business hours
- Checklist for your business website
- Social media tools for small town businesses
- Choosing a website name for small town businesses
- Where to register a business online
Accounting and Bookkeeping
- Do you get accounting?
- The easiest accounting system
- Simplified Small Biz Accounting and Record Keeping
- Simplified accounting for side businesses and micro enterprises
Too may people get hung up on this. Don’t worry about this part until you have already found the idea and started working on details.
- When to choose sole proprietorship is part of the How do I ‘become’ a business? section in Checklists for starting your first business.
- When not to be a sole proprietor: forming an LLC or S Corp
- Can a sole proprietor have more than one business?
- Cooperatives as an alternative business model
- Worker-owned cooperatives can work in small towns
And a related question, though not really about structure:
Accepting Credit Cards
Since many credit card processors lock new businesses into multi-year contracts, it’s better to get this right from the start. I’m a big fan of Square for my business.