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How does one start a business?

How do entrepreneurs start their own businesses? Where do they even begin?

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Chirayu’s Answer

Starting a business can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it can also be challenging and complex. The first step in starting a business is to identify a product or service that you want to provide. This could be something that you're passionate about, or something that you think has a market need. Once you have a business idea, you need to research the market to determine if there is demand for your product or service. You should identify your target audience, evaluate your competition, and understand your industry's trends and potential challenges. A business plan is a formal document that outlines your business's goals, strategies, financial projections, and other important details. It's a useful tool for securing funding and guiding your business's growth. Depending on your business's goals and needs, you may need to choose a legal structure, such as a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, or corporation. You may need to register your business with your state and/or local government to obtain necessary licenses and permits. Depending on the scale of your business, you may need to secure funding from investors, banks, or other sources. This can be a challenging process, but it's an important step to get your business off the ground.
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Joi’s Answer

It's great that you want to start your own business. If you haven't had any previous jobs or work experience, I suggest to actually get some experience in the field you're interested in starting a business. This way, you can learn the ins and outs of running a business (the operations side is one area a lot of people don't realize how complex it can be), the industry and even make some connections and build your network of people that can help you when you actually have your own business.

Best of luck!
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Rachel’s Answer

There are great resources for new business owners. Check out Verizon Small Business Digital Ready Program.
It offers 1:1 mentoring, free online classes and $10k grants for small busines owners. https://mblogin.verizonwireless.com/citizen/login/

Also, check out Hello Alice. Hello Alice is a free platform designed for AND by small business owners. We're here to guide and support you at every turn on your adventure in entrepreneurship. We work on behalf of over one million small business owners like you to secure relevant business solutions and funding opportunities for you and your business.
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Chip’s Answer

Chirayu nailed it with his answer. But if you are looking for a short outline version of what you will need, these are the most important on the checklist once you have the idea, the ability, and the finances saved to start your own company:

- A business license. This can almost always be done through your state on their website, typically in the commerce section and is typically very cheap ($50/yr here in Georgia).
- An LLC or S-Corp to protect your personal finances from your business dealings. This limits any damages so that only your company can be sued and not you as a person should anything go wrong. It also sets the table for your tax filings.
- An attorney for your LLC or S-Corp. You can usually just ask a friend you know in the legal field to help with this, or you can Google it and find a long list of attorneys that will file the forms for you for a fee.
- A small business accountant. This is VERY important. Establish the relationship before you make your first dime. They will tell you exactly how to run your finances, what receipts to save, what loopholes will save you tax money, etc. They are also typically well-versed in local and state regulations so they will likely help you the most on knowing what forms you need to file and with which governmental departments. They are worth the price, so get a good one!!
- All of this sounds like a lot, but it is very important to have everything lined up with the correct agencies before you begin making money. No one wants to make money only to give some of it back due to penalties.

Owning your own business is in credibly rewarding. There is nothing in my career that I enjoy more than being my own boss. Best of luck!!
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Terrell’s Answer

Hi Amy,
What a great question. Being a business owner is both rewarding and challenging. Before you take the leap, ask yourself four questions:
1. Will you do something in the business that you love?
2. Are you good at it?
3. Does the world need your product or service?
4. Can you get paid for your product or service?

Answering yes to these questions will be the start of something wonderful. Google can be your best friend when you start a business. Find out how to write a business plan. Determine the type of business entity you want to start (S corp, LLC, C Corp, Sole Proprietor). Reserve your business name. Before registering the name, ensure it hasn't been used in e-commerce. You may have to rename your business if someone has already taken the name. Ensure the name is also available and hasn't been taken on all social media outlets. It's important to have the same branding across all media outlets. Another thing you should do is determine your startup costs and the pricing of your product or service. Knowing this will determine if and when you can make a profit. This should be enough to get you started.
Best of luck to you!
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Edward’s Answer

When you're ready, seek out the SCORE chapter nearest to where you live on www.score.org.

Since 1953, SCORE has been helping entrepreneurs start and expand new businesses with the help of 12,000 mentors who have already done that.

A SCORE mentor will help you identify your target market, alternatives/competitors and raise startup money by means of a written business plan.

90% of all entrepreneurs have no written business plan, and half those who do wrote an inadequate plan. SCORE asked investors in small business what they needed to know in order to invest, and those are the questions in SCORE's template B.P.

SCORE has 25,000 webinars available to everyone on its website that show entrepreneurs how to begin. Last but not least, mentors, templates and webinars cost ZERO.

Edward recommends the following next steps:

look at SCORE's website
pick a mentor who knows your proposed type of business and lives near you
tell the mentor your ideas; he or she will LISTEN without judging you
draft a written business plan
give a copy of your plan and "pitch deck" to SCORE's financing sources
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Heidi’s Answer

To help apply all the advice above on finding a market need, target audience etc, I highly recommend reading The Mom Test by Rob Fitzpatrick. It's a pretty quick read and it gets to the core of how to get honest and unbiased feedback from people about your business ideas.

Link: https://www.amazon.com/The-Mom-Test-Rob-Fitzpatrick-audiobook/dp/B07RJZKZ7F
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