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What steps do I need to take to open a small business?

I'm a sophomore going into my junior year of high school and want to start a small business someday, but I'm not sure what to do to achieve that. Are there any specific classes I should take? After that, what's the process?

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Chelsie’s Answer

Hi Chance,

Typically each state has information on their state website on how to go about starting a business in that state. The requirements vary by state, so I think step 1 would be knowing where you want to potentially start your business one day, and then get familiar with the requirements of that state. I see you are located in CA so I took a peek and found where on their site there is information: https://www.sos.ca.gov/business-programs/business-entities/starting-business

There are also many YouTube videos that have information on this as well, if you just search "how to start a business in California" a ton come up if you prefer to learn by video vs reading articles!

Some more broad resources you can look into since you are thinking ahead are:
-- https://squareup.com/us/en/the-bottom-line/starting-your-business/how-to-start-a-business
-- https://www.sba.gov/business-guide/10-steps-start-your-business
-- https://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2022/10/27/want-to-run-your-own-business-one-day-nine-actions-to-get-you-started/

I also encourage you to look into Colleges and Universities that have Business or Entrepreneurial degrees or focuses, they will really help you gain some of the necessary skills to pave the way for when you are ready to start your business venture!
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Daniel’s Answer

Hi Chance!

I would suggest the below 3 steps to help you start your own business.

1. You need to register your business with the Secretary of State (SOS). Most businesses register in the state where the business is actually located (HQ Address). At the same time you will need to decide the entity type for your business such as a LLC, Inc, LTD. Make sure you register with a state so your business can operate legally.

2. Come up with a business plan. This would include items such as operations, location, capital/funding, vision/mission statement etc. You can easily get lost in the weeds on this part. Don't get caught up in details that you can figure out later. Think big picture and ask yourself what is your business really trying to accomplish? That is always a good starting point on a business plan!

3. Lastly, come up with different business goals and set dates when you want to accomplish them. Setting a timeline will help you stay on track and know where you are in the process. It is very difficult but don't let yourself get caught up in the whirlwind of the "day to day." Meaning, set yourself and the business up with clear goals and do your best to not let the "daily fires" use up all your time. Inadvertently, you will have to attend to some of these daily fires but make sure you block off time to keep the vison of the company alive.

Out of the many business books I have read, if I could only suggest two books to you, it would be the books below. Hope these thoughts help and good luck on the journey!

Daniel recommends the following next steps:

Read Dream Big by Bob Goff
Read the The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals by Chris McChesney, Sean Covey, and Jim Huling
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Katherine’s Answer

Hey!

The two best resources I know of for running a business are this workbook (https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/bc/content/ldsorg/topics/self-reliance/2017/14678_sgmb_book_eng.pdf?lang=eng) and Dave Ramsey's book EntreLeadership.
Thank you comment icon Please note that the workbook provided in this answer represents a religious perspective on the subject matter. Sharyn Grose, Admin
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