Starting a Business Guide

Starting a business is a multi-step process that can feel overwhelming when you're on your own, but we'll make it easy to stay organized and on track while you start your business and achieve success. Whether you're refining your business idea, filing for permits and licenses, drafting your business plan, or looking for funding, we have the tools you need to do it right and get it done. If you're ready to start your business but need a helping hand, why not take the Start a Business in 30 Days challenge?


Find a Good Business Idea

A good business idea isn’t just one that turns a profit. It’s one that’s a good fit for you personally, for your target market, and for your location. Hopefully you’re going to be in business for a long time, so pick something you love.


Choose the Type of Business You Want To Start

A traditional business isn’t right for everyone. If you want to hit the ground running with a tried-and-tested business model, a franchise may be a better fit for you, or if you like the idea of doing good at the same time, why not a nonprofit, or a social enterprise?


Do Your Market Research

One of the best ways to figure out whether or not you’ve hit upon a good idea is to get out and start talking to real people—do they really want a fancy Basque restaurant in their neighborhood or is another donut shop going to be more to their taste?


Test Your Business Idea

How do you really know you’ve hit upon a good idea? We use the lean planning methodology to figure this out. Of course, you may also want to get out and talk to real people about what they want and whether or not your product or service solves that need.


Brand Your Business

A strong brand is the key to customer loyalty and higher sales. Now that you know a bit more about your target audience, you’ve got the opportunity—through your brand—to grab their attention.


Get Financed

While not every startup needs outside funding, most businesses do require some help, at least at the beginning. If you’ve worked through your business plan and have a sound handle on your financials, pitching for funding should be a breeze.