I like this piece called “Entrepreneur Chic” at Latina, written by Kenrya Rankin Naasel. She has a nice breakdown of the startup process into eight steps. I particularly liked the first and second steps. Here’s her list:

  1. Pick an Expertise. I like this a lot. After deciding what you like, she says:

    Next comes your single most important decision: making sure that there is actually a market for the thing you love to do. That’s exactly what Gladys Benitez-Reilly did when she started Viva Spanish! Language Programs, a company that teaches Spanish in schools and organizations in Cleveland. “It won’t feel like work if you’re passionate,” she says. “I took a look at my skill set and figured out what service I could provide that could be profitable and fill a need.”

  2. Write a Business Plan. She adds:

    The biggest mistake [Marcia] Pledger sees people make with their business plan is not writing one at all! “We operated with no real plan for years,” Benitez-Reilly admits. “If we’d gone through the process, we might have defined our own direction, rather than relying on luck.” And don’t just stuff it in a drawer when it’s done. “Things don’t generally go as planned,” Pledger says, “so it’s critical to update it as things change.”

  3. Make It Official. That’s the name, the registration and so forth. Another quote:

    Take care when picking a name. “This is crucial, as it’s the face of your business,” says Liliam M. Lopez, president and CEO of the United States Hispanic Women’s Chamber of Commerce. Ask yourself three questions: Is it easy to remember? Does it give an idea of what you do? Is it already being used? You can figure out the first two with the help of friends; for the third, do a trademark search on United States Patent and Trademark Office’s site (uspto.gov).

  4. Get Your Financing Straight
  5. Be Sure to Insure
  6. Spread the Word
  7. Know the Customer
  8. Learn How to Adjust

There are, of course, a lot of other lists around and other step-by-step guides; but this is another useful one. Particularly starting by choosing an expertise, and with planning.

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Tim BerryTim Berry
Tim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software and Bplans.com. Follow him on Twitter @Timberry.