How to Start a Business: Complete Steps and Resources

Sections of this topic

    How to Start a Business: Complete Steps and Resources

    Copyright Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD. This manual explains each step
    needed to start a successful business and provides useful online resources for
    each step.

    Sections of This Topic Include

    Don’t Forget About You!

    1. Get Yourself Ready First
    2. Focus On the Journey, Not the Map

    Verify Your Business Idea

    3. What’s Your Business Idea?
    4. Is It a Viable Business Idea?

    Identify Business Industry and Model

    5. What is Your Business Industry?
    6. What is Your Business Model?

    Get the Necessary Funding

    7. Write Your Business Plan
    8. Get the Necessary Funding

    Design Your Business

    9. Become Legal and Official
    10. Plan Your Staffing

    Select Location and Plan Facilities

    11. Plan Your Facilities
    12. Select the Best Location

    Develop Your Product or Service

    13. Develop Your Product or Service
    14. Develop Your Ongoing Supply Chain

    Plan Your Marketing and Sales

    15. Plan Your Marketing
    16. Plan Your Sales

    Sell Your Product or Service

    17. Start Selling to Your Customers
    18. Ensure Strong Customer Service

    Manage and Grow Your Business

    19. Manage Your Overall Business
    20. Grow Your Overall Business

    Numerous Free Useful Resources

    Free Help to Start a Business
    Free Checklists to Start a Business

    Also consider
    Related Library Topics


    DON’T FORGET ABOUT YOU!

    1. Get Yourself Ready First

    Are You Personally Ready to Start a New Business?

    Many people are so excited about starting a new business, that they forget
    about one of the biggest challenges — getting themselves ready first. So before
    undertaking the steps to start a new business, they first should think about:

    • There are certain traits of successful entrepreneurs. Am I really an entrepreneur?
    • What are my true passions? How can I retain those in my new venture?
    • What is my stress level now? Can I take much more?
    • What are my personal strengths and weaknesses. How can I use my strengths
      to strengthen my weaknesses?
    • Are there alternatives that I could do right now?
    • Are my personal finances in shape before I go to investors?

    The following article will help you to answer each of these very important
    questions.
    Entrepreneurs
    — Are You Personally Ready to Start a New Venture?

    Why Do You Want to Start a
    Business?

    To be motivated enough to plan and build a business, it is important to know
    why you are doing it in the first place. There are many reasons, but you should
    know your own. Don’t look at others’ reasons for now. Just think about yourself.
    For example, is your primary reason to:

    • Make enough money to live on?
    • Do the business as a hobby?
    • Learn a new skill?
    • Work with a team on a common goal?
    • Benefit others from your product or service?

    Also consider
    50 Reasons
    to Start Your Own Business
    30 Compelling
    Reasons to Start a Business
    21 Reasons
    to Start a Business Today
    20
    Right and Wrong Reasons to Start Your Own Business
    Top
    Reasons People Start Their Own Business

    2. Focus On the Journey, Not the Map

    The most important part of your planning how to start your business is not
    the plan itself. The most important part is the planning itself — the thinking
    about your business, what you want to get from it, who it will serve and how.

    The plan is only the “map”, the document. The planning is the real
    “journey.” That is why it is never a good idea to short-cut your planning
    by doing, for example, a “one-hour” or a “one-page” business
    plan, or to have someone else do the planning and the writing for you.

    Here are some guidelines to help you to get the most out of the journey of
    your planning.

    • Realize that you’ve already done a lot of planning in your life. Think about
      what worked before? What didn’t? What can you improve this time?
    • Do the planning one step at a time. It’s better to do high-quality planning
      than to rush to get a plan done. Your planning will take as long as it takes.
    • Start simple, but start. Don’t wait for the perfect time.
    • The planning does not have to be perfect the first time. You can change
      it as needed.
    • It’s your business you are planning. Start with your own ideas first, then
      polish them with someone else’s.
    • Do the first 20% of planning that produces the first 80% of results. First
      plan the big chunks. Add details in the next round.
    • Give yourself credit as you keep adding to your plan.
    • Remember that planning the start-up is different than operating it — but
      it’s just as important.

    Also consider
    How to
    Do Planning


    TESTING YOUR BUSINESS IDEA

    3. What’s Your Business Idea?

    You probably had one or more good ideas for a product or service that you thought
    would be valuable to others. Otherwise, if you want to start a business, you
    should think of some ideas real soon. Ideas can come from many sources, but
    for now, it’s important for you to clarify your own idea. Is it a product or
    a service? A product is a tangible item of value that others are willing to
    purchase. A service is an intangible series of activities that others are willing
    to purchase. Regarding your idea, you might not know the answers to all of the
    necessary questions yet, but think about these initial questions:

    • Is it a product or a service?
    • Who is most likely to benefit from it? How do you know?
    • What will it take for you to produce that product or service?
    • What will it take to convince others to buy it?
    • If sales isn’t a skill of yours, how likely can you convince others to sell
      it?
    • Do those activities touch your passions? If not, how can you remain enthusiastic?
    • How likely is the idea to be useful enough to build a business around?

    If you do not yet have an idea, then think about:

    • What types of complaints do you or others often talk about?
    • What kinds of suggestions do you often hear?
    • What kinds of products or services do you especially appreciate? Do enough
      of them exist?
    • What kinds of skills do you or others have that could be used even more
      to help others?

    What is your business idea?

    The
    Best Resources Where You Can Find Business Ideas
    7
    Reliable Sources Of Business Ideas You Should Explore
    8
    Good Sources of New Business Ideas and Opportunities
    10 Great Ways to Generate
    Business Ideas
    Business
    Development — Growing Your For-Profit or Nonprofit Organization

    Some additional resources in generating ideas
    Listening
    | Questioning
    | Interviewing
    | Sharing
    Feedback
    | Brainstorming
    | Creativity and Innovation

    4. Is It a Viable Business Idea?

    What is a Viable Business Idea?

    A viable business idea is an idea for a product or service that is very likely
    to:

    1. Be in high enough demand by potential customers
    2. That they are willing to pay enough money for it,
    3. That the revenue from those sales will consistently
    4. Exceed what it costs to develop and provide the product or service.

    Far too many businesses fail because the entrepreneur is firmly convinced that
    the idea is viable only because he or she so strongly believes in it. Few entrepreneurs
    are like Steve Jobs who can create a product or service that is in such strong
    demand that it creates its own market. The vast majority of successful business
    ideas were verified first before they were transformed into successful products
    and services.

    How to Test If Your Idea is a Viable Business Idea

    When thinking about your product or service, Rolfe
    Larson
    suggests:

    1. Go online to find similar businesses and interview them. You’ll be
      surprised how open they are.
    2. Your online research should also guide you to some “experts”
      in this field: could be retired managers, consultants, state employees, even
      academics.
    3. If this is a business idea you already know something about, you probably
      already know some other folks who can offer some insights. Talk to them.
    4. If there’s an industry association that covers that area, contact
      them.
    5. “Secret shop” potential competitors to learn how they do things.
    6. Identify your target customers and then find ways to interview some of them.
      A dozen interviews can yield great results. Evaluate their willingness to
      pay. What do they currently purchase that’s more or less similar?

    Is your idea a viable business idea?

    Consider Alternatives to Starting a Business?

    How About Buying a Franchise? A Business?

    Rather than starting a new business, perhaps you could implement your idea
    by buying
    a franchise
    that offers a similar product or service? Or, how about buying
    a current business
    ? If you have, or if you could get, the funding, then
    those approaches could save you a great deal of time and effort.

    How About Starting a Nonprofit Organization? Social Enterprise?

    The amount of time to start
    and operate a nonprofit
    would very likely be similar to doing that with
    a business. Just like a business needs to make a profit, a nonprofit needs to
    satisfy a strong unmet need in the community. If you could prove that situation
    exists in your community, then you might start a nonprofit. If you would want
    to get donations and avoid certain types of taxes, then you would need to start
    a nonprofit corporation. That would require developing and reporting to a Board
    of Directors.

    Or, you might start a social
    enterprise
    , which is a nonprofit corporation in which you generate a profit
    that is spent on working toward your mission. Social enterprises and social
    entrepreneurship are increasing among nonprofits around the world. A social
    enterprise would need a business plan, much like a for-profit business does.

    Also consider
    How
    to Test & Validate Your Startup Idea or Product Without Spending a Single
    Dollar
    How to Test a Business
    Idea Without Spending a Fortune
    9
    Ways to Know If You Have a Great Business Idea
    Lean
    Market Validation: 10 Ways to Rapidly Test Your Startup Idea
    10
    Ways to Test a Business Idea

    Some additional resources in testing ideas
    Questioning
    | Interviewing
    | Listening
    | Sharing
    Feedback
    | Focus
    Groups
    | Analyzing
    and Interpreting Business Research


    INDUSTRY AND BUSINESS MODEL

    5. What is Your Business Industry?

    Business industries are based on the nature of the products and services that
    they offer and how they offer them. It helps to know which type of industry
    your business will be in because:

    • There are many resources available for each type of industry. Knowing your
      type will guide you to quickly finding the right type of resources, for example,
      in industry associations and publications.
    • Investors and other personnel often use the type of industry to quickly
      understand the type of product or service offered by a business and the context
      in which the organization operates.
    • Knowing your type of industry will help you to efficiently identify the
      most likely types of competitors, suppliers and collaborators of your type
      of business.

    Examples of types of business industries include transportation, manufacturing,
    agriculture, mining, information technology, education, construction, health
    care and education.

    North American Industry Classification
    System

    Industry
    Analysis: Know Your Industry Before You Start Your Business
    Starting
    A Business? Know Your Industry First
    Why Should You Know Your
    Industry Before You Start Your Business?
    3
    Steps to Figuring Out What Industry You are Really In

    What industry is your business in?

    6. What is Your Business Model?

    Basically, your business model is how you plan to make a profit. For a nonprofit,
    your business model is how you plan to meet an unmet social need. To consistently
    make a profit, a business needs to sell a product or service for more money
    than it costs to develop and provide it.

    But that goal requires, for example, always knowing who is best to sell to,
    what their needs are, what they are willing to pay for it, how you stand out
    from your competitors. That knowledge comes from carefully developing your business
    plan — an upcoming step in starting your business.

    What is your business model?

    What
    is a Business Model?
    How
    to Identify Your Business Model
    What Is a Business
    Model? 30 Successful Types of Business Models You Need to Know
    Which
    Business Model Is Best? Depends on the Industry
    When
    Your Business Model Is in Trouble

    PLAN YOUR PROPOSAL AND FUNDING

    7. Write Your Business Plan

    Now you are ready to go on to the rest of your startup planning and to draft
    your business plan. There are many benefits of business planning including:

    • To identify any problems in your plans before you implement those plans.
    • To get the commitment and participation of those who will implement the
      plans, which leads to better results.
    • To establish a roadmap to compare results as the venture proceeds from paper
      to reality.
    • To achieve greater profitability in your organization, products and services
      — all with less work.
    • To obtain financing from investors and funders.
    • To minimize your risk of failure.
    • To update your plans and operations in a rapidly changing world.
    • To clarify and synchronize your business goals and strategies.

    Investors will want to see your business plan. The contents and format of your
    business plan document depend on what you believe will most effectively convey
    the highlights of your planning. It also depends on the amount of detail that
    you want to include. You might even approach some potential investors and ask
    if they have a preferred format for the business plans that they review.

    (The same guidelines for enjoying the journey of your startup planning that
    were itemized above, should be remembered when doing your business planning.)

    All About Business
    Planning
    Business Plans: A
    Step-by-Step Guide
    Write
    Your Business Plan
    How to Write
    a Business Plan: The Ultimate Step-By-Step Guide
    How
    to Write the Perfect Business Plan: A Comprehensive Guide

    Some additional resources in business planning
    Vocabulary
    | Spelling
    | Grammar
    | Planning
    and Organizing Your Writing
    | Formatting
    Writing
    | Writing
    for Readability

    8. Get the Necessary Funding

    Your business plan will have included financial projections of your expected
    revenue, expenses and any resulting profits or deficits, usually for each of
    the business’s first 12 months and then a total for each of the next two years.
    Those numbers will suggest how much funding you will need to produce the product
    or service until your expenses are met or exceeded by your sales.

    There is a wide variety of sources of funding for a typical business start-up,
    including, for example, your own money, family and friends, individual investors
    (“angels”), banks and finance companies, state agencies, loans and
    venture capitalists.

    Most new businesses are funded by your own money or money from your family
    and friends.
    Financing
    Your Business
    Funding
    Your Business (SBA)
    10
    Ways to Finance Your Business
    20
    Best Ways To Finance A Business Start-Up
    How
    To Start A Business With No Money

    Some additional resources in getting
    funding

    Presenting
    | Building
    Trust
    | Asserting
    Yourself
    | Influencing
    Others
    | Negotiating


    DESIGN YOUR BUSINESS

    9. Become Legal and Official

    Get Assistance?

    If you haven’t yet looked at the vast sources of free assistance, then do so
    now because experts at starting businesses can be extremely useful, especially
    when attending to the legal aspects of starting your business.
    Free Useful Resources

    You might decide at this point to hire an attorney to assist you in making
    the various legal decisions and making the necessary legal filings. (However,
    you also might consider how many of the kinds of activities in this guide that
    you could do yourself, by following the advice in the articles throughout this
    topic.)
    When
    Do I Need a Business Lawyer for My Small Business?
    Getting
    a Lawyer

    Decide Your Legal Structure

    Your first decision is about what legal form of a business organization is
    best for you, for example, a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation (C
    or S), limited liability company, etc.? Here is an overview of each type of
    structure.
    Broad
    Overview of Primary Legal Forms of For-Profit Organizations
    How
    to Firms Choose Legal Form of Organization?
    Which Legal Form
    is Best for Your Business?

    Choose Your Business Name

    The name of your business is often the first impression that others get about
    your organization. There is an entire aspect of marketing that is all about
    choosing of an organization’s name — branding.
    Be careful to review the advice of experts when choosing a name.
    How and
    Why You Should Register Your Business Name

    Choose
    Your Business Name
    Complete
    Guide to Registering Your Business Name
    How
    to Register Your Business Name
    10
    Free Business Name Generators

    Register Your Business

    The best source of free information about all of the activities in federal
    business registration, including your federal tax ID number, is the Small
    Business Administration
    . They provide information about whether you need
    to register your business and where.

    The best sources of free information about all of the activities in state registration,
    permits and licensing, including the state tax ID number, is in each state’s
    Secretary of State office. This article links to the information for each state.
    State-Specific Startup Guides

    Get a Website Domain Name

    Your website will very likely be one of your primary means of promoting your
    business. The critical part of your website is its name (domain name). You need
    a domain name that matches your branding
    (the logo and personality) of your business. However, many domain names have
    already been taken by other people, which means you need to find a domain name
    soon, especially so no one else takes it.

    How
    to Buy a Domain Name
    How to Register
    a Domain Name
    How
    to Register a Domain Name for Your Website

    Get a Bank Account

    Think about the types of services that you want when managing your funds for
    your business. Do you want personalized service where you are talking to a person
    who will get to know you? Do you want advice about managing finances? Do you
    want a bank that lends to small businesses?
    Open
    a Business Bank Account
    5
    Tips for Choosing the Right Bank for Your Business
    Business
    Banking: 10 Tips for Choosing the Right Bank
    How
    to Shop for a Bank
    How
    to Open a Business Bank Account in 5 Steps

    Intellectual Property — Legally Protect Your Assets

    You don’t want someone else using your business name, stealing your writings
    to publish elsewhere, or copying your products and services. That could be crippling,
    especially to a new small business. Fortunately, there are strategies for how
    you can work to protect these assets of yours. The time to get that protection
    is now when you are starting your business.
    Trademark,
    Patent, or Copyright?
    Patents
    and Copyrights: Everything You Need to Know
    Which
    Protection Do I Need: Patent, Copyright, or Trademark?
    How
    to Register a Trademark for a Company Name
    How to Trademark
    and Copyright a Name or Logo

    Risk Management – Operationally Protect Your Assets

    A sudden interruption in the operations of your business can cause a significant
    loss, not only to your revenue, but to your reputation as you struggle to serve
    your customers and maintain your cash flow. Strategies to avoid that kind of
    situation includes having suitable business insurance and contingency plans
    about how to respond to the most common types of surprises to the operations
    of a business.
    Business Insurance
    Risk Management
    What
    Is A Business Contingency Plan & How To Create One

    10. Plan Your Staffing

    Your most important asset in your business is you and your fellow employees,
    especially as your business and its products and services expand. When you wrote
    your business plan, you probably thought about what kinds of expertise are required
    to develop and provide your products and services. Now is the time to think
    about what that means in terms of employees, their roles and how they should
    be organized.

    Many of us have worked with others in organizations, but we aren’t familiar
    with what it takes to get, organize and keep the best employees. The typical
    activities in staffing include Designing
    Jobs
    , Recruiting
    Employees
    , Screening
    Applicants
    , Hiring
    Employees
    , Orienting
    Employees
    , Organizing
    Employees
    and Retaining
    Employees
    .

    Some additional resources in staffing
    Traditional
    Organizational Structures and Design in Businesses
    | Human
    Resources
    | Staffing
    | Benefits and
    Compensation
    | Personnel
    Policies


    PLAN FACILITIES AND SELECT LOCATION

    11. Plan Your Facilities

    Small-business planning often overlooks the critical importance of clarifying
    what facilities are needed to support the development and provision of a product
    or service, and then to plan how to get those facilities. That is true especially
    if you are providing a product rather than a service because a product often
    requires space to store the necessary materials and supplies to produce the
    product.

    Now that you’ve thought about your staffing needs, think about what facilities
    it will take to support them. You also might jump ahead to Develop
    Your Product or Service
    and Develop
    Your Ongoing Supply Chain
    to think about what facilities you will need to
    do those activities.

    Important decisions about facilities include, for example: How much space do
    I need for storage? Production? Personnel? How should the facility represent
    my brand, my colors and tone? What about parking? What about expected future
    growth? Should I rent or buy?

    After answering the above questions and considering the guidelines in the following
    articles, write down your requirements for facilities. You, or any others who
    are helping you, can continually reference your requirements to ensure that
    your facilities meet your requirements.
    Strategic
    Facility Planning — Now More Important Than Ever
    What
    to Consider When Making Business Facility Decisions
    Implementing
    Facilities Management Successfully in 7 Steps
    Facility
    Planning: Steps, Process, Objectives, Importance
    50
    Expert Facilities Management Tips and Best Practices

    Some additional resources in facilities planning
    Planning
    | Project
    Planning
    | Technical
    Writing

    12. Select the Best Location

    Having thought about your needs and preferences for facilities, you are ready
    to think about where to locate your business. Decisions include, for example:
    Do I want proximity to my customers? Proximity to my suppliers? Distance from
    my competitors? What municipalities might grant you some tax breaks if you locate
    near them? What about parking?

    Before you select a location, your answers to these questions and those in
    the following articles should be written in a specification that you can reference
    when searching for a location or that you can bring to a real-estate agent.
    That way, you will be making the best choice based on your actual needs, rather
    than on your personal preferences.
    How to Find the Best Location
    A
    Step-by-Step Guide to Finding the Right Location for Your Business
    Choosing
    the Right Location for Your New Business
    How
    to Choose the Best Location for Your Small Business
    How
    to Choose a Business Location

    Some additional resources in selecting a location
    Planning
    | Technical
    Specifications
    | Contracting


    DEVELOP YOUR PRODUCT OR SERVICE

    13. Develop Your Product or Service

    Earlier in this topic, you planned some of the activities in product or service
    development, including identifying and testing your business idea. During your
    business planning, you identified who your likely customers will be, who your
    competitors are, what you will charge for your product or service, and how you
    might sell it to your customers.

    Now, you need to:

    1. Write a Careful Design Specification for the produce
      to service.
    2. Select the best suppliers
      and vendors to meet those specifications.
    3. Develop the best contracts and purchasing
      agreements with those suppliers and vendors.
    4. Get the necessary materials into your facility (called inbound
      logistics
      ).
    5. Develop the first versions of your product or service to sell to your customers.

    Later on below, you will begin regularly producing, selling and providing your
    product or service to your customers.

    (To understand the overall activities in product or service development, scan
    the topics in this article Product
    or Service Development
    . To understand the sequence, or chain, of regular
    activities to continue building and providing the product or service, scan the
    topics in this article Supply
    Chain Managemen
    t.)

    Some additional resources in product or service development
    Asserting
    Yourself
    | Negotiating
    | Contracts
    | Innovation |
    Design Thinking
    | Quality Management

    14. Develop Your Ongoing Supply
    Chain

    After having done the initial activities in developing your product or service,
    you need to develop the chain of activities to regularly produce and provide
    the product or service in the most cost-effective way. That means:

    1. Making sure there will be sufficient resources (materials planning) to produce
      and provide the product or service to your customers.
    2. Supplying those resources (including identifying who will be the suppliers).
    3. Buying (or procuring)
      the resources.
    4. Getting those resources into your organization (matters of inbound
      logistics
      ).
    5. Storing (or warehousing)
      all of them (that is, how you will inventory them).
    6. Getting purchases from customers and fulfilling
      their orders
      .
    7. Getting the product or service delivered to your customer, for example,
      sell directly or through a retailer (these are matters of distribution
      and outbound logistics).
    8. Ensuring the product or service meets or exceeds the customer’s expectations
      (matters of customer
      service
      and customer
      relationship management
      ).

    You probably thought about these matters when you wrote your business plan.
    Now is the time to begin implementing those activities. It will take as long
    as it needs to take, so don’t rush things.
    Supply
    Chain Management
    Supply
    Chain Management Savvy Can Improve Your Small Business Operations
    The
    Advantages of the Supply Chain Management for Small Companies
    How
    to Develop a Supply Chain Management Plan
    How
    to Find the Balance in Your Small Business Supply Chain


    PLAN YOUR MARKETING AND SALES

    15. Plan Your Marketing

    You already gave some thought to your marketing, including who your customers
    are likely to be, and what you will communicate to them. But marketing is much
    broader and even more important than that.

    Marketing is the wide range of activities involved in making sure that you’re
    continuing to meet the needs of your customers and are getting appropriate value
    in return. So now is a good time to develop a marketing plan that specifies:

    1. Each of the different groups of customers (target markets) that are likely
      to buy your product or service.
    2. What you want each target market to believe about your organization and
      the relevant product or service.
    3. The messages that you plan to communicate to each target market.
    4. How each target market prefers to communicate with its stakeholders, and
      how you plan to convey those messages.
    5. Who will convey what message and when.

    The plan also should specify how you plan to use public relations, or the media,
    to promote your product, service and your entire organization.
    All About Marketing
    Marketing Planning
    Public Relations

    Advertising
    and Promotions
    Social Media
    Marketing

    Some additional resources in market planning
    Planning
    |
    Working With Others
    | Building
    Trust
    | Influencing
    | Organizational
    Communications
    | Sales

    16. Plan Your Sales

    Sales involves cultivating prospective buyers (or leads) in a certain target
    market; conveying the features and benefits of a product or service to the lead;
    and closing the sale (or coming to an agreement on the pricing and any follow-up
    services). A sales plan for one product might be very different than that for
    another product.

    During your business planning, you probably gave some initial thoughts as to
    how you plan to sell (your sales strategy) your product or service. Now is the
    time to add another level of details to those thoughts and to document them
    in a plan that you can articulate to yourself and to others.
    The Elements of a Successful
    Sales Business Plan
    6 Steps to Building
    an Actionable Sales Plan
    How
    to Write a Killer Sales Plan
    How to Create a Sales
    Plan that Actually Works
    Sales Strategy: Examples,
    Templates, and Plans

    Some additional resources in sales planning
    Planning
    |
    Organizational
    Communications
    | Public Relations | |
    Building
    Trust
    | Influencing


    SELL YOUR PRODUCT OR SERVICE

    17. Start Selling to Your Customers

    At its most basic, the activities of selling are the recurring activities to
    implement your sales plan. That means ensuring there are sufficient personnel,
    training, communications and supervision to ensure the sales plan is effectively
    implemented, monitored and adjusted as necessary.

    Sales Process
    Generating
    Leads
    Qualifying
    the Customer
    Conducting
    Sales Conversations
    Sales
    Proposals
    Closing
    the Sale
    Account
    Management

    Some additional resources in selling
    Assertiveness
    | Etiquette
    | Listening
    | Presenting
    | Questioning
    | Self-Confidence
    | Negotiating
    | Staying
    Motivated

    18. Ensure Strong Customer
    Service

    Customer service includes the activities you provide to customers before, during
    and after they buy from you in order to ensure they are fully satisfied with
    your product or service and their experience in working with you.

    Today, that is changing dramatically. Customers have a much wider range of
    organizations, products and services to choose from, and they can access them
    instantly. Customers can also access numerous sources of useful opinions or
    reviews about the product or service even before they buy them.

    Thus, it is more important than ever that organizations remain very good at
    attracting, satisfying and retaining customers. Customer service has moved beyond
    being merely transactional to being highly relational.
    Customer Service
    Management
    Customer
    Relationship Management
    Why
    Small Businesses Can’t Afford a Customer Service Fail
    Customer
    Service for Small Business Owners: Everything You Need to Know
    A
    Customer Service Guide For Small Businesses

    Some additional resources in customer service
    Etiquette
    | Listening
    | Questioning
    | Emotional
    Intelligence
    | Handling
    Difficult People
    | Self-Confidence
    | Negotiating


    MANAGE AND GROW YOUR BUSINESS

    9. Manage Your Overall Business

    The activities of managing broadly include those of planning, organizing, leading
    and coordinating. The way that the activities are done depends on the life
    stage
    of the organization. Features of small businesses usually include
    having very limited resources, focusing primarily on cash flow, limited time
    for comprehensive and proactive planning, and decision-making primarily from
    the personalities of the leaders in the business.

    So the activities of managing a small business must be done in the most cost-effective
    and real-time approaches, always based on highly practical tools and techniques.
    The following document can be very useful to leaders in a small business.
    Free Basic Guide
    to Leadership and Supervision

    Some additional resources in managing personnel
    Managing
    Teams
    | Setting
    Goals
    | Delegating
    | Sharing
    Feedback
    | Managing
    Meetings
    | Time
    and Stress Management

    Some additional resources in managing organizations
    Decision
    Making
    | Problem
    Solving
    | Planning
    | Operations
    Management
    | Project
    Management
    | Organizational
    Sustainability

    20. Grow Your Overall Business

    As your customers demand more of your products and services, and as you notice
    more opportunities to serve more of your current and new customers, you will
    begin thinking about how to grow your business. There are many ways to grow.

    However, growth has to be done very carefully. Otherwise, you can end up worse
    off than before you starting trying to grow. Fortunately, there has been a lot
    of research about how best to grow — and change — organizations.
    Business
    Development – Growing Your Organization
    The
    Dos And Don’ts Of Growing Your Small Business
    15 Ways to Grow Your
    Business Fast
    How to Grow
    Your Small Business on a Tight Budget
    The
    Small Business Guide to Growth: 16 Tips on How to Expand a Small Business

    Some additional resources in growing your business
    Strategic
    Planning
    | Business
    Planning
    | Market
    Research
    | Financial
    Planning
    | Financial
    Analysis
    | Organizational
    Sustainability
    |


    Numerous Free Useful Resources

    Free Help to Start a Business

    State-Specific Startup
    Guides
    – Each state provides very useful and specific information and resources
    about starting a business in that state.
    Small
    Business Development Centers
    – Offer free advice and materials as well as
    loan guarantees, materials and counseling.
    SCORE – Works with the Small Business
    Administration to provide free counseling and materials.
    Small Business Administration – Offers free
    online courses and materials, as well as regional workshops.
    BUZgate.Org – Offers a directory of free
    services for start-up and small businesses, as well as a vast array of resources
    and tools.

    Free Checklists to Start
    a Business

    General

    Nolo’s
    Start Your Own Business: 50 Things You’ll Need to Do
    30-Point
    Checklist for Your Startup
    Starting
    a Business (IRS in the USA)
    First
    100 days: The start-up checklist every new business needs
    Checklist
    and Guides for Starting a Business

    Starting
    Your Business Checklist
    A
    Must-Have Business Start -Up Checklist
    The
    Complete 35-Step Guide for Entrepreneurs Starting a Business

    Business
    Startup Checklists

    Home-Based Businesses

    Home-Based Business Checklist
    Starting
    a Business From Home: The Ultimate Checklist
    Checklist
    for Starting a Home-Based Business
    Start
    a Home-Based Business

    Online Businesses

    Starting
    An Online Business Checklist Sample
    The
    Ultimate 10-Step Checklist to Starting an Online Business
    Ultimate
    Checklist for Internet Startups & Online Businesses
    Online
    Business Checklist: How to Know if You’re Ready to Market Your Website


    Learn More in the Library’s Blogs Related to Starting a Business

    In addition to the articles on this current page, also see the following blogs
    that have posts related to Starting a Business. Scan down the blog’s page to
    see various posts. Also see the section “Recent Blog Posts” in the
    sidebar of the blog or click on “next” near the bottom of a post in
    the blog. The blog also links to numerous free related resources.

    Library’s
    Business Planning Blog

    Library’s
    Building a Business Blog

    Library’s
    Consulting and Organizational Development Blog

    Library’s
    Leadership Blog

    Library’s
    Strategic Planning Blog

    Library’s
    Supervision Blog


    For the Category of Entrepreneurship (For-Profit):

    To round out your knowledge of this Library topic, you may
    want to review some related topics, available from the link below.
    Each of the related topics includes free, online resources.

    Also, scan the Recommended Books listed below. They have been
    selected for their relevance and highly practical nature.

    Related Library Topics

    Recommended Books