How to Start a Business -- Guidelines and Resources for Entrepreneurs

Assembled by Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD; Authenticity Consulting, LLC; Applies to for-profits unless otherwise noted.

Sections of This Topic Include

Should You Really Start a New Business?
Want to Start a New Product or Service, Rather Than a New Organization?
Want to Expand a Current Organization, Rather Than Start a New Organization?
Guidelines and Checklists for Starting Your New Business
Business Incubators
Buying a Business
Buying and Financing a Franchise
Selling a Business
Financing a New Business
Laws and Regulations Regarding Your New Business
Useful Resources

Also see
Related Library Topics

Also See 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

"Should I Really Start a New Business?"

If you're the type of person that conventional wisdom calls the "entrepreneur", then you might be very eager to "roll up your sleeves and just get started". However, conventional wisdom also suggests that most new businesses fail within the first five years. If you truly want to start a business that will succeed for the long term, then there really is some preliminary thinking that you really should do. If you have not read the following document, then do so now. The following will help you think about:
- Whether you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur
- What alternatives exist to starting a new business
- If your finances are ready for starting a new business
- Whether there is really a need for your new service/product
- What type of business are you starting?
- What skills and resources do you need?

You don't have to decide these matters in detail at this time. But you should be aware of them and "plant them in your head" to think on as you have time.
Entrepreneurs -- Are You Really Ready to Start a New Organization?
10 Reasons to Start a Business
Why Businesses Succeed and Fail

Want to Start a New Product or Service, Rather Than a New Organization?

If you already have an organization in which you want to start a new product or service, then see
Product Development

Want to Expand a Current Organization, Rather Than Start a New Organization?

If you already have an organization that you want to grow or expand, then see
Business Development

Guidelines and Checklists for Starting Your New Business

The following links provide a variety of perspectives on the activities involved in starting a new for-profit business. All links are to rather basic information that you could review in a timely fashion.

Basic Checklists and Considerations to Start Your Planning

Start-Up To Do List
FAQ for Success in Entrepreneurship and Starting a Small Business
Preparing for a Small Business
30 Do's and 20 Don'ts in Starting a Small Business
What Kills Startups?
8 Tips for Entrepreneurs from CEOs Who Have Created Huge Enterprises
What Are The Key Challenges Faced By Start-Ups In The Launch Stage?
Why You Should Register Your Business Name with Your State
Common Small Business Startup Mistakes
How to Start a Small Business |'s Start-up Guide
Why So Many Startups Fail
Low-Cost Startups and Business Plans

More Comprehensive Sources of Information to Round Out Your Planning

SBA - 20 Questions Before Starting a Business
How To Start a Small Business (covers business ideas, plans, facilities, financing and legal forms)
Starting a Small Business -- 101
Start a Business FAQ
Starting a Small Business Steps

Business Incubators

Business incubators are usually facilities that help businesses share resources as low-cost means to getting started.
What is business incubation?
Business Incubator Development Program

Buying a Business

There are certain advantages to buying an already established business. See
Buying a For-Profit Business
Buying a Business: The Safer Alternative
Top 10 Mistakes Made When Buying a Business
Questions to Ask When Buying a Business
Buying a Business: What You Need to Know
Process of Buying a Business
Buying a Business: Due Diligence Checklist
The ABCs of Buying a Business
How to Find a Business Broker
What to Look For in a Seller
How to Negotiate When Buying a Business

Buying and Financing a Franchise

Franchises - Pros and Cons
Pros and Cons of Starting a New Business, Buying an Existing Business...
many articles and other resources from
many other articles and resources from
About Franchising Guide
Can You Sell a Franchise?
A Fresh Take on a Franchise Start-up

Selling a Business

When You're Ready to Sell the Business
Entrepreneurial Exit Strategies

Financing a New Business

About Financing for For-Profit Organizations
Financing Your Business Part I
Getting Bank Financing Part II
The Process of Obtaining Venture Capital Financing

Laws and Regulations Regarding Your Business

The laws and regulations that your business must follow depend very much on what state you live, the legal form of your business and the nature of your product or service. Consequently, there is no comprehensive, up-to-date checklist of laws and regulations that you can "walk through". However, the following links will give you a good sense of what laws and regulations to find out more about. To identify the laws and regulations your business will have to follow, contact your state's Attorney General's office.

Law-related topics in the library

As noted above, the laws and regulations that your business must follow depend very much on what state you live, the legal form of your business and the nature of your product or service.
Advertising / Marketing Laws ("truth in advertising", etc.) Basic About U.S. Law
Basics (basic introduction to the legal system)
Business Contracts (if you enter into a contract with suppliers, lawyers, etc.)
Employee Law (major topics and laws, employee contracts, at-will, noncompete, etc.)
General Resources (sites with multiple areas of legal information)
Lawyers (getting, using, power of attorney, etc.)
Nonprofits (additional information for nonprofit organizations)
Intellectual Property (patents, trademarks, copyrights)
Enterprise Law (starting organizations, legal forms of organizations, etc.)
Telecommunications Laws

Useful Resources

There are many online resources that provide free materials and information for entrepreneurs. The following link is to many other links that will help you get started.
Megalist of Resources for For-Profits
Basic Guide to Management and Supervision
Basics for New Managers and Supervisors to Manage Themselves
Business Start-Up Articles
Franchise Gator: Thousands of Franchise Opportunities
helpful links Starting A Small Business
Starting a Small Business - BusinessTown Small Business Assistance
America's 10 Most Helpful SBDCs

Also see

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