The reading level for this article is Novice

Time, now, to make a decision. You’ve analyzed yourself, your life style, your opinion, and your attitudes. You’ve read and studied and discussed the pros and cons of starting a business of your own with attorneys and accountants, business owners and bankers. You’ve picked a lot of brains, and given your own a workout. Now it is time for you to make the one all-encompassing decision which, if it is in the affirmative and you decide to start a small business of your own, will require one decision after another to implement.

You’ve done your cash planning and explored your cash requirements in consultation with your lawyer, banker, accountant or any combination of the three. Can you swing it financially? Make a decision.

You’ve pondered the advisability of sharing ownership with others as compared with the independence of going it alone. Which will it be? Another decision required.

You’ve walked and driven through urban business areas, stood and watched the traffic in neighborhood shopping centers, tried to estimate the value of becoming part of one of the gigantic covered malls sprawled out in the suburbs. Which offers the most suitable location for you?

Some of you have faced the alternative of buying an existing business. After carefully weighing the advantages of such a transaction against the disadvantages, what decision will you make on this question?

Others among you who are reading these pages have given the possibility of investing in a franchised business serious consideration. Do the safeguards the quick-start advantages offered by operating within the shelter of a national franchise make up for the lack of freedom under which you may be forced to operate? What will your decision be?

These five important preliminary decisions made, you are ready to begin considering the many decisions which the specific type and size of small business you have chosen will require. Answer the following questions.

  1. What are my immediate goals?

  2. My long range goals?

If purchasing stock for resale, I should begin with the following decisions:

  1. What quality merchandise shall I carry? Luxury, Average, Thrifty, Varied?

  2. Who will my suppliers be?

  3. What will my average pricing markup be?

  4. Who will do the selling? Owner, Employees, Both?

  5. How will I attract customers? Newspaper ads, Radio, TV, Handbills, Word of mouth,

  6. Window displays, Special promotions?

  7. What kind of records will I need?

  8. Who will keep the records? Owner, Bookkeeper Full time, Bookkeeper Part-time?

  9. How will personnel be selected? Employment Agency, Help Wanted, Family, Word of Mouth?

  10. How will personnel be trained?

  11. How will personnel be motivated?

Special attention also must be paid to law requirements and regulations. Some of these will involve decisions on your part. Most of them give you little choice. They simply need to be followed. These questions may serve as a helpful check:

  1. Does my business require licensing? How often? By whom?

  2. Am I familiar with requirements regarding consumer protection in pricing, time payments and so forth? Have I taken steps to meet these requirements?

  3. If I am setting up a manufacturing plant, am I aware of the restrictions regarding disposition of waste materials in compliance with environmental codes? Have I taken steps to assure compliance with them?

  4. Have I checked to assure that my business practices will be in consonance with national and local regulations concerning fair competition practices?

  5. If my place of business will require employees other than myself, have I taken steps to comply with Fair Labor Standards, OSHA requirements, Fair Employment Practices and other labor relations criteria? What about group health insurance? Other insurance?

  6. Have I checked with the Internal Revenue Service for employee tax withholding procedures and forms?

  7. If you are aware of the responsibility, the hard work and the long hours it will take before your goal as an entrepreneur can be realized, and you are not deterred…

  8. If you have given long and careful consideration to all the requirements, regulations, financial obligations and hazards implicit in setting up a small business, and you regard them as challenges you can meet.

  9. If you would gladly give up your safe job working for someone else for the independence, the excitement, the sheer joy of being your own boss, than small business ownership may indeed be for you.

    Good luck in your endeavor!

This Starting a Business article was written by on 2/28/2005

This article is used with the permission of Visit them online to learn business, read profiles of entrepreneurs, and participate in community forums.