Kody Wirth is a content writer and SEO specialist for Palo Alto Software—the creator's of Bplans and LivePlan. He has 3+ years experience covering small business topics and runs a part-time content writing service in his spare time.
4 min. read
Updated January 5, 2024
When you’re fired up about starting a business, it can be tempting to jump right in. But before you start picking out the perfect business name and researching ideas—you need to understand what you’re getting into.
Business ownership isn’t glamorous or easy. It’s challenging and sometimes overwhelming. But it can be incredibly exciting and fulfilling when you take the time to do it right.
That means your first step should be understanding why you’re starting and what it will take to succeed. This guide will walk you through different ways to accomplish this and help you prepare to become a business owner.
At the start, it’s likely just you building the business. You need to know why you want to come in day after day. You need to understand your limitations. And ideally, have a support network to talk to.
So, before you start coming up with the perfect business idea—look inward and have answers to the following questions.
There are likely many reasons why you want to become an entrepreneur. Maybe you want to be your own boss, create a legacy for your kids, or are driven by a powerful mission. Just be sure you know why before opening.
Dig Deeper: 30 compelling reasons to start a business
As an entrepreneur, you will be involved with every aspect of your business. That doesn’t mean you’ll be good at everything. To avoid costly issues—understand your strengths and limitations to bypass the latter.
Dig Deeper: How to identify your strengths and weaknesses
Many positives are associated with being your own boss—after all, you’re in control. Just remember that control comes with many responsibilities and challenges to manage.
Dig Deeper: The pros and cons of being your own boss
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Don’t start a business in an echo chamber. Connect with people you trust to discuss your aspirations, ideas, and hopefully get continued support. If you’re unsure who to talk to, here are our recommendations.
SCORE (Counselors to America’s Small Business) is a nonprofit association that guides and supports business owners. They recommend answering a series of questions that span general entrepreneurship knowledge as well as how you would approach completing specific startup steps.
Are you ready to start a business? Do you understand what traits or skills lead to success? Do you know what pitfalls to avoid?
If you answered no or maybe to any of these questions, check out the following resources to familiarize yourself with business ownership.
If you have a passion or killer idea but aren’t quite ready to go all in, a side hustle can be a great way to start.
Learn from those who came before you and do your best to avoid these costly business mistakes.
Do you know what a successful business owner looks like? Do you share common traits or have skills that you need to improve? If unsure, check out this list of characteristics connected to ongoing business success.
Are you thinking about starting a business on your own? Learn what it means to be a solopreneur and how it differs from other forms of entrepreneurship.
Do you still want to start a business? Take our entrepreneurship quiz to see if you have what it takes and some recommendations for what you should do next.
Are you launching a traditional business or a startup? Here’s a hint, it has nothing to do with technology and everything to do with growth. Let’s take a closer look at the differences.
After some self-reflection and exploration of what it takes to be an entrepreneur, you have a decision to make.
Do you still want to start a business?
Having the right tools and resources can be critical to starting a business. Here are some of our favorites worth checking out before you officially start.
Business startup checklist
Try this simple checklist for an easy way to track your progress when starting a business.
Business idea validation checklist
Want to find out if your business idea is a winner? Work through this checklist to test it.
Business plan template
Make writing a business plan easy and improve your chances of success with this fill-in-the-blank template.