No matter how simple of a business one may want to run, starting one is almost never an easy process. Hurdles to success will nearly always exist, and coming up with a plan to deal with them is one of the first steps in learning how to start a business. The other steps depend largely on the type of business, but there are some general guidelines to follow, including dealing with financial matters, organizing a business plan, and state registration.
First, consider keeping personal accounts and business accounts separate. This is highly recommended for anyone looking at how to start a business, even for those interested in a sole proprietorship. To do this, it is always best to register a fictitious name, better known as a business name, with the state or regional authorities. In the US, the Office of the Secretary of State, or similar office in your state, will handle such registrations for a small fee.
Those looking at how to start a business in the US should also consider whether they want to incorporate or start a limited liability partnership (LLP). An LLP offers some protections that other types of business types do not. If the business should falter, a individual's personal assets will not be at risk for liquidation. Though the time and effort required to start one of these types of businesses is greater, it will reduce personal risk.
The details of how to start a business that falls under one of these limited liability categories will vary by state. Check with the state office that handles name registrations for information on these other options as well. Also, remember that name registration is not the same as incorporation.
After the name has been registered and the bank account has been set up, the next step is finding some start-up cash. This is often called seed money because, if it is looked after properly, hopefully it will grow. Those who have enough in personal savings may be able to finance the start-up operation entirely on their own. Others will likely need to consider fund-raising in some capacity.
Seeking loans or issuing public shares are common options for raising additional capital. When seeking these loans or when looking for investors, it is good to come up with a business plan. This is one of the first things the bank and investor will consider when determining whether a client truly knows how to start a business. The business plan should include a market analysis, local or otherwise, along with competitors and goals. An analysis of any financial information, and what is planned for the future, are also important, as is including a marketing strategy.