How to start a business

Thousands of new businesses open every day. If all those people can do it, why not you? Here’s what to do, and when.

Download the guide to starting a business

Learn how to start a business, from ideation to launch. Fill out the form to receive this guide as a PDF.

Steps to starting a business

There are many ways to start a business. Not all these steps will be for you, but owners and experts recommend you give them some thought.

  1. How to do market research

    Your business idea is clearly inspired. But it helps to check you’re not the only one who thinks so.

  2. How to write a business plan

    Writing a business plan will help nail down your idea and give you a blueprint for executing it.

  3. Budgeting and forecasting

    It’s time to run some numbers on your business idea. Budgeting and forecasting help with that.

  4. Pricing strategies and cost of goods sold

    Your prices can influence the number of sales you make and the profit you earn on each transaction.

  5. Types of business structure

    Your business structure can affect how much tax you pay, and how you're treated by the law.

  6. Small business accounting

    If you’re starting a business, then you’ll need to get familiar with some accounting basics.

  7. Registering a business and other admin tasks

    After all the excitement of deciding to start a business, you’ll have some paperwork to do.

  8. How to create a business website

    Treat your website like an online version of a storefront. It’s the first impression for many customers and prospects.

  9. Tools and guides for your business

    Now that you’re in business, you want to stay there. Xero’s got resources and solutions to help.

Why Xero knows how to start a business

Xero is home to millions of small businesses, who use our software to run their finances and accounting. About 200,000 accountants and bookkeepers use us too. We asked some of those owners and experts how to start a business, then put their insights into this guide.

What business ownership is like

If you’re wondering how to start a business, you’re probably also wondering what it’s like to run one. Here’s what business owners think about (Hearts and Minds, 2017):

  • Included
    43% want to grow their business (which means plenty want to stay small)
  • Included
    43% want to be more profitable
  • Included
    15% would like more time away from the business

Handy resources for small businesses

People asking how to start a business often find these resources helpful.

Business plan template

Download a template and map out your pathway from idea to launch.

Choose a template

Guide to finance

Need a few extra bucks to get off the ground? Learn what your options are.

Read the finance guide

Business trends report

Get a stat-packed insight into what small business owners are doing right now.

Check out report

Start using Xero for free

Access Xero features for 30 days, then decide which plan best suits your business.