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Chapter 1 of 16

The secret to starting a business


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Small business guides > How to start a business: the ultimate guide > The secret to starting a business

The secret to starting a business

Starting a new business is a big job, but don’t let that put you off. Thousands of people do it every day and those collective experiences have given us guidelines.

Starting a business is a process, not an event

People talk about ‘taking the plunge’ into small business like it’s an adrenalin sport. And there will be some heart-stopping moments, like when you take a loan, sign a lease, or greenlight your first order of supplies.

But starting a business isn’t one big decision. It’s hundreds of small decisions. And if you want to succeed, you need to move through them systematically and with a cool head.

Person starting a new business with a mind full of doubts

You don’t have to think of everything right now

There’ll be hundreds of variables and numerous unknowns when you first consider starting a business. It’s hard to unpick it all.

That’s why you need a process. It allows you to deal with things in the right order and saves you from getting stuck on problems before you have to.

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How to start a business in eight steps

Use the tools and insights in this guide to grow your idea into a business, step by step.  

  1. Assess your business idea
    Check if your venture has legs.

  2. Write a one-page business plan
    Outline your goal and how you’ll get there.

  3. Do market research
    Learn about your customers and competitors.

  4. Build a sales forecast
    Get to a realistic number.

  5. Create a budget
    Figure out how much money the venture will make.

  6. Write a long-form business plan
    Pin down the details (including marketing and promotion).

  7. Organize finance
    Work out how much you need, and how to get it.

  8. Start up
    Get the show on the road.

Figuring out how to start a business is just the beginning. Once you’re launched, you’ll need to run the ship. There are sales to make, accounts to keep, budgets to watch, taxes to file, and so on. This guide takes you through that, and more.

Let’s get into it

Set yourself a deadline for completing your research and planning. Schedule a particular time to work on it every week. It’s vital that you’re disciplined: treat it like the business it is, and you’ll reap the rewards.

Chapter 2: Putting small business ideas into action

Business ideas don’t have to be genius. Some of them are very simple. But how do you assess them, and decide on the right business idea for you?

Read chapter 2

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