5 Tips to Get Your Small Business Off the Ground

1. Develop a sound business plan

Successful entrepreneurs do a lot of background research before they sell their products and services. A business plan pulls it all together. Your plan will include, among other things, the following:

2. Invest in your own education

Self-education could be as specific as learning how the latest piece of software can help your business. Or it could be mastering the different skills you’ll need to run your business, such as marketing, finance, and customer service.

The more you can learn about the overall operations of your business, the better your decisions may be — particularly if you run a smaller company that requires you to wear more than one hat.

3. Get your finances in order

Save as much money as you can before you start your business: You may need to draw on your savings in the early stages. You should also establish and maintain a good credit history, which will help you when you need to borrow money for your business.

4. Keep your overhead low

There are many stories of entrepreneurs starting out in their garages until they have built up their business. Starting small and keeping your costs low lets you make mistakes on a much smaller scale and gives you the time to learn from them. Email and the Internet make it easy to start your business from your home.

5. Learn from the experts

Take advantage of the expertise of an accountant and your business banker. An accountant can help you with the books, find ways to keep your costs low, and do your tax return. Your business banker can advise you on cash flow, the use of credit, investments, and borrowing, among other things. He or she can also share best business practices.