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By Sarah Layton

4 tips for starting a small business

Starting your own business can be a very exciting and challenging time. Starting off on the right foot with the proper planning and strategy management can impact the overall success and lifeline of your business. It is very important to get all of your ducks in a row prior to the start of your business to ensure that you are giving it the best opportunity for success.

Here is a checklist for starting a small business to help you get prepared, get organized and get off on the right foot.

1. Begin with a proper business plan

The very first thing that you need to do before starting a business is to come up with a fully executed business plan. If you have never written a business plan before do not worry. There are tons of templates available online for free that you can download and simply follow in order to write your business plan.

Make sure that you pay careful attention to all of these details and put in a great deal of thought because this will be the blueprint for your entire business. Keep in mind that a full and proper business plan is also going to be needed for you to get any kind of licensing, permitting, loan or small business assistance.

2. Get the proper training and education

If you are opening a small business within an industry in which you have limited or no experience, it is highly suggested that you go out and seek at least some training in that field prior to the opening of your business. For example, if you have decided to open a small restaurant, it is a good idea to spend at least a couple of months working in the front and back of the house of a restaurant. The more hands-on experience and education you can get, the more likely you are to succeed.

3. Research and choose the right location

If the small business that you are opening is going to be a brick and mortar the style store, then it is imperative that you select the proper location for your business. Keep in mind that your location will need to be customer friendly and also be in compliance with the local zoning laws. The last thing you want to do is bankrupt to yourself with a location that is going to cost more than you can afford.

4. Network

Networking is not only extremely valuable for small and start-up businesses, it is a necessity. Networking allows you to get your name, face, and brand out there in front of real people that are actively trying to learn about other companies.

It is also a great way for you to develop and practice giving your elevator pitch. Be sure to attend as many networking events as you can, at least in the beginning. Also make sure that you are actively forming, developing, and maintaining your social media accounts. Using social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter is one of the easiest ways to interact with potential customers and referral sources.

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