How to Start Your Own Business

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Americans love the idea of entrepreneurship and small businesses are a major part of the US economy. According to the Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy, in 2008 there were more than 29 million small businesses in the country, and half of all American workers were employed by small businesses.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of Americans start a business doing something they love. Here are 3 "big picture" tips for starting your own business.

1. Plan Everything

Ask any small business owner about launching a business and he or she'll tell you to plan as much as possible. Start by putting together a business plan-it's essential. In the business plan you will need to outline your overall approach to starting a business, as well as information on your competitors and the business's financial needs and expectations.

Will you be a corporation or LLC? Where will you get the money to launch and run your business? In addition to helping get the basics together for yourself, a business plan comes in handy when pitching your idea to potential investors.

Be sure to take some time and think about why you want to start a business. Are you willing to risk losing everything you own? While you gain a lot of freedom when you're the boss, there is also the responsibility of building steady streams of revenue.

2. Lay the Groundwork

Once you have a solid business plan and the financial backing to support it, your work really begins. Everything-from the name and location of the business to the staffing needs and day-to-day processes-gets determined by you. The great thing about this is that you get to choose how you want to run things. The challenge, of course, is that you have your work cut out for you. Be sure to reach out to family and friends for assistance in getting your idea off the ground.

3. You're the Boss

After you've laid down the groundwork and poured countless amounts of time, energy and money into your business, the next step is to start running things. It starts with a grand opening and, hopefully, flourishes throughout the years as a reward for your hard work. Challenges will be aplenty, but at the end of the day you'll find satisfaction knowing you report only to yourself.

While the idea of starting a business is exciting, make sure you do your homework. According to the SBA, only about half of all new businesses survive five years. It's good to be ambitious, but it's important to be realistic as well.

February is National Start a Business Month. Will this be the year you finally take the leap and realize your dreams of being your own boss?

For more information visit:

US Small Business Administration

Entrepreneur