A recent survey shows that business leaders have increased optimism heading into 2018!

It is the year to answer the call — start the business you’ve been dreaming about for a while.

It is time to get in there and get messy!

After having been in the workforce, you probably have a good idea of what a business needs to run. We are sure you know that starting your own company takes hard work and perseverance.

We have compiled a comprehensive list of steps and resources of how to start a business in 2018.

Step One: Research

“If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn’t be called research, would it?” – Albert Einstein

Before jumping in, it is key to establish the need for your idea. How big is the market? What kind of competition do you have? How do you stand out from the crowd?

There are lots of ways to gather data, the easiest being quick Google search in your industry. But the most valuable resource is people already operating businesses. Speak with them! See if you can buy them a coffee and understand the challenges they faced, what they might have done differently, and get any pro tips.

Conduct informal research with your potential customer base (like friends and family members) to find out how they view your idea. How are they using your competitors? What is a need that your product can fill?

Need help with more questions to guide your research? Click here or write your question in the comments section below.

Step Two: A Business Plan

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

-Ben Franklin

Yeah, my eighth grade history teacher also used to say that.

But it is true. A business plan is a roadmap to help you start your business, and keep you on track through each step of growth.

Your plan can be whatever fits your needs but to make it easier, you can choose a template. Check out a comprehensive plan for writing a business plan here.

Step Three: Pick Business Structure

“I am a sort of tea addict. I structure my day by cups of tea.” -S.T. Joshi

Or coffee. But you want to do it, before you can register your business, you need to pick a business structure. The business structure that you choose will impact many aspects of your business, even if you change entities in the future.

Business types include limited liability company (LLC), sole proprietorship, partnership or a corporation. You can read more about how to distinguish and determine the type of business best for you here. Sites like LegalZoom also have great comprehensive and intuitive guides and resources to help you decide on the best business structure for you too.

…Okay, now Register Your Business

Where your small business location is will impact how you will need to register your business — oftentimes, small businesses simply need to register their business name with the local and state governments. There are sites you can use like BizFilings or LawDepot, which can assist in trademarking your business name or to find out if it is already taken.

For more information, you can read the Small Business Administration’s guide for registering your business here.

Step Four: Get Licenses & Permits

“I don’t license everywhere, I take care of my name.”

-Gianni Versace

Small businesses usually need to have a variety of federal and state licenses and permits to function. Businesses in industries is regulated by federal agencies need federal licenses. You can check out some of the types of businesses that would need a federal permit and who they report to here.

At the state level, more activities are regulated than at the federal level. Depending on your location, your permit costs and requirements will vary: it is best to simply check out your state, county, and city regulations. Don’t forget to keep track of license and permit expirations!

Step Six: Get Your Software

Nobody ever mentions this step, but it is just as important as all the others.

How will you do your taxes, keep track of scheduling, or hire a team? There is software out there that can save you time and money. Most small businesses need 5–7 different types of software to start their business.

For more software to help start your business and then nurture it to grow, you can check out CUE’s marketplace full of curated software solutions for small businesses. If you have any questions, send us a chat, and we can suggest some options for your business.

Starting a small business can be a scary step, but small businesses serve as the backbones of their communities and the United States economy.

For more information, we would recommend tapping into all of the resources available to you such as your local Small Business Development Center or the SBA website.

UP NEXT —> Make some SMART Goals for 2018

For any questions about the article or thoughts about starting your small business, you can reach us on Twitter. Was this helpful? Clap or comment below!

Visit the CUE marketplace of software solutions to find tools that will save you time when running your business. CUE only recommends products we believe will add value to our readers. For some links in this post, CUE may receive an affiliate commission.