How to Start a Business in 13 Steps

Starting a business requires planning and good decision making. Here's how to start a business, step by step.

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Starting a business takes research, smarts and self-confidence — and a measure of fearlessness. You’ll ask yourself: How can I start my own business with no money? What's the right equipment? Am I getting the best advice? Here are the essential steps on how to start a business, including creating a solid business plan, securing financing, structuring your company and more.

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1. Find a business idea

Which is the easiest business to start? It depends on your expertise, time commitment and capital. Many small-business ideas carry low startup costs and can be run from home.

2. Write a business plan

A strong business plan can help you prepare for every aspect of your business.

3. Choose a business structure

The legal structure of your business can affect everything from your taxes to what you're liable for.

4. Get a federal tax ID

Getting an employer identification number is necessary to file taxes, open bank accounts and perform other essential tasks.

5. Open a business bank account

A separate bank account just for your business helps keep your books straight and is easy to set up.

6. Get financing to fund your business

If you have no money to start a business, you can apply for grants, loans and other sources of financing. See your options and what it takes to qualify for each.

7. Get a business credit card

A business credit card can keep your business and personal finances separate, and it can come in handy for purchasing supplies.

8. Build a website

A strong online presence is critical for many businesses.

9. Decide how you'll get paid

If your business takes credit and debit cards, you'll likely need a payment processor, a merchant account and card readers.

10. Get the right financial software

You'll need some important tools to tally your profits, track your performance and run your business efficiently.

11. Hire employees

You may need to hire employees to run and expand your business.

12. Pay your taxes

You'll have some new tax responsibilities as a business owner, but you'll have some new tax breaks, too.

13. Protect yourself with business insurance

It's important to protect your business and your personal assets, and business insurance exists to do just that.

ZenBusiness: Start Your Dream Business

Start today for as low as $0 plus state fees

Start now

on ZenBusiness' website