A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE FOR ENTREPRENEURS

How to Start a Business

What you need to know to launch
a small business

A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE FOR ENTREPRENEURS

How to Start a Business

What you need to know to launch a small business

Starting a small business takes research, smarts and self-confidence — and a measure of fearlessness. You’ll ask yourself: Do I have enough money? The right equipment? Am I getting the best advice?

We’ve rounded up the essential steps to starting a business, including creating a solid business plan, how to get financing, structuring and naming your company, and more.

For quick reference, download our e-book guide to starting a small business. 

STEP 1

Find a Business Idea 

Best New Businesses in 2017

Here are five industries with promising futures for 2017

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17 Smart Business Ideas 
Many of these small-business ideas carry low startup costs and can be run from home

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Best Online Business Ideas 
Here are five online business ideas with money-making potential

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Starting a Nonprofit
Here’s how to do good while keeping costs down, particularly taxes

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Naming a Business
Keeping the name short and sweet may be the best way to go

STEP 1

Find a Business Idea 

Best New Businesses in 2017

Here are five industries with promising futures for 2017

17 Smart Business Ideas 
Many of these small-business ideas carry low startup costs and can be run from home

Best Online Business Ideas 
Here are five online business ideas with money-making potential

Starting a Nonprofit
Here’s how to set up a nonprofit to help keep costs down, particularly taxes

Naming a Business
Keeping the name short and sweet may be the best way to go

STEP 2

Make a Plan

Writing a Business Plan

We’ve outlined a step-by-step guide to help you write a strong business plan 

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Applying for an Employer Identification Number 
If you have employees, business partners or are a corporation, you need an EIN

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Choosing a Business Structure 
Find out how to pick the right legal structure for your business

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Registering a “Doing Business As” Name
If you plan to do business under a different name, you need to register a DBA

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Getting a Business License
A look at guidelines on how to get licenses and permits

STEP 2

Make a Plan

Writing a Business Plan

We’ve outlined a step-by-step guide to help you write a strong business plan 

Applying for an Employer Identification Number 
If you have employees, business partners or are a corporation, you need an EIN

Choosing a Business Structure 
Find out how to pick the right legal structure for your business

Registering a “Doing Business As” Name
If you plan to do business under a different name, you need to register a DBA

Getting a Business License
A look at guidelines on how to get licenses and permits

STEP 3

Get Financing

Small-Business Funding Basics

Here are six of the most common funding options

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Finding Startup Financing
Sources to get money for your new business

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Qualifying for a Small-Business Loan
Use this list to help qualify for the cash you need

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Getting a Business Loan in 5 Steps
The more prepared you are to get financing, the better

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Discovering Free Money
See our list of small-business grants for free financing from federal, state and private sources

Need financing for your established business?

NerdWallet’s interactive small-business loans tool allows you to find financing that meets your individual goals. Enter the age of your business, your credit score, the amount of money you need and how you’ll use it. The list of lenders is based on factors including trustworthiness and user experience.

Small-Business Funding Basics

Here are six of the most common funding options

Finding Startup Financing

Sources to get money for your new business

Qualifying for a Small-Business Loan
Use this list to help qualify for the cash you need

Getting a Business Loan in 5 Steps
The more prepared you are to get financing, the better

Discovering Free Money
See our list of grants for small businesses for free financing from federal, state and private sources

 

Extra Resources

25-best-small-business-apps

25 Best Apps for Small-Business Owners
Take a look at our favorite apps

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Business Credit Score 101
What is a business credit score and why does it matter?

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Starting a Food Truck 
Read this guide before you sell your first taco, rib or burger 

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10 Finance Terms to Know
When it comes to small-business loans and other financing, knowledge is power

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Questions for Older Aspiring Entrepreneurs
People north of age 50 have different financial priorities to consider 

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Choosing a Location
Avoid these three mistakes when looking for a place for your small business

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Overlooked Small-Business Tax Deductions
What you need to know to reduce the amount of business income that is subject to tax

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Launching an Online Store
Five steps to take to help ensure a fruitful debut

Join NerdWallet today for resources to grow your business. Get our guide to starting a business.

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