If you are starting a business or just dreaming of it, you can expect the startup stage to be heady, exhiliarating, challenging, rewarding and sometimes scary — all at the same time.
You’ll be encountering new things all the time — problems and responsibilities you may never have had to deal with before.
We are fortunate to live in a time when we have so many resources available free of charge to help us, including resources to sort through these basic questions:
- How do you choose the right business? Matt Alderton offers his thoughts on Choosing the Right Business for You. In this Work.com Guide, Matt provides his thoughts and resources that will help you connect what you enjoy doing with what customers are willing to pay for. You might also consider the tried and true book “What Color is Your Parachute?“. Part way through the book there is an extensive exercise you can complete which connects the things you love with the things you are good at. You may be really good at accounting but have a secret passion for gardening.
- What will it cost to start up? Some startups today can be started for literally a few thousand dollars. But don’t let that lull you into a fall sense of security — you still will want to KNOW what it’s going to cost. Tom Nutile offers some answers and more resources in his article Calculating Startup Costs. Tom not only provides the areas you need to consider but his recommendations for the resources you should check out. Be sure to check out BPlans.com, which has some excellent free calclulators, including a starting costs calculator. For contracts and other forms, you might also visit Nolo.
- Do you have an invention to protect? If you have an invention that you plan to profit from, you should consider patenting it. That way you can reap the benefits for many years to come. In the Guide for Applying for a Patent, you’ll get a step by step description of the U.S. patent process. You might also want to check out the Patent FAQs at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, as they answer many questions about patents in general and how to protect a patent.
Before you jump in with both feet — stop, think and research the many resources available.
So tell me – what resources have you found valuable in starting up? Is there a particular site that has provided information that changed your thinking or provided tools you needed?