Pre-Start-Up Checklist

Good idea? Check. Good advice? Check. Congratulations! You're on your way to start-up.
Magazine Contributor
3 min read

This story appears in the December 2001 issue of . Subscribe »

The other day, I was talking to someone who is planning on starting a business in the next several months. He was very fired up about his idea and wanted some advice-two very good indications that he's on the right track in starting his business. Having a great idea that you're excited about and seeking counsel are probably the most important elements of starting successfully, so I have no doubt things will go well for this entrepreneur-to-be.

At the same time, I want to stress that your first "great idea" isn't always your greatest. It's so important to be excited about starting a business-that excitement is what will carry you through those dark days, the days of cash-flow blues and empty coffers. But it's equally important to do adequate research to ensure your idea really is worthy of becoming a business. There's nothing worse than putting a lot of time and money into something that ends up being, well, a waste of time.

Talk to everyone you can before starting your business. The would-be entrepreneur I spoke to took a positive step by seeking advice, but I encouraged him to get advice from multiple sources-books, Web sites, trade associations, a local Small Business Development Center and SBA office, legal and financial professionals, people well-versed in putting together business and marketing plans. One of the best ways to get started in this research process is simply by plugging a few search terms into the major search engines ( is my personal favorite) to see what pops up. You might find Web sites devoted to everything related to your idea-if nothing else, you'll have several starting points from which to begin your research. You should also search for information on; we have loads of information made just for you.

The important thing is not to jump in headfirst without determining whether you'll be able to swim in those rocky start-up waters. Good research and planning will tell you whether your idea will fly, or whether you need to rethink things and come up with a new strategy. In the end, what matters most is whether you're doing what you love while pleasing your customers and clients.

Entrepreneur magazine is proud to be a sponsor of Jane Applegate's Back on Track America, a coalition of small-business experts-including our own Editorial Director Rieva Lesonsky-who are embarking on a rail journey across the United States to bring free guidance to the doorsteps of America's small businesses. The effort is dedicated to revitalizing those small businesses still reeling from the recession and the September 11 attacks. Visit for more information and a schedule of upcoming events.
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