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Surviving Your First Year Nothing can <I>quite</I> prepare you for the rigors of entrepreneurship, but, done right, that first year in business can be your most exciting ever. Here's how to stay ahead of the game.

By Laura Tiffany

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Serial entrepreneur and author Walt Sutton likens a new businessto a baby. Care for it, nurture it, protect it, and it can be themost rewarding and fascinating experience of your life. Leave italone for a minute, and-well, let's not think about what couldhappen to it out there in the cruel world.

Yes, starting a business can be a lot like having a baby.It's one of the most harrowing things you can do in life, yetthe rewards make the risk and responsibility worthwhile. Anyone canstart a business, but how well-prepared you are is often directlycorrelated to how well it turns out. And hey, you even get to pickout a name.

But like baby's first year, your first year in business canbe a new and confusing time. So how can you prepare yourself foryour first year in business? First, do your homework.

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