More than one business venture was first hatched as an idea casually discussed among family or friends around the kitchen table.

But actually starting a business requires more than inspired scribblings on a paper napkin. Even the most straightforward idea calls for a disciplined approach before putting up your shingle.

Starting up your business in a methodical way will not only help you determine exactly how your business will function and succeed, but it's also an opportunity to assess your own skills as an independent business owner. Thinking about the nuts and bolts required for your business is an essential part of running your own show.

Starting up a business can be both exciting and terrifying -- but don't be daunted.

The very first order of business is just paperwork. Sit down with a knowledgeable friend, a Web resource, or in your public library and review the legal and financial documents you need to file to make your business a legal entity. There are some basic questions to ask yourself: How much money do you need to get your business off the ground? What products and services will you offer? Are there friends or family who have expertise you can tap, like accounting or reviewing health care plans? By taking care of these kind of nitty-gritty steps right away, you will have put yourself on the road to making those napkin scribbles something real.

For help with starting up your business, check out the following:


Small Business Guide


How to Start Your Own Business: Starting Up Your Business

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