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New businesses pop up across communities every single day. They come out of someone noticing a need for a good or service, someone wanting to put their talents to good use, or because someone is ready to be their own boss. If you are planning on starting your own business, take the time to sit down and prepare before you take the leap. The following tips will make sure you’ve fully prepared to start your own successful business.

Define your goals
You can’t start a business without having a defined goal. That goal will be able to guide you on the most direct path to achieving what you set out to do. The goal should come out of a series of questions to define the goal. The questions can be simple yes or no responses or have more complex answers.

Legal Requirements
Rules apply when it comes to starting any business. Laws change based on the state the business is located as well as the business structure and the industry the business is in. Setting up a legal structure for your business can be done by meeting with an accountant or lawyer that specializes in business development.

Know your competition
Researching your competition should be done while you’re still in the early stages of starting your business. Are you joining a saturated market, or is your idea something relatively new. Good and bad competitors will help influence your business and will allow you to set marketing and brand standards for your business that will allow you to stand out above the competition.

Network, network, network
Building your network of fellow business owners, investors, and potential contacts can help your business throughout every stage of the business creation process. These connections can help in all aspects of the business from financing, prices, terms and conditions, product suppliers, and professional services. Networking connections are the best source for reaching new customers once your business is up and running.

Finances are what stops a lot of people from starting their own business, but some businesses don’t require a lot of money to start. Start by putting together a spreadsheet with your estimated start-up cost of your business as well as the cost it will take to keep your business open for the first 12 months. Once you know what it might cost to start your business and keep it running it’s time to start looking for funds for your business which can include investments from family, crowdfunding or business loans.

Keeping these tips in mind will set you on the path to business success.