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How to start a business

May 12, 2023 09:10AM ● By Holly Curby

Do you have a bright idea for a new business? May is small business month, and according to Forbes council member, Terry Tateossian, “each year 305 million startups are born…out of them, only 10% are likely to succeed.”

So, how do you start up a business and where do you go after that to ensure you are part of that 10%? Before you give up on that dream, or invest your money aimlessly, you may want to take a look at just some of the practical steps to get your business up and going.

• Do your research. Look at the competition in your area. Perform a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) on the business niche you want to start.

• Name your business. Check out the United States Patent and Trademark Office ( to see if your ideal name is available. A tip here: before choosing a name, check to see if that name is available through promotional avenues such as a website domain and social media handles. You may choose to secure them here, or we’ll cover that a few steps down.

• Decide how your business will be set up (i.e., LLC, nonprofit, joint venture, etc.). 

• Register your business with your state and obtain your EIN (employee identification number). This is essentially your tax ID number. This is also a prime opportunity to use a professional business service, a business information service, or even hire an attorney to help you complete this step. This is especially helpful for home-based businesses as often attorney offices will let you use their physical address for your business, therefore protecting your home address information.

• Set up a business financial account and your accounting system. It is important to keep your personal account and your business account separate. Your tax adviser will thank you.

• If not done when naming your business, this is the time to secure your website and social media handles. There are many sites to accomplish registering your domain name, but my personal favorite is Squarespace. You may also choose to register an email domain, this often provides added credibility to your business.

• Depending on your type of business, you’ll need to secure pertinent permits, licenses, and insurances. Once again, this is where using a professional service or lawyer may be helpful in completing these final steps to protect your business and ensure you are within all legal requirements. 

• Set up your systems. From email databases and newsletters to creating lead magnets and referral programs (i.e., ConvertKit and MailChimp). If applicable, hire your staff and set up payroll and benefits systems too.

• Promote! Promote! Promote! This may include simplicities of business cards and signage, to even joining your local chamber of commerce, Rotary Club, and setting up Yelp and Google Review accounts. Developing your brand and a marketing plan can help keep you on track in meeting goals and evaluating the data of what works for your business and what doesn’t. 

Still not sure where to begin? Check with resources within your local community such as financial institutions, your local chamber of commerce, and even colleges and universities for their small business startup classes and trainings. Yes, starting a business can seem like a daunting task. As Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t—you’re right!” So, what are you waiting for? There is no better time to start working on your dreams than right now. 

Want to dive in deeper to the ins and outs, tips and tricks of starting a business? Check out the following episodes on Holly’s Highlights podcast:

• How to Start a Business with Holly Curby (Season 1, Episode 2)

• Year-end Finances with Tony Wolff (Season 1, Episode 12)

• Preparing for the Unexpected with David York (Season 2, Episode 11)

Holly’s Highlights podcast is available at, and wherever you listen to podcasts including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Pandora, and even “Alexa, play Holly’s Highlights podcast.” λ