AF Imaginations and Publications

A.F. Imaginations & Publications


How to Start a Business if You Don’t Know Where to Start

It’s the American Dream to start and own a business. Whatever your reasons are for starting a business, it’s a process that requires research, time, and patience.

Even if you are starting a blog or online e-commerce, getting a business license is a smart move. You don’t want to risk losing your business because of not operating legally.

I decided to jump on the dream. I figured that this journey was worth pursuing. I didn’t want any regrets.

Like most, I wasn’t sure where to really begin either. I’m not an expert at opening businesses although I learned a lot in recent weeks. I am able to provide basic, structured feedback on where to get started.

I have to admit that it overwhelmed me at first. The first thing I noticed was how much information was available online. It made it difficult to filter out the information. There was so much of it! I really had no idea where to begin. Then, little by little, I started to put the pieces together.

After hours of conducting research, reading, and watching videos online, I wanted to share a basic step by step of the process that I think would help those who are starting out like me too.

I put together a short overview and step-by-step shortlist to help those like me get started.

Step 1: Visit SBA.Gov

I reached out to several states to see what the regulations are. What I learned is that each state has a unique set of regulations. You’ll need to find out which state you’d like to operate in depending on what type of business you’d like to own.

The small business association is a great place to research and learn. It’s convenient too. It has a ton of articles, resources, and a guide on how to get started on your small business.

Small Business Association

What I like about this site is that it’s official. It gives small business owners up-to-date information and a walkthrough guide on where to begin. Additionally, the manage your business section was a nice touch.

Step 2: Conduct Research for Your Small Business

I’d like to stress that I think any business can be successful if you have the right mindset and attitude. During my time studying for my Masters’ in Marketing, I learned that it’s about finding the right niche.

Most experts recommend researching before you start though. I agree with them.

Before you decide what kind of business you’d like, I recommend doing market research. You do want to follow your passions! However, just make sure that your idea has the potential to reach customers.

Conduct research before opening a business

What you should look for:

  • Target audience
  • Demand
  • State of operations
  • Marketing plan
  • Taxes
  • State and County regulations

I’d recommend seeing what state to operate in due to it being essential to your business operations.

If you’re an e-commerce business, try states like Delaware instead. Delaware does not require you to have a physical location and it’s an easy process too.

Step 3: Decide What Type of Business You’d Like to Be and the Legal Structure

Understanding the difference is necessary. The legal structure determines how you’ll file taxes and who is liable for your business.

Before you can decide on all the other details, it’s important to understand what kind of business you’d like to own.

Decide on a Legal Structure – Each has its advantages
  • Sole Proprietor
  • C Corp
  • LLC
  • S Corp
  • DBA

The most common is the Sole Proprietor. It’s predicted that about 70% of businesses in the United States are Sole Proprietors.

Online Resources for Starting a Business

I put together some online resources that you can use too! These links will take you to some websites that are convenient and for your benefit.

It includes an online legal council, legal structure, third parties that assist with the business filing, and more.

Legal Structure:

Legal Shield:


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