Starting a business is a major undertaking. It’s tempting to just jump in and start selling, but a little bit of homework can spare you headaches down the road.

Note: Food businesses need special preparation. Start Here



Step 1: Test Your Idea


SCORE offers recorded webinars on evaluating business ideas. Here’s an example.

If you’d rather read a book or listen to an audiobook, here are some suggestions from the library collection.


Step 2: Plan Your Business


“Run” your business on paper before you actually invest in it.

SCORE has many webinars on business planning. Here’s one to get you started:

This is where the business librarian can be most helpful. Book an appointment to find out how the business librarian can save you time by researching market & consumer data for you.



Every business needs at least a local business license. Some businesses will need more than one license. Use Business Express License Directory to find out which permits your business is likely to need.

Review this SCORE article on legal issues for small businesses:

10 Legal Steps Every Small Business Should Take – Small Business Legal Toolkit | SCORE


Step 4: Secure Financing


All startups need some kind of capital to get started. Many people think that the government offers grants, especially to marginalized groups, to start a business. This is a myth. Most startups are funded by a combination of the owners’ own capital, venture capital from investors, or bank loans.

Find information on funding and loans:

Tools and resources to help your small business grow – SCORE


Step 5: Find a mentor


Consult a SCORE or SBDC mentor for your next steps.

Ready to start your business? Find a FREE Mentor – SCORE

SOU’s Small Business Development Center | Small Business Dev. Center | Providing free guidance to for-profit businesses