Business Startup Guide

Turning your business dream into reality can be a challenge. Knowing the right steps to take and having the proper resources can help save time and money. The following is a guide for entrepreneurs looking to start a business.

Please note that these are basic steps you should consider and be aware of, but it is always best to consult a professional to help walk you through the steps and make sure you don’t miss anything. Search the SourceLink Nebraska Resource Navigator to find business consultants near you.

Step 1 - Ideate

Step 1 - Ideate

Think of a new product or service based on an unmet need. Take an existing product or service from one market and offer it in another where it isn’t available. Look into an up-and-coming franchise operation. These are just a few of the ways to come up with a business idea.

Identify industry gaps, pain points and unserved niches:

Match the business opportunity with your skills, experience, and passions:

Step 2 - Prepare

Step 2 - Prepare

Take the time to find out if your idea is viable. Who will buy your product or service? What’s happening in your industry?

Research your market and current trends:

Take business classes or enroll in entrepreneurial programs on starting a business:

Meet with professional business advisors for no-cost advice and guidance:

Share your idea with peers for feedback:

Step 3 - Plan

Step 3 - Plan

If you intend to obtain a loan for your business, apply for a small business grant, pitch your business idea to investors, or enlist the support of business partners, you need a business plan; then you need to act on it.

Create a blueprint for your business by putting together a sound business plan:

Form your team, find a co-founder, outsource tasks as needed:

Come up with a good business name; check to make sure it’s not already taken:

Step 4 - Register

Step 4 - Register

Legitimize your business by registering your legal and assumed business name, business entity type, and by obtaining your federal and state tax identifications.

Select a business entity type which will provide you with the proper legal protections and tax benefits

Register your business entity with the appropriate federal, state and county government agencies

Obtain any professional/industry-specific state license(s) or certification(s) (if applicable)

Step 5 - Finances

Step 5 - Finances

Before opening your actual or virtual door for business, you will need to set up your business finances and record-keeping.

Open a business bank account; bring your business registration documents and business license

Set up an accounting and record-keeping system

Obtain financing/capital to start your business (does not apply to self-funded entrepreneurs):

Step 6 - Logistics

Step 6 - Logistics

Before opening your actual or virtual door for business, you will need to find a location, secure insurance, and think through the logistics to operate your business.

Search for potential commercial business locations (i.e. Office, Warehouse or Retail Space) if not home-based.

Decide on a commercial business location (does not apply to home-based businesses). Sign a lease or purchase a commercial property, hire a licensed contractor to obtain the proper Building Permits for any buildout (if applicable):

Obtain business insurance

Hire and train employees (if applicable)

Procure suppliers and service providers

Create/obtain products/inventory for sales and/or equipment/tools for services

Step 7 - Launch

Step 7 - Launch

Open your physical or virtual doors for business! Don’t forget that marketing and advertising are an ongoing part of operating a successful business.

Create a marketing plan

Activate your business website and social media accounts; send out a press release and begin building brand awareness by executing your marketing plan

Contact your Chamber of Commerce for a ribbon cutting ceremony; send out invitations for grand opening  (if applicable)