Starting a new business isn't exactly a walk in the park. There are so many things to do and keep track of that the path to entrepreneurship can be stressful and overwhelming. From dealing with legal issues to creating a Web presence, there's a lot to handle, and it's easy to overlook important things, especially if you're new to the business world.
Business News Daily asked entrepreneurs and experts for their best advice for starting a business. Ready for success? Make sure you do these 10 things before you put out that "open" sign.
1. Bring an accountant on board.
"I had a full-time job as I considered starting my own business in 2009, but I did a lot of groundwork before I started, and bringing on an accountant was an important step. People didn't understand why I would consult an accountant before I left my job or made any money with my new venture, but it helped me understand what I needed to do to make this work from a profit standpoint and the ins and outs of state, federal and local taxes." – Sarah Burningham, president and founder, Little Bird
2. Survey your target market.
"One thing an aspiring entrepreneur can do is survey a focus group of the target demographic for the service or product. It is crucial to make sure you are delivering what your customer wants, not what you want. This will give you insight into your customer's buying decision and save you lots of experimenting down the road." – Sonia F. Lakhany, attorney, Lackhany Law
3. Get legal advice.
"If there is one thing I would advise for all entrepreneurs before officially opening a new business, it's to seek legal counsel. We often make the assumption that legal counsel is for when we get ourselves into trouble, but preventative and proactive legal preparation can be the very best way to set your business on the path to long-term success. When you call on legal counsel after you've run into a problem, it's often too late or could critically impact your business in both the short and long term. Investing in their insight at the start of your business can pay a huge return later on by keeping you out of trouble before you even get into it." – Katy Blevins, co-founder and corporate publicist, The Modern Femme Movement
4. Look beyond your launch date.
"When starting a business, look beyond your launch date. That is, plan as though you aren't going to turn a profit for two or three years. Determine your worst and best case scenarios based on sales and revenue projections. Establish a sales and marketing budget for at least three years and don't just assume people are going to do business with you because you’re open." – Callum Beattie, partner, Honest Agency
5. Talk to other entrepreneurs.
"Before opening a business — and even after — I think it is incredibly crucial to network and tap into mentors and professionals who have been there before. Entrepreneurs that have been there before had similar experiences, and are more than willing to pay it forward. The advice, mentorship and connections are integral to starting. Of course, you cannot learn everything right away, but a good lead from smart people definitely helps." – Cory S. Charlupski, president, The Babysitting Co. [Need a Mentor? Here's How to Ask ]
6. Build a proper website.
"As a relativity new business entrepreneur who has been running her company for three years now, I wish I had known to plan my website hosting and platform better. We threw together an OK idea hosted by a friend, and as things grew we had to make a massive and laborious switch to a different platform and different hosting. If we had started small on a healthy platform and used an affordable host, we could have grown with the business instead of having to start from the ground up twice." – Elyse McNabb, owner and proprietor, Nourish With Style
7. Save up enough money.
"The most serious pitfall we see with our clients is that they have insufficient cash to operate long enough to become profitable. We recommend that they have a year's worth of operating expenses in the bank on the day of their grand opening. This, of course, assumes that they already have a solid business plan AND strategic growth plan in place that is followed from day one." – Jason Savedoff, principal, RVA Advisors
8. Know your tax requirements.
"You need to get organized with your taxes and fees. You have to figure out how much your payroll is going to be in order to make your tax payments timely. The timing can vary depending on your payroll. You also have to figure out other business taxes such as city, county and state. There isn't one list of all the fees you may have to pay so you need to get organized and figure this out ahead of time. Forgetting and filing late can make those late charges add up quickly." – Travis Sickle, certified financial planner, Sickle Hunter Financial Advisors
9. Think about your exit strategy.
"The most important thing I had other than faith and tenacity, was my exit strategy. I knew if all else failed, that no matter what, I would be able to sell the huge inventory that I ordered, and only lose a tiny bit of money, rather than my entire investment. Knowing that I had a way out that would not hurt too much, made it easy for me to go full throttle and go forward. Our first year of business was amazing and I didn't have to utilize my exit strategy, but was glad it was there to rely on." – Sandy Stein, president, Alexx Inc.
10. Ask yourself why.
"Every entrepreneur should be able to answer the question, 'Why are you doing this?' It seems like a simple question, but there will inevitably be times when things go wrong, hope is dwindling and you need to remind yourself of why you're in it. As an entrepreneur, building and growth is a process that never fully ends. It is great practice to give yourself a mission statement to maintain focus on the project goals as well as personal ones." – Noah Krinick, founder and partner, Solo Rugs
Updated Nov. 12, 2015. Additional reporting by Business News Daily Contributor Kim Ann Zimmermann.