The 5 stages of successful business creation

Every business startup pathway is different, so this step-by-step list is provided for general reference. Talk to your business mentor or lawyer for information on how your process may differ.

1) Ideation: So you have an idea...

So you have an idea for a business. Where do you start? The early stage of business formation is your time to explore its feasibility and begin seeking help from mentors, professionals and online resources who will help you make it stronger.

2) Understand your market and fine-tune your idea (rinse, repeat)

Save yourself a lot of money and take the time to understand your customers, as well as the market you are entering. The Library can help.

"Fail fast:" You may find that what you learn at this stage causes you to modify your business idea, or decide it isn't workable. This is good, or at least better than finding it out later when you've invested more time and resources in something that won't fly.

3) Get to know the regs

This is the do-or-die stuff, and you may find you need an experienced business lawyer and/or accountant to help you make solid decisions.

4) Marketing + planning

At this stage your concept is talking shape, so you want to start designing your branding and building the buzz about this new product or service. If you are seeking funding from a bank, or want to codify the plan you'll need to start creating your business plan.

5) Making it real

Here you go, the last and some of the most important tasks: registering your business with state and local government.