10 Things To Do Before Going into Business

The following is excerpted from my forthcoming book Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months: A Month-by-Month Guide To a Business That Works! which is being published by Adams Media, March 2010.

cover_becomeboss_11-16-09Are you tired of your boss nagging you throughout the day? Are you fed up with the small amount of pay you get as compensation at the end of the month to put up with his repeated verbal attacks? If this is the case, it is high time that you chucked your 9 to 5 job and started your own business. The best way to do this is to develop a plan for success.

Life is too short, and jobs are no longer secure anyway. When you are your own boss, you can work how and when you like in your own business. The key to launching a successful small business is to developing a firm plan, saving enough money before you quit your job, and learning the business of running a business.  Below is a list of the Top 10 Things to Do before Going into Business.

  1. Plan Your Departure 12 Months Before You Quit Your Job. Create a 12 month countdown to accomplish all the things that you need to get in order personally prior to starting your business e.g., financial resources, upgrading your technology skills, building marketing platform, business planning, office space/inventory needs, etc.
  2. Develop A Life Plan. Decide what kind of entrepreneurial lifestyle you will lead.  Do you have the energy to start a business?  How many days a week will you work.  Will you work 6 days a week or be off every Friday?  Will you work weekends, every weekend? You should design your life plan around what your best day looks like 5 years from now.
  3. Calculate Your Net Worth. List all of your fixed and liquid assets, such as real estate and cars, cash, stocks, and bank accounts at their current value.  List all jewelry, furniture and household items at their current value.  These are your total assets.  Subtract all of your debts, such as your mortgage, car loan and credit card balances, from your total assets. The result is your net worth.  Remember: Pay off all credit card debt! Carrying large amounts of credit card debt will strangle you financially as you start your business.
  4. Save As Much Money As Possible. Time to tighten your belt.  All too often, people go into business without any personal savings, exclusively using loan money from friends and family, home equity and credit cards.  You may expect to pay the loans back right away with the profits from your business; however, it typically takes 12-18 months to generate revenue and an average of three years to break even.  Please note: You will also need a separate emergency savings account just for your household.
  5. Upgrade Your Technology Skills. 80 percent of the people know less than 20 percent of their software’s capabilities.  Invest in online training or video professor to learn any software and social media marketing skills essential to your business operations.  Quickbooks is a very common small business accounting software program that will be helpful to learn even if you hire a bookkeeper.  Learning how to maximize your technology resources will give you skills that make you more valuable in your business.
  6. Determine How You Will Cover Your Health Insurance.   The ideal scenario is when your health insurance is covered by your spouse, but for those that are divorced or single parents, health insurance is serious business.  There is COBRA, which is offered by your most recent employer, but it is only available for 18 months after your quit your job and is very expensive.  You may also obtain health insurance through the National Association for the Self Employed (NASE), local Chambers of Commerce, and trade organizations.
  7. Expand Your Network. Evaluate your network.  Are you known internally or externally at your job? Make a real effort to join organizations and attend networking functions to build and reinforce relationships.  When you first start out in business, many of your customers typically come from your personal network.
  8. Get Yourself a “Kitchen Cabinet” of Advisors. Find four supportive mentors or friends who you can safely bounce ideas and concerns off of.  It is helpful if at least one of these people is already an entrepreneur or a potential client.
  9. Get Yourself a Personal Theme Song. Pick a song that always makes you feel good!  Play it everyday to energize you.  The journey you are about to start is hard and lonely, and your theme song  will help lift you up and keep you focused on your goal – especially when you need extra motivation.
  10. Stay Positive and Encouraged. You are the power source that will make your business a success!  Find ways to keep your battery charged and sustain your optimism.  Make a list of your accomplishments every day – it will keep you from dwelling on your never ending to-do list.

There are many different types of opportunities available for you in the form of a small business.  If you are experienced in any field, you can make money working for yourself.  Start realizing your real potential and make money for yourself by selecting the right business opportunity.

Good Luck! An expanded version of this article titled; 44 Things You Need To Do Before You Go Into Business is available as a free download on my website at www.melindaemerson.com.

This is insight into starting – and more importantly, staying – in business.  I love to get feedback. Tell me if you have any other good tips to add to the list.

Melinda Emerson “SmallBizLady”is a Veteran Entrepreneur, Small Business Expert and Social Media Coach who hosts #smallbizchat on Twitter. #Smallbizchat is the trusted resource on Twitter to discuss everything entrepreneurs need to know about launching and running a profitable small business. Melinda’s first book, Become Your Own Boss in 12 month! A Month-by-Month Guide to a Business that Works! will be released by Adams Media in March 2010.

For more tips on how to start or grow your small business visit http://succeedasyourowboss.com and subscribe to Melinda Emerson’s blog


    • admin says


      Thank your or your comment. The goal of this post and all my content is to end small business failure. I want people to really be successful from the start.

      To your continued success.


  1. says

    These are great points, but I have trouble with the basic business plan not making the top 10 list! I know several small business owners who never really put together the numbers before starting their business – they have struggled, and in some cases, closed. If money is no object, then go for it. If you have bills to pay, you need a evaluate the numbers.
    I’ll take a look at your 44 things article next.

    • admin says


      Thanks for your comment. I agree that the most important thing in any business is the financials and the profit model. My 10 things To Do List Before Going Into Business is about the moves before you develop your marketing plan and business plan. I think you will find my 44 Things article more complete.

      To your success–

  2. says

    Thanks, Melinda, That’s a very nice list (I’m going to check on your 44 tips next)!

    I especially like your emphasis on keeping the motivation flame burning. I just launched my business along with 2010, and while I did consider the money, organizing and relevant savvy issues, I never realized how difficult it might be in terms of facing everything all alone (even though I’ve been a freelancer for many years, this is so different).

    I’m still all excited about everything related to my business (after all, it’s so very fresh!), but I took note to find ways in the future to keep the excitement going.

    Creator of Kessem.com

  3. DeJaniera says


    This is FANTASTIC and very HELPFUL information. As a person starting a business or shall I say two, I realize that now I have so much work to do. I look forward to your book learning from you!


  4. says

    This is a very useful guide to owing your own life. Today is the time to start, and one year from today you will be so happy you did. I am living proof. Let me know when your book comes out.

  5. says

    We have been banking with Natwest for about 3 years now, and we have only been able to get hold of a business manager a couple of times. In fact apart from charging for the use of the accounts, there is isn’t much service they provide to my business.It is also quite hard to get anyone to deal with issues – so this might just have been an internet banking account.

    • Melinda Emerson says


      Thank you for your comment. You do not need a bank, you need a banking relationship. I don’t believe any business owner should do business with a company that they can’t get a relationship with a real person. Please come back to this blog for more great small business resources.

      To your business success–

  6. says

    These are all great tips. I think one that I would add is be prepared to feel what you have never felt before. Going from employee to entrepreneur TRULY in all ways requires a huge mindset shift that our corporate experience just doesn’t prepare us for. You can learn the skills and outsource for your weaknesses but the embracing of the fact that you are actually the expert and in control of designing your dream business is the final frontier!

    • Melinda Emerson says


      I agree with you starting a small business is a spiritual journey that does require a huge mindset shift.

      Thanks for your comment.


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