ONE (1) YEAR BEFORE START UP SIX (6) MONTHS BEFORE START UP Choose the right business for you:
1.  Start to use notebook and clip articles
    2.  List businesses that appeal to you
    3.  Weigh choices against your experience
    4.  Weigh impact on personal and family goals. Determine what business you will be in:
1.  Know what product/services you will offer
     2.  List strongest competitors
     3.  Visit businesses similar to yours - in and out of your competitive range
     4.  Start writing your business plan Test your assumptions
1.  Visit businesses that interest you
     2.  Check out trade publications
     3.  Involve your librarian
     4.  Discuss idea with family and friends
     5.  Get basic SBA literature  Decide who your customers should be:
1.  Interview prospective customers' target market
     2.  Determine your competition's target market
     3.  Talk with trade sources and advisors Improve your business management skills:
     1.  Take SCORE/SBDC pre-business workshop
     2.  Check out local business programs      Know your industry thoroughly:
    1.  Conduct research at library
    2.  Contact trade associations
    3.  Involve SBDC counselors
    4.  Maintain a notebook
  Find best location for your business


      1. Get demographic information from planning commission, SBDC, library
     2.  Talk with realtors, bankers and Chamber of Commerce
     3.  Research trade association's site suggestions
     4.  Check locations for fit with image, clientele
FOUR (4) MONTHS BEFORE START UP THREE (3) MONTHS BEFORE START UP Decide best location for business:
   1.  Weigh costs - direct and indirect
     2.  Review lease with lawyer before signing
Establish business contacts:
1.  Join Chamber of Commerce
    2.  Join trade organization
Establish rough financial objectives
    1.  Get industry statistics
    2.  Ask banker and accountant for parameters
Establish pricing strategies:
    1.  Check current market
    2.  Figure your probable costs
    3.  Look for ways to increase perceived value
    4.  Check with trade sources
     Expand your own information base:
    1.  Take business skills courses
    2.  Make appointments with professional advisors Prepare marketing plan:
     1.  Maintain competitor files
     2.  Review non-financial objectives
     3.  Review sales forecast
     4.  Determine image, PR, other promotion plans Choose proper business form:
     1.  Consult a lawyer and accountant
     2.  Determine office equipment needs Establish a rational sales forecast:
     1.  Research trade information
     2.  Check with SBDC counselors
Establish personnel plan:
    1.  Prepare list of jobs
    2.  Research salary levels Determine capital needs:
1.  Consult with SBDC and accountant
    2.  Prepare cash flow statement
    3.  Review cash flow
Prepare income statements and balance sheets
Prepare a personal financial statement

Select your business' name:
     1.  Make a list of possible names
     2.  Have list reviewed by outside advisors
     3.  Chose name
     4.  File fictitious name registration


TWO (2) MONTHS BEFORE START UP ONE (1) MONTH BEFORE START UP Establish banking relationship to secure financing:
    1.  Set up appointment with banker
    2.  Review business plan and financial information with banker
Prepare for opening
  1.  Open bank accounts
  2.  Make arrangements for accepting credit cards
  3.  Meet with insurance agent to secure coverage
  4.  Get ID numbers (EIN, sales tax)
  5.  Set up bookkeeping system
  6.  Take IRS seminar
  7.  Order opening inventory
  8.  Establish advertising and promotional plans
  9.  Schedule leasehold improvements Start hiring the right people:
  1.  Prepare job descriptions
  2.  Seek applicants; place ads
  3.  Begin hiring and training
Make sure all systems are working:
    1.  Fine-tune financial statements
    2.  Set up office, display, sales area
    3.  Make final legal and licensing check
    4.  check all utilities, improvements, etc.
Get ready for opening:
   1.  Send announcements (include Score 193)
   2.  Implement plans for promotion