Tired of investing time into an organization where your value is overlooked? Is your productivity not fairly compensated with co-workers who perform less work than you? If you answer yes to either of these questions, it may be time to take a leap of faith and start a business. tarting a business is common practice. Matter fact, 75% of business ownership in the United States is made up of sole proprietors, small businesses consisting of one or two people.

Don’t know where to start? Think of a hobby or passion such as crafting, writing, poetry, cooking, etc and determine if it can be turned into a service, product or both that can serve a consumer need. Small business experts such as SCORE and the Small Business Administration (SBA) are excellent resources to help launch your business efforts. To supplement SCORE and SBA, the information below addresses important steps to start a business.

Build a Mind Map

Mind Maps are spider-like diagrams, commonly referred to as brainstorming. A mind map begins with a question or statement, “I want to start a business.” The goal is to identify business objectives, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Generally a vision and mission statement is outlined in the mind mapping stage.

Study the Industry Leader

No greater resource exists than companies or individuals at the pinnacle of their industry. Ask yourself, Why are they leaders? What managerial style do they employ? Competition exists in every industry, it’s the foundation of a free-enterprise economy, where consumers benefit from competing companies. Identify the leader in your industry and study them intimately.

Join Business Groups

Success, inspiration and optimism carry positive undertones, but if accompanied with pessimism, fear and depression, business success is difficult. It is essential to develop a network of individuals sharing common business interests such as growth, sustainability and profit. Build a stable of like-minded business individuals to stay motivated when challenging times emerge.

Establish a DBA or LLC

Establish a Doing Business As (DBA) or Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) to separate personal and business assets and liabilities. Contact the clerk’s office in your county for directions on how to set up a DBA or LLC. Once the DBA or LLC certificate is in hand, open a business checking account and apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) through the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Lease a PO Box

Use the newly created DBA or LLC certificate to lease a post office box. Use the physical address of the post office location as your new business address, citing the box number as the suite number. For example, Online communities provide a gateway to individuals and companies sharing dos, don’ts and valuable business resources. Tap into them. Locate the local Chamber of Commerce that exist in every US city. Attend in-person and online business seminars to understand other challenges and opportunities business owner face.

Create a Website and Print Media

Regardless of how well your service or product is, without marketing, your business is invisible. Nearly two billion smart phones line pockets and purses of consumers, and expected to grow in years to come, thus establish an online presence with a website and optimize for mobile phone users. Invest in a freelance writer and graphic designer to create your voice and branding.

Additionally, create print-based media promotional products such as business cards, tri-fold pamphlets, car magnets and other stationary products to promote your business. Nearly  of businesses fail in the first five years. This is a result of bad money management, insufficient managerial capacity and ineffective marketing campaigns to name a few. Invest time understanding what works with current business owners in your industry and implement a strategy conducive to your financial and production capabilities.