Mary Olushoga gives Seven Tips that can guide you, as you move from idea to execution.

It takes a lot to launch, build, and operate a business. It takes hard work to transform an idea into a business. For many of you looking to start, here are some of what you need to know to gear you in the right direction this New Year.

1. Attend: a workshop at a small business development center at a university near you.

2.  Register your business: you may need to register your company as a form of corporation. This may include: c-corporation, s-corporation, LLC, LLP, a B-corporation, or even as a nonprofit.

3.  Apply:  for the necessary licenses or permits.

4.  Find financing:  look at your credit worthiness by pulling up a free copy of your credit report.  Do you have assets that you can use as collateral?  Do you need to find investors?  Do not be afraid. Make sure that you have a reputable score, and if you don’t, start working on building your credit back up.

5. Write a business plan: Yes, you do not need a business plan to start a business, but a plan serves as a guide and road map to help move you forward. To those of you seeking financing, a business plan may be  compulsory.

6. Seek government contracting and opportunities: Once operating, get certified! You may need a Locally Based Enterprise (LBE),  M/WBE, Emerging Business Enterprise (EBE) certification- with the right certification, you can sell your products or services to the government.

7. Know your customers and your market: this is accomplished through thorough research – continue to evolve by listening to your customers and attending business education seminars.

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