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There are plenty of people who want to start their own businesses but don’t quite know how. It’s a daunting prospect to build a company from scratch, particularly if someone’s not from a family that’s entrepreneurial. Luckily, there are plenty of people who’ve done it before. By looking at their example and following some simple tips, it’s much easier to draw a map for success.

The first step on the road to starting a business is to find a niche. Basically, this means choosing a field to work in. It will be a huge time commitment for at least a year, so it should be something the founder loves. After that, it may still be necessary to narrow it down further. Think of it this way. It’s easier to target a market with a well-defined niche. It’s sometimes easier for a consumer to identify with a company that specializes in one area. That’s simpler to grasp than a company or person who does several things.

Next, figure out what, if any certifications are required for the business. For example, to start a security company, it may first be necessary to obtain a security guard license. Or in California, talent managers need to be licensed and bonded. To become a real estate agent, it’s necessary to take classes and pass an exam. If there is a requirement, don’t be put off by it. Many high-earning fields have a barrier to entry.

Thirdly, it’s necessary to write a business plan. A business plan is crucial because it demonstrates the idea’s potential. It will impact people’s willingness to invest in the business. Even artists and musicians will sometimes write business plans. The SBA or bank will also likely want to see one before lending money to an entrepreneur.

Networking is the next big step. This just means telling people about the new business. Often, friends and acquaintances will be excited to hear about a new venture. Former colleagues may even be willing to refer business to a business run by an old friend.

The last task is marketing. Think of this as just expanding that same network. Marketing doesn’t need to feel like work. It’s really just sharing stories and starting a conversation with the company’s target audience.