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Creating a checklist of preventative measures to make sure you stay in business

A small or home business is a large investment of time and money. Often, countless hours and thousands of dollars are invested in beginning a business. However, small businesses have a high chance of failure as well if the proper preventative steps aren't taken to keep it afloat.

In order to make sure you stay in business, there are a number of things you should be doing, especially in the beginning, to ensure your business's success. Creating a checklist of preventative measures, like the following, and sticking to them can help make sure you stay in business.

Am I realistic about the success of my business?
It's important to stay realistic when it comes to your business. Things may run smoothly in the beginning, or they may not, or you may run into some bumps down the road. All businesses experience highs and lows. Having realistic expectations and knowing that these setbacks happen to all businesses is crucial to your success. When you are realistic about things, it is much easier to view it as a temporary problem that needs a solution instead of a situation that means failure, which can lead to giving up.

Have I done proper market research?
Market research is crucial, as it helps you to determine whether there is a need for your services and products as well as identifying a target market. Surveys, demographics, and speaking with potential customers are all good forms of market research.

Have I written a business plan?
When starting a business, one of the first things you do is draft a business plan. A business plan will help you to see what obstacles you may run into while allowing you to come up with solutions ahead of time. If you plan on getting funding for your business, you will need a business plan to present to the bank or lender. Basically, a business plan is your map to success.

Have I taken care of all of the legalities?
When you start a business, you must first take into consideration all the paperwork you will need to file and licenses you need to pay. This can include food handler's licenses, tax numbers, workers permits, tax information for your employees, liquor licenses, and a number of other things you will need to make sure you are operating a business legally. Failure to take care of these things can result in shutting down your business until you comply, so it's important to take care of this before you open for business.

Do I know how I will finance my business, and can I handle the payments?
Whether it's a small business loan, money from friends, or other means, make sure you can fully finance your business and that you have the means to take care of the payments should your business come on hard times.

Have I covered all of the small things?
Things like separate phone numbers for your business, stationary, a mailing address, website, a fax number, and email addresses are all crucial for maintaining contact and accessibility with your customers. You should have all of these things in place before you start your business, as it gives a much more professional appearance.

A checklist of preventative measures can help you to stay in business by making sure you have covered all the necessary steps to starting a successful business.

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