Small Business Startup
Using the Plan

(Last updated: March 6, 2016)

This page explains how to use the plan for a small business startup. This plan uses three stages in the development of a small business. Each stage consists of several steps. The stages and the individual steps are shown on the main page for this section.

Here are the four topics for each step of the plan:

Go or no-go decision

Here are two additional topics to help you carry out the plan.

Skipping stages or steps
Keeping a workbook

All pages for the individual steps in the plan use the same format. The introductory text for each page explains the purpose of that step and its desired result. This text also shows any actions required before beginning that step. And the introduction usually shows how you will use the desired results for that step in following steps.

Information for business novices

There are two simplified versions of the small business startup plan that may be more suitable for beginners. These simpler business plans, as well as other information for people without business experience, can be accessed from the following links:

Business Plan for Simple Services
Simplified Startup Steps

Business Guidelines
Outside Information and Publications

Note: The first item above is more or less complete in itself. The second item above is more abbreviated and refers back to the steps described in the detailed plan.


Before using this information to start a business be sure to read the following notice: Disclaimer


This small business startup program is intended for a one-person or small joint venture type of business firm. Ideally, you will not have any employees. The owner or the members of the joint venture will perform the money making activities. Some of the routine administrative tasks may be performed by family members or outside firms.

The guidelines shown for each step are recommendations meant to help improve your chances for success and help limit your losses if the small business startup fails.

You are free to either follow or ignore these guidelines. However if you lack business experience or self-confidence, then I recommend that you study them carefully before deciding not to use them.

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The procedures describe the work required to complete each step. In some cases, the procedures may be unnecessarily extensive for a particular situation. I based these procedures on what might be needed if you lack business experience or self-confidence.

You are free to cut back on these procedures if you do not believe that all the work is necessary. Keep in mind that you should do what is needed to limit your risks and get the desired results.

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The example for each step shows how a typical person might have performed the procedures.

I will be using my own small business startup for these examples. Some examples will show my actual results. Other examples will show what I presume will happen.

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Go or no-go decision*

The Go or no-go decision determines if you are ready to go on to the next step in the small business startup. It is comprised of tests that verify whether you have attained the desired results for the current step. You satisfy this decision by passing all of its tests.

*Note: In some of the later steps, the title for this topic may differ from the above. But the decision still determines whether you will proceed to the next step.

If you fail any of the tests then your choices are:

  • Redo the work for the current step.
  • Go back to an earlier step.
  • Choose another business idea that has a better chance of success.
  • Reconsider whether you really want to start a business.

IMPORTANT: If you don't satisfy the go, no-go decision for the current step, don't go on to the next step. Instead, take the appropriate action per one of the four choices above.

Keep in mind that one purpose of the go, no-go decision is to help keep you on the right track while developing your business venture. Another purpose is to keep you from trying to start a business that has little chance for success.

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Skipping stages or steps

If you lack business experience or self-confidence then it is best to complete every step of the small business startup in sequence. This will give you business experience and increase your self-confidence. I also recommend purchasing and using the Magic Success Secrets ebook to empower yourself.

This also applies if you are starting a high-risk or high-cost business venture. However, I do not recommend this type of business venture.

If you are a real go-getter and already know what kind of business you want, you can use a shortcut. You can skip any step in the first two stages if you are able to satisfy its go, no-go decision. However, everyone should complete the step for Listing the Startup Requirements.

I also recommend that everyone complete all the steps in the last stage. It is especially important that you satisfy your list of startup requirements before starting actual business operations.

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Keeping a workbook

I recommend that you keep a workbook of your progress in developing your business. This workbook can be either a three-ring binder or a set of file folders. It would hold the worksheets you prepare while going through each step. These sheets contain background and research information, decisions, calculations, plans, and other results of the work you do in developing your business.

By preparing these worksheets and keeping them in a workbook, you have ready access to the information needed as you go through the various steps.

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