1. Refine your big idea.

Does your product fill a particular void in the marketplace? How does your product or service differ from competitors?

2. Get business assistance and training.

Take advantage of the several training programs and free counseling services that are available to assist in starting a business. Consider finding a mentor that can provide valuable feedback and advice.

3. Write a business plan.

Take the time up front to explore and evaluate your business and personal goals. Then use this information to build a comprehensive and well thought-out business plan that will help you reach these goals.

4. Secure funding.

Don’t have the start-up cash in your savings account? Look for banks that cater to small business loans, or federal, state and local government financing programs to help you start and grow your operation.

5. Meet legal requirements.

Get necessary tax identification numbers, licenses and permits.

6. Set up and determine your location.

Get advice on how to select a customer-friendly location and comply with zoning laws.

7. Find the right equipment and services.

Look for services catered to small businesses, like VoIP technology phone services and small business insurance providers.

8. Hire a team.

Look into the specific federal, state and local requirements regarding equal opportunity employment, employee safety and health protection, taxes and insurance.

9. Market yourself.

Having a smart marketing plan to attract interested people, and then convert them to customers is a top priority.

10. Make the leap.

Being an entrepreneur means hard work, dedication and courage. Look to friends and family for support. Make sure you have some people who are behind you in your journey and you will have a better chance at pushing through any hard times.