Most of us know and utilize small businesses in our community, and not just on Small Business Saturday after Thanksgiving. We regularly drop off our dirty clothes at a local dry cleaner, order takeout from a local non-chain restaurant, drop our dogs off at the local dog groomer, and relax at our local day spa. But what should you know if you’re going to start a small business of your own?

Where to Start

Before you even think about resources for your small business, you need to figure out a few things. First, what kind of business are you thinking about starting? Is there a need for what you’ll offer in your area? Who can you reasonably expect to patronize your business? How will you advertise? Will you hire help? Will you join the local professional organization for business owners? When you’re reasonably confident you can answer these questions, you’ll need to write out a business plan that includes how you’ll fund your start-up, where you plan to locate and what legal designation you’re choosing for your new corporation.

What Local Resources are Available?

Your local Chamber of Commerce is a great resource. The local business people associated with the Chamber already know things like market trends in your area, what kinds of needs there are in the community to be filled by new businesses and which resources for advertising and marketing will give you the most bang for your buck. Local business people do more than just network, too. They help each other sponsor local events to raise your company’s profile. They share advertising expenses on direct mailers. Sometimes they even allow you to display your product or service in their location if you offer the same to them.

Resources Beyond Your Neighborhood

Don’t forget to check out what kinds of resources are available beyond your own municipality. Counties and states may offer incentives to you as you start your company. Those incentives can be in the form of low interest loans, tax breaks or even start-up cash depending on the kind of business you’re beginning and your eligibility. The federal Small Business Administration website has some great ideas not only on how to start, but also on making sure you have all your t’s crossed and your i’s dotted when it comes to making sure your business is legal. Be sure to research state and federal grants available to you, as well as where you can get the best small business loans if you need them.

Your small business has every chance to succeed if you proceed thoughtfully.