Skip to main content
Step-by-step guide to starting your business

Whether you are starting small by going it alone or are ready to hire employees, entrepreneurship can look very different. Here, we break down the essential steps to help you refine your business idea all the way to business conception.

Step 1
Turn your bright idea into a business

To start a business, you must have an idea to sell a product or service that meets the market's needs. So if you have questions about the viability of your business idea, you’re in the right place! Take a deep dive into our resource series that focuses on refining your business idea.

  • Does your small business idea have legs?
  • Does your business idea make financial sense?
  • Validate your idea by starting small
  • Leverage local resources to help you launch

Learn how to turn your idea into a business »

Step 2
Develop a business plan

A business plan is a vital tool for your business and the roadmap to success. A successful business plan can help you clarify your vision, identify potential challenges in launching your business, and ensure you can navigate the road ahead. In this section, we outline key resources that will help you create a strong business plan, giving you the ability to secure funding, attract investors and plan for the future.

Step 3
Turn your business into a legal entity

Now that you have a solid business idea with a plan to match, it’s time to think about a name for your business and the business structure that makes the most sense for your business. To start a legal entity, you will also need to register your business with the appropriate authorities at the national, state and local levels, when deemed appropriate.

Learn more »

Step 4
Secure funding

As you might imagine, securing funding is essential to getting your business off the ground. Many business owners may choose to “bootstrap” their business by using their savings or tapping into other resources to launch without taking on a loan, while others may want to secure funding to get started. 

Learn more about securing funding »

Step 5
Market your business and attract customers

An important part of launching your business is making sure your target customers know about your brand and your products and services. This is where crafting a marketing plan can help you plan strategies and tactics that will grow your business presence and reach the right clientele.

Step 6
Help safeguard your small business from cyberattacks

Cyberattacks are a growing threat for small businesses. To help businesses take preventative steps to increase their cybersecurity, we’ve partnered with the Mastercard Trust Center, a website that provides free access to cybersecurity education, resources and tools for the small business community.

Learn more about the Mastercard Trust Center »