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It starts with an idea. You have an idea, a spark, a seed that needs planting – the next great business. You want to turn that dream into something that can grow and prosper. But where do you start? After the idea stage, what are the steps you need to take to start your business?

1. Build a Business Plan

A business plan will help you define the structure of you business as well as help get your business advisors—accountants, lawyers, bankers—on your side. Consider it the roadmap to your destination (a thriving business). Business plans help define what your business is and how it will operate.

2. Market Research

Do your due diligence by researching your local market. Is there a need for your product or service? Who will you be selling to? Where are your potential customers located? Are there competitors in the area? Market research will help you identify any obstacles that could impede your success.

3. Register Your Business

Once you have determined your business idea could thrive in your market, you’ll need to register your business with the right government agencies. In addition to paying taxes and fulfilling rules and regulations, registering your business creates a sense of legitimacy and credibility.

4. Financials

Creating financials will help you identify the initial start-up costs such as business licenses, equipment, inventory, office or store front and marketing costs. Ongoing financials will help you manage your cash flow and keep you on track to success.

5. Cash Flow Forecast

Building off of early financial documents, cash flow forecasts help you to manage cash flow and help you to meet immediate and future needs. For example, you can see your receivables versus payments to suppliers. With this knowledge, hopefully, you won’t get caught empty handed.

Your idea was just the beginning. Following the five easy steps above will keep you on track to move from dream to successful business venture.

For more tips on starting your business, visit #RBCSmallBiz Live Panel Discussion – Starting a Business.

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