For students across the country, the lazy days of summer are coming to a close and a new school year is right around the corner. As an entrepreneur thinking of starting a new business, where to begin can be your biggest obstacle.

In our previous blog Getting the Kids Back to School is a Reason to get Serious About Business, we talked about how many parents start thinking about their business when their children’s summer is about to end and the are going back to school. But what about those stay-at-home parents who do not yet have a business? Maybe it is time to start a home-based business that allows you to send the kids off to school and be home when they return from school each day.

So where to begin in starting a new business?

Do your homework

No small business is guaranteed to be successful. One way that will improve your odds is by doing your “homework.” This means finding the right type of business that your skill set will work best with, and one that you can run from your home. But it can also mean a business that might expand and force you out of your home. Your homework should also include researching any competitors and learning from their early mistakes.

Make a plan

Write a business plan and make sure it includes a financial breakdown as well as a marketing plan. This is especially true if you are going to seek credit or an investor in your business. As part of your planning, you also have to decide the corporate structure of your business and know how to register your new business with the government

Be prepared for a slow start

Just as it often takes children a few weeks to get back into the swing of things for the new school year, it may take a little while to get into the routine of running a small business. In the early days of your new small business, you’re likely to have a period of trials and errors before you can really figure out the best way to run your business. It might not be an easy period, but you as an entrepreneur just need to persevere and plow through the initial trials and tribulations of running your business.

Decide where to operate the business.

If you are planning on running your small business from your home, you need to have a dedicated space or area that is only used for business. There are several reasons for this, including being able to step out of your living space and into your workspace. But more importantly, you must have a workspace that is free from distraction while still running a home. Another reason for a dedicated workspace is that it will help you manage you work/life balance.

Decide on your business address.

There are several options other than using your home address to look more professional. Besides not looking professional working at a residential address and putting your home address out in the market can be a safety and security risk to your family. You can rent a part-time shared office that gives you access to a professional space on demand at the fraction of the cost of a traditional office. You could sign up for a virtual office that would give you a mail service for $30 per month or a telephone and mail service for $75 per month (where a live receptionist answers your calls and handles them to your instructions). Either way, you have a professional business address in an office business centre where your clients and customers expect you to be doing business. Whatever you do, don’t consider a Post Office Box, as they will not help you further establish a professional image.