Want to start your own business? Our best advice to you is "Be careful!"

Why? More than half of new businesses fail in their first five years of operation. With that failure, the owner incurs a significant loss of time, money, and often credit rating.

What distinguishes those who make it from the others who fail? Our experience tells us that to succeed, you need the following characteristics:

  • A burning desire to succeed.
  • Expertise.
  • Management skills.
  • A long work week.
  • Equity and collateral.
  • A niche.
  • Resilience and flexibility.
  • Help...

SCORE has experienced business people who will counsel you on what you need to succeed and give you the benefit of their years of business experience. SCORE has expertise in all the business disciplines and distributes concise write-ups (called "Business Briefs") on any of these subjects to its clients.

Following is an Owner’s Checklist for Starting a New Business, with Briefs that may be useful:

Background Work

☐ assess your strengths and weaknesses - Brief 3.20

☐ prepare a business plan - Briefs 3.01, 3.02

☐ assess your financial resources - SBA 4.13

☐ project your financial objectives - Brief 4.05

☐ determine your start-up costs - Brief 1.05

☐ learn how to pay your taxes - Brief 1.08

☐ decide on your business location - Brief 4.61

☐ do market research to understand your customers and competitors - Brief 6.01

☐ set your prices - Briefs 7.00, 7.01, 7.02

Business Transactions

☐ select a lawyer - Brief 8.00

☐ choose a business legal structure (proprietorship, partnership, or corporation) - Brief 2.00

☐ register your business legal structure and name with your state of operation - Brief 1.02

☐ select an accountant - Brief 4.01

☐ select a banker/set-up a business checking account

☐ establish a line of credit/apply for a business loan - Brief 5.01

☐ select an insurance agent/obtain business insurance - Brief 9.00

Steps Before Opening

☐ research codes/occupational requirements, obtain permits and licenses - Brief 10.03

☐ obtain furniture and equipment - Brief 4.53

☐ obtain a lease on your facility - Brief 4.54

☐ buy business cards

☐ line up any necessary suppliers and sub-contractors

☐ set a starting date


If you would like to request a Cincinnati SCORE counselor please click here, for a Dayton counselor click here.


The information contained in these briefs is for general information only. While we endeavor to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the information, products, services, or related graphics contained in the briefs Through these briefs you may be able to link to other websites which are not under the control of SCORE therefore the inclusion of any links does not necessarily imply a recommendation or endorse the views expressed within them. Any reference from SCORE to a specific commercial product, process or service does not constitute or imply an endorsement by SCORE or SBA or SCORE Chapter 34 or the United States Government of the product, process, or service or its producer or provider.

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