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If you were born with the urge to be your own boss, sell a great idea or make it big, you’re not alone. Some of the most successful businessmen and women out there started with just a great idea and a drive to make it happen. If you’re considering going the entrepreneurial route, here are a few ways to help ensure your venture is a success.

1. Focus on what will sell. Choosing a solid, marketable product or service is a prerequisite for a successful business. Click here for the questions to ask yourself about whether there is a market for your business.

2. Draft a business plan and get ready to present it to potential investors. You’ll find a description of the types of business plans out there, with tips on creating yours here.

3. Call on potential resources. Whether you need photos of your product or help designing your logo, check in with family and friends who may have the skills you need.

4. Be sure you’re covered financially until at least the end of the second year. For some tips on finding investors as a first-time entrepreneur, click here.

5. Double your anticipated startup costs. Most entrepreneurs find that the start up costs are higher than they’d expected. Using plastic to help finance your ventures can help you get off the ground; just make sure to shop around for the best deal possible. And for help on determining the real cost of starting your business, click here.

6. Be professional. Communicating with customers and other business contacts in a prompt and professional way is an absolute must.

7. Be flexible. You are guaranteed to make mistakes as you try to get your new business off the ground. The key is to notice and learn from your mistakes, and then move on.

8. Get training. You may not have experience in these areas, but as a new business owner you are likely to be utilizing skills related to bookkeeping, tech support and marketing. Get prepared by reading up or signing up for related classes.

9. Work the Internet. From resources and advice to auction sites and social networking, the Internet is a new entrepreneur’s best friend.

10. Plan an exit strategy. There are a lot of unknowns when you start a business, and there is always a possibility the venture won’t pan out. Take care not to end up in a financial bind that could affect your credit history. And save yourself loads of stress by going into the venture with a solid back-up plan.

Starting a business requires good money sense and a solid understanding of credit. For more on using credit responsibly, visit WhatsMyScore.org.

by Variny Paladino

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