From the outside, starting a business seems simple enough. You’ve got a great idea, and now you want to make money from it. But there’s actually a lot of work that needs to be done before you can launch your new business. Let’s look at the key things you should know.

1. How will you fund your business?

You may assume you’ll immediately start generating profit with your small business, but the truth is: it can sometimes take months or even years before you see your first profit. In the meantime, consider how you’ll pay the bills, yourself and your staff. Will you take out a loan? Use your savings? Find investors? Create a budget for your first year, including what you’ll need for your personal expenses, and then make a plan about how to get there.

2. What type of business structure will you have?

It may not have occurred to you. Will you be operating as a sole proprietor (you’ll need a DBA)? Or maybe a partnership or LLC? Or what about a corporation? All of these require business filing before you start your business.

3. Will you hire employees right away?

This may depend on the answer to #1. You may not have the funds to hire employees until you start generating money, so figure out how you (your spouse, your kid and even your dog) will run the business with limited time resources. Also look into hiring freelancers or part-time workers if you don’t yet need full-time work.

4. What will your company’s mission statement be?

In other words, what is your aim? Are you just looking to make money? Or are you trying to solve a problem for people in a given niche? It can be helpful to write down your goals as well as a mission statement like this one:

The guiding vision of The Estee Lauder Companies is “Bringing the best to everyone we touch”. By “The best”, we mean the best products, the best people and the best ideas. These three pillars have been the hallmarks of our Company since it was founded by Mrs. Estee Lauder in 1946. They remain the foundation upon which we continue to build our success today.

5. What’s your plan for the future?

It may seem strange to already be thinking about five years down the road when you haven’t even launched your brand, but knowing the destination you seek (maybe that’s selling the business in 10 years?) can help you choose the path to get there. When creating your business plan, add in goals for one year, five years and ten.

You can read business blogs and books for tips on how to answer these questions, but the answers will ultimately come from you, as you are the visionary for your brand-to-be. Don’t be afraid to come up with answers that may change. Half of the fun of running a small business is tweaking your strategy along the way.

Let help you start your new business. Our experienced Small Business Experts can help you decide which business structure is right for you.