The Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Small Business


Have an idea for a small business? Popular TV shows and social media thought leaders make entrepreneurship look appealing. Easy, even. It can be intimidating for an outsider looking in.

There are numerous reasons why people start small businesses. If you’re curious about these reasons, here’s a list of more than 20 business owners who share their “why.” 

A common misconception is that you need to have everything figured out before going out on your own. The truth is, to be a small business owner is to be a constant learner.

If you’re a would-be — more importantly, ready-to-be — business owner, keep reading.



What Is a Small Business?

From a definition standpoint, what a small business is varies, according to the United States government. Also, what qualifies as a small business can change over time, too.

For example, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has a table of size standards across industries. This is used to determine whether a company is “small” and can take advantage of certain government programs. Generally, a wide variety of companies can qualify as a small business. On top of size requirements, the SBA considers a company to be small if it’s:

  • For-profit

  • Independently owned and operated

  • Not dominant in its field

  • Physically located and operated in the U.S. (or a U.S. territory)

As a soon-to-be small business owner, you’re in good company: There are over 30 million small businesses in the U.S.


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