Earlier this week we talked about getting the idea for your private practice, and all the questions you should ask yourself before deciding to move on that idea. Today, we’re going to talk about who to talk to if your decision was yes, to do it.

In starting a small business, there are hundreds (if not thousands) of resources, opinions, and step by step processes listed on the web. However, at this stage, you should be focused on one thing and one thing only:

The Business Plan

I have known some businesses to start without a business plan, but I don’t recommend it. It will help you get funding, organize your thoughts, as well as give your business direction. The Small Business Association (SBA) is one of the best resources out there. They have a lot of online tutorials and templates to help you get started. The only downside is that a lot of the information on their website is overwhelming if you have no business experience.

That is where the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) comes in. In every state and in most major cities, the SBA has an outpost that they refer to as an SBDC. The SBDC offers a variety of business services; most for free or at little cost. They will walk you through writing your business plan step by step, help you figure out loans and grants, and assist you in the legalities of setting up your business. We will go through some of those things here, but knowing what your resource is capable of is always advantageous.

Also, to borrow from Kimberly over at the Music Therapy Maven, talking to an accountant and lawyer is very important. In my process of following Kimberly’s steps, I discovered that some are willing to talk you through some issues over the phone for free! You’re going to be fiscally and legally responsible for a lot of different things, so becoming familiar with them early on is always a plus. Call a few, see who you mesh with, and keep their number for the “oh shoot” moments when you really need some help.

The Emotions:

The good thing about this stage is that you’re still grooving along, but starting to get serious. Don’t be surprised to feel the pit drop out of your stomach when you look at the categories of a business plan. Don’t be afraid to say “I have no idea”. The reason we utilize resources is because we don’t know, so don’t be harsh on yourself when you realize you have a lot to learn. Every new venture has a learning curve, and they didn’t teach starting a business in any of my music therapy courses.

To Do:

Find out if there is a Small Business Development Center near you.

Talk to accountants and lawyers.

Beginning putting your basic ideas in your business plan. It doesn’t have to be pretty just now.