Hi, Steve – My resolution for the new year is to finally start my own business. And, while I have a general idea of what the process entails, I was hoping you could give me a better, more specific, outline. Thank you. -- Abigail

A: Let me begin by saying that there is no better time to start a business than right now. This is the golden age for small business. Not only is the economy booming, but you have three other distinct advantages:

• First, there is more help than ever available. Between websites, software, webinars, tools, SCORE.org, the SBA, and technology, becoming an entrepreneur is a more viable career option than ever.

• Speaking of technology, it also happens that we are living in an era where any small business can be small but look and act big. Your Web presence for instance can be every bit as big and profession as that big box store down the street, and that is just for starters. Technology levels the playing field.

• And because of numbers one and two above, people are far more open to the idea of supporting a new small business. They don't look at it so askance; they may even look at it with envy. And the upshot of that is that finding great employees and willing customers may be easier than you think.

So, just how do you do it? I detail this process more in my book The Small Business Bible, but here today, let's take a look at Steve's handy-dandy 7- Step Startup Process:

Step 1. Personal assessment: Not everyone is cut out to be in business for his or her self, and so your first step – especially before sinking a lot of time and money into the venture – is to be sure that it is the right move for you. Some people are athletes, others are artists, some folks are great employees, and others are entrepreneurs


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