how to start a small business

How to Start a Business

A Complete Guide for Startup Entrepreneurs

Execution is what differentiates a great thinker from an entrepreneur.

When you start an online business, there are hundreds of questions that need answering. How much money do you really need to start a business? How do you register it with the government? How do you build a website? Who’s your target customer, and what tactics and messaging should you use to reach them? You’ll quickly find that coming up with the idea for a new business is the easy part. Actually executing on that idea is where it gets interesting.

Everyone wants more visitors, more qualified leads, and more revenue. But starting a business isn’t one of those "if you build it, they will come" situations. In order to build a successful company, you’ll need to create and fine-tune a business plan, assess your finances, complete all the legal paperwork, pick your partners, choose the best tools and systems to help you get your marketing and sales off the ground … and a whole lot more.

Guy Kawasaki words of wisdom
Ideas are easy. Implementation is hard.

We’re here to guide you through that process. On this page, you’ll find a library of the best free tools and resources to help you start selling and marketing your business, and a complete guide on how to start a business. The guide covers everything from the paperwork and finances to defining your business goals to building and growing your business online.

Looking for a free marketing tool to help you generate leads for your business start-up? HubSpot's free marketing tools can help you get more insight into how people use your website and where you can optimize for conversion. Click to learn more.

HubSpot's free marketing tools show you who leads are and what they do on your site so you can learn exactly what to do to turn them into customers.

How to Start a Business

A Complete Guide for Startup Entrepreneurs

Starting a business involves a whole lot of moving pieces, some more exciting than others. Brainstorming business names? Fun! Filing taxes? ... Not so fun. The trick to successfully getting your business off the ground is to meticulously plan and organize your materials, prioritize properly, and stay on top of the status and performance of each and every one of these moving parts.

From registering with the government to getting the word out about your business to making key financial decisions, here’s an overview of what you'll need to do to start a successful business.

Nick Rellas words of wisdom
[Becoming a founder] wasn't the plan, that's for sure. I wasn't a tech guy. I wasn't a startup guy. But I'll never forget the moment when my co-founder Justin and I looked at each other and said, 'This has to happen.'

The not-so-romantic part of a starting a new business is all the paperwork and legal activities. This includes things like determining the legal structure of your business, nailing down your business name, registering with the government, and – depending on your business structure and industry –  getting a tax code, a business license, and/or a seller’s permit. 

Furthermore, businesses are regulated on the federal, the state, and sometimes even local level. It’s important to check what’s required on all three of those levels. When you register your business with the government, be sure you’re covering registration on all the levels required for your business’ location. Your business won’t be a legal entity without checking these boxes, so stay on top of it. 

Clearly, it can be overwhelming to figure out what legal steps you need to take for your particular case, so let’s break it down in this step-by-step guide. Below, you’ll find a brief explanation of what goes into each one of these steps, along with links to helpful resources where you can dig in to the details. (Note: These steps are for starting a business in the U.S. only.) 

Determining the Legal Structure of Your Business

The 4 Most Common Business Structures

The legal structure of your business will determine what you need to do to register with the government, how you’re taxed, what risks you need to take on, and so on.

The four most common business structures are the sole proprietorship, the partnership, the limited liability company (LLC), and the corporation. Each legal structure has its pros and cons, and it's worth understanding every one before you make a decision. Many people starting a business will choose to register either as an LLC or a corporation, for example, because those two structures will give owners limited liability protection. But on the other hand, there’s a lot more paperwork and expense associated with a corporation or LLC.

Click through the tabs below to learn about each of these four business structures in more detail, including what they are, the pros and cons, and how taxes work for each one.

Sole Proprietorship

Example: Freelance graphic design.

What it is: A sole proprietorship is a business that’s owned and run by one person, where the government makes no legal distinction between the person who owns the business and the business itself. It’s the simplest way to operate the business. You don't have to name your business anything other than your own, personal name, but if you want to, you can give it its own distinctive name by registering what’s called a Doing Business Name (DBA). (We’ll get back to that in the "Choosing & Registering Your Business Name" section.)

Pros: It’s easy and inexpensive to create a sole proprietorship because there’s only one owner, and that owner has complete control over all business decisions. Tax preparation is also pretty simple since a sole proprietorship is not taxed separately from its owner.

Cons: It can be dramatically more difficult to raise money and get investors or loans because there’s no legal structure that promises repayment if the business fails. Also, since the owner and the business are legally the same, the owner is personally liable for all the debts and obligations of the business.

How taxes work: The individual proprietor owns and manages the business and is responsible for all transactions, including debts and liabilities. Income and losses are taxed on the individual’s personal income tax return at ordinary rates. In addition, you are also subject to payroll taxes, or self-employment taxes, on the money you earn. (More on self-employment taxes later.) Find IRS tax forms here.


Example: Multiple doctors maintaining separate practices in the same building.

What it is: A partnership is a single business where two or more people share ownership, and each owner contributes to all aspects of the business as well as shares in the profits and losses of the business.

Pros: It’s generally pretty easy to form a business partnership, and it doesn’t tend to be super expensive, either. Having two or more people equally invested in the business’ success allows you to pool resources. It also means you have access to more than one person’s skill set and expertise.

Cons: Just like a sole proprietor, partners have full, shared liability if the business goes south. That also means that partners aren’t just liable for their own actions, but also the actions of their partner(s). There is a variant on partnerships called a limited liability partnership, or LLP, that protects against that -- which is how most law firms are organized, for example.

Finally, when more than one person is involved in decisions, there’s room for disagreement -- which means it’s important to have an explicit agreement over how the obligations and earnings will be split, especially if/when things go wrong.

How taxes work: To form a partnership, you have to register your business with your state, a process generally done through your Secretary of State’s office. Find IRS tax forms here

Limited Liability Company (LLC)

Example: A small design firm.

What it is: LLCs are a type of business structure that's more complex than sole proprietorships and partnerships, but less complex than corporations. They are called “pass-through entities” because they’re not subject to a separate level of tax. Most states don’t restrict ownership on LLCs, and so members can include individuals, corporations, and even other LLCs and foreign entities. Most states also permit “single-member” LLCs, those having only one owner.

Pros: As the name suggests, owners of an LLC have limited liability, meaning that they personally are not responsible for any financial or legal faults of the business. This reduction in risk is what makes an LLC a very popular business structure.

Cons: LLCs are often more complex than sole proprietorships or partnerships, which means higher initial costs, and certain venture capital funds are hesitant to invest in LLCs because of tax considerations and the aforementioned complexity. That being said, they’re simpler to operate than a corporation because they aren’t subject to as many formalities.

How taxes work: LLCs have the benefit of a “flow-through” tax treatment, meaning that the owners – not the LLC – are the ones who are taxed. Having only one level of tax imposed makes taxes easier. Find IRS tax forms here.


Example: Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Toyota Motor, and almost all well known businesses.

What it is: A legal entity that is separate and distinct from its owners, and has most of the rights and responsibilities that an individual possesses (to enter into contracts, loan and borrow money, sue and be sued, hire employees, own assets, and pay taxes.) It’s more complex than the other business structures, and it’s generally suggested for larger, established companies with multiple employees.

Pros: They make seeking venture financing easy. They also provide the best protection for personal assets, as the founders, directors, and stockholders are (usually) not liable for the company's debts and obligations – only the money and resources they've personally invested.

Cons: Because they’re much more complex than other business structures, they can have costly administrative fees, and more complicated tax and legal requirements.

How taxes work: Corporations are required to pay federal, state, and in some cases, local taxes. There are two different types of corporations: "C corporations" and "S corporations." C corporations are subject to double taxation – so any profit a C corporation makes is taxed to the corporation when earned, and then is taxed to the shareholders when distributed as dividends. The corporation does not get a tax deduction when it distributes dividends to shareholders. Shareholders cannot deduct any loss of the corporation, but they are also not responsible directly for taxes on their earnings – just on the dividends they give to shareholders. S corporations, on the other hand have only one level of taxation. Learn more about the difference between "C corporations" and "S corporations" here, and find IRS tax forms here.

Choosing & Registering Your Business Name

Establishing a business name is a little more complicated than making a list and picking your favorite. You’ll use the legal name of your business on all your government forms and applications, including your application for your employer tax identification number, licenses, and permits.

If you’re using a name other than your personal name, then you need to register it with your state government so they know you’re doing business with a name other than your given name. 

First thing’s first: Before you register, you need to make sure the name you want is available in your state. Business names are registered on a state-by-state basis, so it’s possible that a company in another state could have the same name as yours. This is only concerning if there’s a trademark on the name. Do a Trademark search of your desired name to avoid expensive issues down the road.

Speaking of who’s using which names online, see if your desired domain names are available by doing an online domain search. Do the same with your desired social media handles. If the domain name and/or social media handles you want aren’t available, then some of you might consider changing your business name. 

For new corporations and LLCs: Your business name is automatically registered with your state when you register your business – so you don’t have to go through a separate process. There are rules for naming a corporation and LLC, which you can read about here.

For sole proprietorships, partnerships, and existing corporations and LLCs (if you want to do business with a name other than their registered name), you’ll need to register what’s called a “Doing Business As” (DBA) name. You can do so either by going to your county clerk office or with your state government, depending which state you’re in. Learn how to do that here.

Want to trademark your business name? A trademark protects words, names, symbols, and logos that distinguish goods and services. Filing for a trademark costs less than $300, and you can learn how to do it here.

The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into smaller manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.

Seller’s Permit

What Is It and Do You Need One?

If your business sells tangible property to the public either as a wholesaler or retailer, then in most states, you need to apply for a seller’s permit. “Tangible property” simply means physical items, like clothing, vehicles, toys, construction materials, and so on. In some states, a seller’s permit is required for service-oriented business, too, such as accountants, lawyers, and therapists.

The seller’s permit allows you to collect sales tax from buyers. You’ll then pay that sales tax to the state each quarter by putting the sales tax permit number on the state’s tax payment form. 

You can register for a seller's permit through your state's Board of Equalization, Sales Tax Commission, or Franchise Tax Board. To help you find the appropriate offices, find your state on this IRS website

Business License

What Is It and Do You Need One?

Almost every business needs some form of license or permit to operate legally – but the requirements vary, which can get confusing. Which specific licenses or permits does your business need? To figure that out, go to this website and select the state from which you’re operating your business. It’ll tell you the specific license and permit requirements in that state. 

Small Business Taxes

Business owners are obligated to pay specific federal taxes, and the amount of those taxes is determined by the form of business entity that you establish. All businesses except for partnerships need to file an annual income tax return. Partnerships file what’s called an information return

Any business that’s owned and operated in the United States needs an Employer Identification Number (EIN), which you can apply for on the IRS’ website here. Once you’re registered, it’s time to figure out which taxes you’ll be responsible for. Here are the three types:

self-employment tax information
Self-employment Tax (SE Tax)

A Social Security and Medicare tax for people who work for themselves, i.e. business owners. SE taxes require filing Schedule SE (Form 1040) if your net earnings from self-employment were $400 or more. (Note: There are special rules and exceptions for fishing crew members, notary public, and more.)

Learn More
employment tax information
Employment Taxes

When you have employees, you (as the employer) have certain employment tax responsibilities that you need to pay, as well as forms you need to file. Employment taxes include Social Security and Medicare taxes, federal income tax withholding, and federal unemployment (FUTA) tax.

Learn More
excise tax information
Excise Taxes

Excise taxes are also something you need to consider, depending what you sell, where you operate, and so on. For example, in the U.S., there’s a federal excise tax on certain trucks, truck tractors, and buses used on public highways.

Learn More

Marketing, Sales, and Services Tips

How to Get Customers and Keep Them Happy

Once you’ve registered your new business with the government and gotten the legal paperwork squared away, how do you go about, you know ... acquiring customers? Before you can receive any significant funding for your business (which we'll talk about in the next section), you need to start building an online presence and marketing your business, as well as getting a sales process together and beginning to sell your product or service. Turns out that generating demand and earning customers needs to come before you can viably ask for funding from an external source. And once you start generating customers, you’ll need to retain them – which is where customer service comes in.

(For more helpful resources, scroll back up to our library of Free Marketing and Sales Tools and Resources.)

Marketing Your Small Business

A new company needs to start drumming up interest for its product or service even before it’s ready to ship. But there are a million different platforms and avenues you can use to drive awareness … so where on earth do you start?

Narrow down your target customer.

It all comes down to your target customer. You won't be able to position what you're selling to meet customers' needs without knowing who they are. One of the very first questions you need to ask yourself is: Who wants what I’m selling? Who would find it useful? Who would love it? Then, you need to dig in to who that person is or those people are, and what kind of messaging would resonate with them. That includes their backgrounds, interests, goals, and challenges, in addition to how old they are, what they do every day, which social platforms they use, and so on.

Creating very specific buyer personas can dramatically improve your business results. Read this step-by-step guide on how to create buyer personas, which includes buyer persona templates you can customize yourself. Once you’ve picked a buyer persona or two, print them out, tack them onto your wall, and think about their interests and needs before making every business decision.

Ellie Mirman words of wisdom
Work a lot with your early customers to drive product development.

Develop a brand identity.

In addition to researching your target customer, when you’re first starting a business, you’ll need to build the foundation for a strong brand identity. Your brand identity is about your values, how you communicate concepts, and which emotions you want your customers to feel when they interact with your business. Having a consistent brand identity to promote your business will make you look more professional and help you attract new customers.

Build your online presence.

With your target customer and your brand identity under your belt, you can begin building the core marketing elements of your small business, which includes your website, your blog, your email tool, your conversion tool, and your social media accounts. To dive deeper into these topics, read our beginner’s guide to small business marketing here.

Generate and nurture leads.

Once you've started building an online presence and creating awareness for your business, you need to generate the leads that will close into customers. Lead generation is the process of attracting and converting strangers and prospects into leads, and if you build a successful lead generation engine, you'll be able to keep your funnel full of sales prospects while you sleep.

What does a successful lead generation process look like? Learn more about lead generation here, and click the button below to try HubSpot's free marketing tools, our free lead generation tool that lets you track your website visitors and leads in a single contact database.

Get HubSpot's Free Lead Generation Tool

If you want to learn how to start building an email list of prospective customers for your small business, attend our live workshop on April 27, 2017 to learn a simple way that you can generate leads.

Now that you know a little more about building your brand and online presence, spreading awareness, and generating leads from your online assets, let's move on to how to set up sales.

Free Marketing Tools & Resources

For startups with low budgets.

Here are some helpful resources to help you spread awareness, build your online presence, and get the leads you need for free.

build a marketing plan
Marketing Plan: A Blueprint for Start-Ups

20-page guide that covers how to build a sales and marketing machine, which demand generation activities with the biggest return on investment, and more.

Get the Guide
free lead generation tool
HubSpot's Free Marketing Tools

Free marketing tool that gives you insight into what every lead does before and after they fill out a form. It includes built-in analytics that make it easy to learn which pages, offers, and traffic sources are driving the most conversions for you.

Get the Free Tool
how strong is your website
Website Grader

Enter your website URL and email address, and you'll get a detailed grade on your website's performance, mobile, SEO, and security, along with detailed tips and resources for making impactful improvements on your website.

Assess My Website
templates for press releases
Press Release Templates

Downloadable press release templates you can customize, along with a corresponding guide to building a press release and promotion plan.

Get Your Press Release Templates
templates for case studies
Case Study Templates

Downloadable case study templates you can customize, tips on how to find and reach out to candidates, and sample interview questions.

Get Your Case Study Templates
templates for creating content
Content Creation Templates

100 social media image templates, 8 PowerPoint presentation templates, 50 call-to-action templates, 15 infographic templates, 5 ebook templates, 5 blog post templates, and more.

Get Your Content Templates
What if you could get access to all of HubSpot’s marketing and sales software for a 90% discount? You can with the HubSpot for Startups scholarship program.

Selling Your Products or Services

When you’ve started generating interest for what you’re selling, there are two big question marks: What’s your sales process supposed to look like, and who’s going to sell it?

When you’re starting your business, it might be you, as the multiple-hat-wearing business owner, or a dedicated sales rep or two. Scaling fast with such a lean team can be difficult, but here are some best practices for getting your sales operations going on a limited budget and with limited resources:

Set up your sales infrastructure.

By taking the time to set up your sales process from the get-go, you’ll avoid painful headaches that come with lost data down the line. Start with a CRM, which is a central database where you can keep track of all your clients and prospective clients in one place. There are loads of options out there, and you’ll want to evaluate the CRMs that cater to small businesses. (Excel doesn’t count!)

Identify your sales goals.

Don’t get intimidated by sales lingo such as KPIs and ROI. All this means is that you need to figure out what you need coming into your business to make ends meet and grow: how much revenue do you need, and how many products do you need to sell to hit that target?

Hire a sales rep.

When you’re starting your business, it’s tempting to do everything yourself, including taking on sales. However, making that first sales hire is crucial to scaling – you need someone dedicated to understanding your buyer and selling to them full-time. When looking for that first sales hire, seniority should be less of a priority than how much sales experience they have on the front lines and whether they understand your business’s target buyer.

Get more out of your sales activities.

Efficiency is key. Put together a sales process, such as this helpful 7-step sales process framework, which works regardless of your business size. You'll also want to automate sales tasks (such as data entry), or set up notifications when a prospective customer takes an action. That way, you spend less time poring through records and calling the wrong prospects and more on strategy and actual selling.

Free Sales Tools & Resources

Close more customers without spending a fortune.

Here are some helpful templates tools to help you build an efficient sales engine, reach prospects, and close customers for free.
free email signature tool
Email Signature Generator

A free tool that creates a professional email signature you can easily add to your Gmail, Outlook, Apple Mail, Yahoo Mail, or any other email provider.

Make Your Own Email Signature
sales email templates
Sales Email Templates

A list of 21 email templates that have been used with tremendous success by real companies (including HubSpot.)

Get Your Sales Email Templates
what to say on a sales call
Sales Call Scripts

Easy-to-follow sales call checklist that can help you build rapport and develop trust, understand the prospect’s pain points, identify key decision-makers, and secure a follow-up meeting.

Check Out The Sales Call Scripts
video series for sales tips
The GSD Sales Show

A video series on how to build, automate, and grow and accelerate your sales prospecting in a scalable way.

Watch the Video Series
learn top selling strategies from a sales expert
Daniel Pink's "Sell Like a Human" Video Series

Monthly video series where Sales Expert Daniel Pink and special guests solve your biggest sales challenges in under 30 minutes.

Watch the Video Series
compare your close rate to industry benchmarks
Sales Close Rate Industry Benchmarks Tool

Compare your sales close rate against your industry competitors using data from over 8,900 companies segmented by 28 industries.

Compare Your Sales Close Rate
Enroll in HubSpot Academy to learn everything you need to know about digital marketing and sales. Train your whole team for free!

Keeping Your Customers Happy

Getting net new customers in the door is important, but retaining them is just as important. You can’t ignore customers once you’ve closed them – you have to take care of them, give them stellar customer service, and nurture them to become fans of (and even evangelists for) your business. While inbound marketing and sales are both critical to your funnel, the funnel doesn’t end there: The reality is that the amount of time and effort that you spend perfecting your strategy in those areas will amount to very little if you’re unable to retain happy customers.

This means that building a model for customer success should be central to your organization. Think for a second about all the different ways reviews, social media, and online aggregators spread information about your products. They’re all quick and effective, for better or for worse. While your marketing and sales playbooks are within your control and yours to perfect, a large chunk of your prospects are evaluating your company based on the content and materials that other people are circulating about your brand.

Here are some tips for how to keep your customers happy and stand out as a stellar business:

React quickly.

People expect fast resolution times (some faster than others depending on the channel), so it’s essential to be nimble and efficiently keep up with requests so that you’re consistently providing excellent service to avoid losing trust with your customers. Pay attention to the volume of your company mentions on different channels. Identify where your customers spend the most time and are asking the most questions, and then meet them there, whether it’s on a social network, on Yelp, or somewhere else.

Keep track of touchpoints with individual customers.

Interactions with your customers are best informed by context. Keep track of all the touchpoints you’ve had with individual customers because having a view into their experience with your company will pay dividends in the long run.

How long have they been a customer? What was their experience in the sales process? How many purchases have they made? Have they given positive/critical feedback about your support experience or products? Knowing the answers to these questions will give you a more complete picture when you respond to inquiries and will help you have more productive conversations with customers.

Create feedback loops.

From the moment you have your first customer, you should be actively seeking out insights from them. As your business grows, this will become harder -- but remember that your customer-facing employees are a valuable source of information because they are most in tune with your buyers and potential buyers.

Create a FAQ page for your website.

Give customers the tools to help themselves, and scale this program as you grow. When you’re starting out, this might take the form of a simple FAQ page. Over time, as your customer base grows, turn your website into a resource for your customers and enable them to self-service – such as evolving that FAQ page into a knowledge base or library that answers common questions and/or gives customers instructions.

Free CRM

Organize all your prospects' data in one place for free.

If you were planning on storing all your prospects’ and customers’ contact information in an Excel spreadsheet, then you’re going to struggle very hard and very quickly with contact management. A CRM (a Customer Relationship Management tool) is much more scalable tool for growth. It can:

  • Store contact info, like name, email, and phone number, as well as any other identifying information you choose to track.
  • Log all your touchpoints with prospects, like emails, phone calls, voicemails, and in-person meetings.

HubSpot CRM is the only free CRM that lets you manage your pipeline, automate the most tedious sales tasks, and make it easier to close deals quickly. You'll end up doing more deals and less data entry. Click the button below to learn more and create your free account.

HubSpot CRM is free and always will be. Manage up to 1,000,000 contacts, users, and storage for free, without any expiration date.

Small Business Funding

From the day you start building your business until the point where you can make a consistent profit, you need to finance your operation and growth with start-up capital. Some founders can finance their business entirely on their own dime or through friends and family, which is called “bootstrapping.” This obviously gives the business owners a ton of flexibility for running the business, although it means taking on a larger financial risk -- and when family’s involved, can lead to awkward holiday dinner conversations if things go wrong.

Many founders need external start-up capital to get their business off the ground. If that sounds like you, keep on reading to learn about the most common kinds of external capital you can raise.

Want financial help starting your business? HubSpot for Startups is a 90% scholarship for seed-stage startups that comes with all of HubSpot's software and tools, unlimited technical support, and access to HubSpot's community of thousands of founders worldwide.

Seed Financing 

If you’re looking for a relatively small amount of money, say, the investigation of a market opportunity or the development of the initial version of a product or service, then seed financing might be for you. Oftentimes, this money will come from the founders themselves, from friends and family, from angel investors, and even from potential customers.

There are many different kinds of seed financing, but the one you’ve probably heard of most is called seed round financing. In this case, someone will invest in your company in exchange for preferred stock. If your company gets sold or liquidated, then investors who hold preferred stock often have the right to get their investment back -- and, in most cases, an additional return, called “preferred dividends” or “liquidation preferences” -- before holders of common stock are paid. 


Accelerators are highly competitive programs that typically involve applying and then competing against other startups in a public pitch event or demo day. In addition to winning funding and seed capital, winners of these programs are also rewarded with mentorship and educational programs.

Although accelerators were originally mostly tech companies and centered around Silicon Valley, you can now find them all over the country and in all different industries. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, here’s a list of the top accelerators in the United States to get you started.

Howard Bornstein words of wisdom
As a former venture investor, I probably looked at 100 companies before I funded one. As a person trying to raise capital [for my new business], 39 no's doesn't mean anything. 99 no's doesn't mean anything.

Small Business Loan 

If you have a really rock-solid plan for how you’ll spend the money in place, then you might be able to convince a bank, a lender, a community development organization, or a micro-lending institution to grant you a loan. 

There are many different types of loans, including loans with the bank, real estate loans, equipment loans, and more. To successfully get one, you’re going to need to articulate exactly how you’ll spend every single penny -- so make sure you have a solid business plan in place before you apply. You can learn more about’s loan programs here.


You might ask yourself, what about companies that get funding through platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo? That’s called crowdfunding, which is a newer way of funding a business. 

More importantly, it typically doesn’t entail giving partial ownership of the business away. Instead, it’s a way of getting funding not from potential co-owners, but from potential fans and customers who want to support the business idea, but not necessarily own it. What you give donors in exchange is entirely up to you -- and typically, people will come away with early access to a product, or a special version of a product, or a meet-and-greet with the founders.

When you crowdfund your business, you open an account on those platforms and publish a detailed description of your business, your goals, and how much money you need and why. From there, anyone with an internet connection can contribute money toward helping your business via an online donation. The better story you tell in your crowdfunding campaign website, the more likely you’ll be to get donations.

Venture Capital Financing

Only a very small percentage of businesses are either fit for venture capital or have access to it. All the other methods described earlier are available to the vast majority of new businesses.

If you’re looking for a significant amount of money to start your company and can prove you can quickly grow its value, then venture capital financing is probably the right move for you. However, even though venture capital financing is fashionable, it’s rarely available to startups. In fact, many people believe it should be avoided altogether unless you’ve got a billion dollar business idea.

Venture capital financing usually means one or more venture capital firms make large investments in your company in exchange for preferred stock of the company -- but, in addition to getting that preferred return like they would in series seed financing, venture capital investors also usually get governance rights, like a seat on the Board of Directors or approval rights on certain transactions. VC financing typically occurs when a company can demonstrate a significant business opportunity to quickly grow the value of the company but requires significant capital to do so.

Now it's up to you.

We hope this page has helped give you a better idea of what it takes to start your own business -- from setting up all the legal and tax paperwork, all the way to actually marketing and selling your product or service. The execution is up to you. Good luck out there!

Looking for a free marketing tool to help you generate more leads for your startup? Try HubSpot's free marketing tools and get more insight into how people use your website and where you can optimize for conversion.