Start SMART: Five Steps to Success When Starting a Small Business

A visual representation of key words: strategy, mentorship, action, review, and time.

Start SMART: Five Steps to Success When Starting a Small Business

Thinking about starting a business but unsure where to start? The time is now to start and to start SMART. This blog will summarize the five steps to start your business intelligently and effectively. 


In the beginning phases of starting a business, it is crucial to establish a strategic foundation. A highly effective method of achieving this is by developing a business plan. A business plan is a comprehensive document that encompasses the objectives, strategies, and operational intricacies of the business. It serves as a roadmap for entrepreneurs and stakeholders, delivering a clear and structured overview of the company’s vision, market analysis, target audience, products or services, marketing and sales strategies, organizational structure, financial projections, and potential risks. A well-crafted business plan effectively communicates the feasibility and potential of your business, facilitating the attraction of investors, securing financing, guiding decision-making processes, and establishing a robust framework for success.

To learn more about what a business plan is and how to create one, check out step two of our How To Start a Business Guide


Seeking guidance and assistance when starting or running a business is a wise decision. The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is a valuable resource that offers free counseling and training to support entrepreneurs with their business startups or expansion efforts. This center provides confidential appointments at no cost, ensuring that your business-related discussions remain private. The SBDC advisors specialize in addressing practical small business needs and are eager to assist you in any capacity possible.

To find the closest SBDC center in your area, click here


When embarking on your entrepreneurial journey, it is crucial to ensure that you have obtained all the necessary licenses to operate your business successfully. In the state of Iowa, there is no blanket “general” business license. Instead, Iowa governs and regulates business activities and professions individually. If you are still determining the specific permits required for your particular business, the IASourceLinks’ Business License Information Center is available to assist you. The platform allows you to narrow down your search by selecting specific criteria on the left-hand side. Once you identify a license that may be relevant to your business, you can easily access the website for all the contact information you need.


When starting a business it is inevitable to experience both successes and challenges. During this initial phase, it is crucial to allocate time for reviewing your progress, tracking your goals, and identifying areas that require improvement. By conducting regular reviews of your business, you can gather valuable insights that will contribute to its growth and success. Here are several reasons highlighting the importance of reviewing your business in the early stages:

  1. Evaluation of Initial Assumptions: When you start a business, you make certain assumptions about your target market, products or services, pricing, and marketing strategies. Reviewing your business allows you to assess whether these assumptions were accurate or if adjustments are necessary.
  2. Identification of Strengths and Weaknesses: By reviewing your business, you can identify the strengths and weaknesses of your operations, resources, and strategies. This knowledge enables you to capitalize on your strengths and address any weaknesses to improve your chances of success.
  3. Adaptation to Market Conditions: The business landscape is constantly evolving, and market conditions may change. Reviewing your business helps you stay abreast of these changes and adapt your strategies accordingly. It allows you to assess market trends, consumer preferences, and competitor activities, enabling you to make informed decisions.


Once your business is up and running, it becomes crucial to give it the space it needs to grow and thrive independently. This approach is vital for establishing a solid foundation, cultivating a positive brand reputation, and facilitating continuous learning and adaptation.

The process of building a successful business demands both time and effort. Allowing your business to grow gradually allows you to concentrate on laying a strong foundation. This involves developing robust systems, cultivating a loyal customer base, and fostering strong relationships with suppliers, partners, and employees.

Reputation holds significant importance in the triumph of any business. Granting your business the time it needs to grow permits you to consistently deliver top-notch products or services, provide exceptional customer service, and build a favorable brand image. Over time, this leads to enhanced customer loyalty and positive word-of-mouth referrals.

As you confront challenges and gain insights, you can refine your strategies, enhance your processes, and make well-informed decisions. Allocating time for growth empowers you to adapt to evolving market dynamics effectively and navigate changes successfully. It provides the opportunity to learn from experiences and implement valuable improvements.

In conclusion, starting a business requires strategic planning, mentorship, taking action, reviewing progress, allowing time for growth, and giving your business the space to flourish, you set the stage for long-term success.

Remember that building a business is a journey that involves both challenges and opportunities. Stay committed to learning, refining your approaches, and adapting to market dynamics. By continuously evaluating your progress, identifying areas for improvement, and nurturing your business over time, you increase your chances of establishing a strong foundation, cultivating a positive brand reputation, and achieving sustained growth.

Embrace the journey of entrepreneurship with patience, perseverance, and a willingness to evolve. With the right strategies, support, and dedication, your business can thrive and become a valuable asset in the marketplace. Now is the time to start your business and embark on a path to success.

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