At some point, nearly everyone dreams of leaving behind the corporate world and starting a business. Whether you have a compelling vision, a rare skill, or simply love the idea of working for yourself, your plan can be both exciting and scary. But deep down, you know it's right for you.

If that thought puts a smile on your face, here are four simple ways to start your dream business today:

  1. Start with Craigslist. Andrew Medal, a contributor to Entrepreneur, suggests checking out requests for services or products. Is there a match for your business? Respond to the ad. And then another. You can build your client base from people who already need what you have!
  2. Test your ideas on Facebook. Medal recommends using Facebook to help you decide between business ideas. First, on your own wall, just ask "If you could come to me for advice on one subject, what would it be?" Your friends know what you're good at...and probably passionate about. Second, make a separate landing page for each of your ideas, buy a Facebook ad, and track the activity and emails. You'll discover which idea has the most potential-and get a list of prospects.
  3. Don't dwell on your company's name. Deliberating over a catchy name can actually be paralyzing. Jeff Haden, a contributor for Inc., says, "If you're waiting until you come up with the perfect name, you're also waiting to start making money." He suggests choosing a name to get the business ball rolling. Get your Employer Identification Number (EIN) and set up business bank and PayPal accounts. Design or buy a simple accounting spreadsheet. Doing these will make you feel like a business owner, and motivate you to do more.
  4. Tell everyone you know. In his book, "The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future," Chris Guillebeau encourages entrepreneurs to set a goal of 30 days to establish their new business. He also offers an easy marketing tool: tell everyone what you're doing, and ask them to help. No spamming allowed-just a sincere request for word-of-mouth advertisement.

"The value of an idea lies in the using of it." said Thomas Edison. What will you do today to make yours a reality?

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Published on: May 25, 2015
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