Launching a business is just the first step in the journey of running a business. Here are some steps people should take to make sure their endeavor is successful.

Organize all business documentation and keep it up to date. This paperwork includes financial statements, licenses, business plans, and balance sheets. Having this paperwork in place allows the business owner to understand the company’s health on any given day, and confirms that day-to-day operations are going as planned. If financial help is needed, these documents will help get a loan approved quickly, and the same documentation will be used for preparing taxes. For a list of important business documentation, see “Preparation is key when applying for a business loan,” in the finance section of

Business owners are responsible for operating costs and tasks, on top of other activities of the business. Many costs are reoccurring, but not all can be anticipated, so the budget should include unexpected expenses to make sure operating costs are covered. Time scheduled in the day to accommodate extra tasks is also essential.

Many professionals and volunteers offer support so business owners don’t have to do everything themselves. Establishing a relationship with an accountant helps with high-level financial tasks like structuring business types and tax planning. Bookkeepers are valuable for processing payroll, sending invoices, and helping to balance the budget sheet. Lawyers represent business owners in the case of a dispute or if a contract needs to be created or signed.

Finding a networking group and/or a mentor can be very helpful. Networking groups bring business professionals together on a regular basis to discuss challenges and opportunities associated with running a business. Local chambers of commerce provide networking groups as part of their membership offerings. Sometimes people establish lifelong friendships by attending a networking group.

There are many benefits to working with a mentor. Mentoring is a relationship between an experienced business person and a business owner. Mentors through the nonprofit SCORE provide free expert guidance to business owners. Getting an objective second opinion can be helpful when confronting a problem or needing to make a tough decision, and a mentor can provide this advice. Learn more about SCORE at