How to Use this Guide

This guide is comprised of twelve Stepping Stones. Completing the steps guarantees a successful launch of a viable business. Whether the business grows and thrives after launch requires a whole different set of steps. Think of these first steps as foundational stones.

In one respect, each stone is a sequential step in starting a company. There is no need to form a company until you have validated the idea; no need to secure the intellectual property until you have conducted primary research, developed a prototype, and scrubbed the business plan. When you land on Step 11, you are well on your way to having a viable business.

If you have already completed some of these steps, feel free to skip ahead, but review the suggestions to make sure you haven’t missed anything. Like the cornerstones of a solid foundation, each step in starting a viable business is built upon the ones before it.

Each Stepping Stone begins with a verb, i.e., validate, form, conduct, develop, create, etc. This is to reinforce that you are moving from simulation to reality, from learning and thinking to planning and action. After all the thinking and planning, the thing that matters most is what you DO to advance your idea and turn it into a viable business.

Each step is broken down into five teachings:

Quote: Sage advice from experts to reinforce the importance of the step.

Introduction: Offers some advice based on years of real-world experience. It sets the stage for what you should think about, decide, and then do.

Things to Think About and Decide: Offers suggestions on how to take the step. Think, Decide, Do.

Things to Do and Avoid: Offers a list of tasks and common traps to avoid. Also covers some best practices you may not have thought about.

Recommended Readings and Resources: Offers links to best-in-class books, tools, templates, web sites, and services that can help you start and build your business.

This is the real value of this guide. These are your short cuts. Mix and match the readings and resources to create your personal blueprint for success.