The would-be entrepreneur's handbook

The last day of a recession is the best day to start a business, the saying goes. So tackle the 10 steps in this guide now - and be ready to ride the rebound when it comes.

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Step 6: Pick your advisers carefully
Step 6: Pick your advisers carefully
Even sole proprietors need a team. Get these people onboard before you launch:

A C.P.A. If you have a simple business with limited expenses, say consulting, you might be fine with small biz software from TurboTax or TaxCut. But if you'll have a lot of costs or a payroll, hire a certified public accountant, who can help you time purchases, set up billing systems and file taxes. Get references from other business owners or do a search at

A lawyer. You may want an attorney to help structure your business. And you'll definitely want one if there are licenses involved or if you'll be signing or writing complicated contracts. Again, get references from other small business owners.

A mentor. Don't have someone to bounce ideas off of? Make contacts via your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC). A joint effort of the U.S. Small Business Administration, universities and private-sector volunteers, SBDCs offer classes and counseling. Go to and search "SBDC Locator." Or try SCORE (, a nonprofit staffed by small biz vets.

NEXT: Step 7: Make it official
Last updated January 12 2009: 5:30 AM ET
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