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10 Steps Before Starting a Small or Home Business

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5 of 10

Step 5: Understand Legal Barriers to Starting Your Business
Check your zoning laws before starting a small business.

If you live in an area that is subject to the rules and regulations of a homeowners' or community association, check for restrictions. Find out what, if any restrictions exist on starting a small business in your home and how you might work within them before you invest one cent in your home business.

If you plan on starting a small business in your home, you may not be able to do so if you welcome clients or customers into your home, if you will be operating machinery, storing or working with hazardous materials, making noise, etc. These and other issues surrounding the nature of your small business may all have an impact on what you can and cannot do and can prevent you from starting a small business at entirely.

Will you need a special zoning exemption? Will getting one be a difficult and drawn out exercise? Is it even legal to operate the business you're planning? Will you need to secure a license before starting your small business?

Are your products and services potentially subject to patents, trademarks or copyrights? More on understanding patents, trademarks and copyrights...

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