This post was sponsored, and paid for, by SunTrust. All opinions are my own.

As the saying goes, hindsight is 20/20 and as I look back on the beginnings of my blog, I wish I had done a lot of things differently. My blog is my small business and my biggest regret was not treating my blog like a business.

Starting a small business

How I Got Started

When I first started my blog, I didn’t treat it as a business. I wrote articles and waited for people to come and check it out. I didn’t think about where I wanted to go with my blog or set any goals for growth.

My blog started as a way to keep my family up-to-date, so I just winged it. As brands started to contact me, I still didn’t think of it as a business. It was just a thing I did that made some money.

I believe I had been blogging for about 3 years when I had an epiphany. If I want growth, I needed to change my mindset. I needed to treat this blog like a business. I sat down and wrote a plan. It wasn’t a formal business plan, but it was a plan.

That’s when my blog became my small business.

SunTrust Small Business Best Practices Guide

6 Tips For Starting Your Small Business

Don’t make the same mistakes I did. Regardless of what small business you start, be sure you treat it like a business. Don’t think about it as a hobby.

Here are 6 tips for starting your small business and treating it like a business:

  1. The first thing you should do is create a business plan. You can go online and find a lot of sample plans. It doesn’t need to be complicated. Just write down what your business is, what problem your product or service solves, who are your customers, and your goals.
  2. Set up a small business bank account and an accounting system. This is one of the biggest mistakes I’ve made. I had been blogging over 6 years when I finally started an Excel spreadsheet to track my income and expenses. Again, you don’t need to have a complicated system set up, but you do need to track your income and expenses so you know whether you are reaching your financial goals.
  3. Create a small business budget. Budgets are great guidelines to be sure you are still on track with your financial goals. There may always be unexpected expenses, but you need a starting point so you don’t get off track. A budget will help you do that.
  4. Establish credit history for your small business. There may come a time when your business starts to grow quickly and you need to expand. This often requires borrowing money. Your small business should have credit history so you will be in a better position to borrow money.
  5. Be sure you keep your personal and business accounts for your money. This will help you protect your personal assets.
  6. Have an emergency plan. What will you do if there is a natural disaster or death that changes your small business? What will happen to your business? You need to have a plan in place.

For more tips, check out SunTrust’s Small Business Best Practices Guide.

What tips do you have for starting a small business or if you haven’t started one, do you have any questions?