You have the perfect design for the “can’t-do-without-it” tool, the “I-can’t-believe-no-one-has-thought-of-this-before” service for the masses. And the thought of being your own boss is like the call of the siren: a temptation you can’t resist any longer. But how do you move from ideas to invoices? Support is as close as your computer, equipped with software applications for small businesses.

 Are you thinking about breaking away from the hectic pace of a BMET in a hospital to develop your own medical equipment service company? Have you designed the perfect “Widget Assessment Tool” that you want to market to other BMETs across the country? Have you always thought that working for yourself would provide you the best boss in the world?

If you’ve always dreamed of owning a business, you’ve got plenty of company. According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), more than 99 percent of all employers and nearly all of the self-employed — 7 percent of the work force — are engaged in small businesses. Fifty-three percent of small businesses are home-based.

 Business plan software from Palo Alto Software is availble in Macintosh and Windows formats.

Like so many things, however, starting your own business is easier said than done. But, like with so many other things, there are resources available to help.

Start with the SBA office near you. These organizations offer a variety of free services, including a Business Information Center (BIC) with computers for your use, a business reference and resource library, and volunteers from one of 389 SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) chapters across the country. SCORE members provide free counseling sessions to assist budding entrepreneurs in developing a business plan, identifying potential financial resources and maintaining a successful small business over the long haul. Usually, counseling sessions are conducted one-on-one with a volunteer who has experience in a business similar to that of the client seeking guidance. Seperate, general seminars taught by industry leaders provide a quick overview of what is involved in starting and running a small business.

To purchase the full text of this article, click here…