Make a business plan, no matter how short.

Understanding your profit numbers and creating a break-even analysis is the first step in making a business plan. For most small companies, the key portions of a business plan are the break-even analysis, a profit-and-loss forecast, and a cash flow projection. (Projecting your cash flow is key and will make or break your company: Even if your business is getting plenty of work or selling its products, if you’re not getting paid for 90-180 days, you’re not going to survive unless you’ve planned for it.) With a cash flow spreadsheet in place, as well as a profit-and-loss forecast, you can tinker with your business idea and improve it before you start — and continue to use them after you start.