2. Set up your office. Find the best space, at home or elsewhere. Decide on what technology you'll be using, how to implement it with a local IT consultant and how to use that technology to its fullest. Visit a Microsoft Across America Connections event, which highlights the latest in small-business technology and helps you get the most out of your existing programs.
3. Build a brand. A compelling logo, marketing materials and a well-designed Web site are key to making a positive impression.
4. Do the marketing. Research your market and choose the right vehicles, including advertising, keywords and public relations, to get your message out.
5. Make the sale. Be prepared to accept payments in various forms and to keep track of customer relationships.
6. Watch the money. Manage your costs and keep your books in good order.
7. Mind the details. Support for shipping, travel and legal issues is affordable and nearby; get it in place now.
8. People first. Find the stars who will help you succeed and retain them as happy employees.