Put aside the stereotype of the "lone-wolf" entrepreneur slaving away in a dimly lit garage. Entrepreneurs need people to cheer them on and guide them.
The support starts with your significant other, says Alan Guinn, CEO of The Guinn Consultancy Group Inc., small-business consultants in Bristol, Tenn.
"Make sure they are in favor of starting a business," he says, because owning a business is a long-term commitment that will compete with your family for attention. "You're married to your business, for all practical purposes."
You also need to build an advisory team you can consult with regularly. Initially, you may want to meet with your local chapter of SCORE, a nonprofit that helps entrepreneurs, and the Small Business Administration office to get free advice from seasoned business people.
But you also will want to build a professional team that includes an accountant and lawyer and, if you can afford it, marketing and public relations people.
"Don't be cheap," says Cynthia Nevels, a Texas-based business consultant. Budget early and negotiate a fair retainer to have them on call when you need them. "Don't wait until you receive an audit letter from the IRS to make that call to an expensive CPA ... you'll pay for that mistake dearly," she says.