Today, the process for starting a new business should include planning, making key financial decisions and completing the necessary series of legal activities. To assist new investors, operators and entrepreneurs, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) put together a online list of "10 easy steps to plan, prepare and manage a new business."

The SBA's first five steps to starting a business — including links to specific online resources for each step — are:

Step 1: Write a business plan

Use these online tools and resources to first create a business plan. A written guide is available to assist an owner as he or she maps out a plan to start and run a business successfully.

Step 2: Get business assistance and training

New business owners should take full advantage of free training and counseling services. These resources cover everything from preparing a business plan and securing financing to expanding or relocating a business.

Step 3: Choose a business location

Here is advice on how to choose a fitting, customer-friendly location as well as comply with all local zoning laws.

Step 4: Finance your business

Explore the options of government backed loans, venture capital and research grants to help a business get going.

Step 5: Determine the legal structure of your business

Learn about the different forms of ownership and learn what is best for you: sole proprietorship, partnership, Limited Liability Company (LLC), corporation, S corporation, nonprofit or cooperative.

Click here for part 2.