7 Tips for Starting Your Own Business
Owning a business is a dream for people who want to be free from the corporate world and create their own destiny. However, starting a business is a big financial risk and many businesses don't succeed beyond the first three years. Here are some tips to start a business that will be successful well into the future.
Offer the World Something
People who fail in business are often those who start out thinking only of themselves and their desire to be independent. Instead, start by thinking about other people and what they need. If your business idea doesn't solve a problem or fill a gap in the marketplace, keep looking for a better idea. A great business idea will be a win-win for you and for your customers.
Don't Pay Yourself Yet
Ideally, you shouldn't plan on taking a salary for the first year. Entrepreneurs handle this in different ways, depending on their situation. Young people sometimes live with their parents while starting a new business. Those with online business ideas sometimes live in countries with a lower cost of living until things are off the ground. Married partners might take turns supporting each other's dreams. If you're on your own, you can either set up a side business,like making extra money with Amway, to cover your bills or save up enough to cover your first year's expenses before you begin.
Use Conservative Projections
New businesses are commonly advised to double their projected expenses and halve their projected income. That's usually good advice since entrepreneurs tend to be optimistic types by nature. Your predictable expenses will almost never be less than you anticipate, and unexpected expenditures are the norm rather than the exception. Sales are always more difficult to make than you might anticipate.
If you're working with a franchise, they will typically train you well to run the business. If you're on your own, you'll need to learn everything you can about marketing, bookkeeping, taxes, financial planning, leadership, managing employees, and your industry. Set aside time each week to read magazines about entrepreneurship and the field you are in. Contact your local Small Business Development Center, or SBA, office and find out what courses they offer in your area. You can also find a lot of resources online at the SBA website.
Do Your Market Research
Who are your potential customers? How old are they? Where do they live? Why would they want to buy your product or service? How much are they comfortable spending? How often will they buy? How much do your competitors charge? It's vital that you do enough market research to understand your customers and have a sense of the size of your potential market. You'll use this information to build your business and marketing plans and to project your sales. The more you know, the more likely you will be successful.
Building a sense of community around yourself and your business can boost your sales tremendously. Coffee shops and bookstores are able to build a strong sense of community by hosting clubs and groups; other businesses can do something similar by hosting discussion groups for their customers online, either on their own websites or on social media. Customers love to be rewarded with a points plan, annual birthday gifts, or seasonal discounts. If you choose to send out a regular newsletter, make sure it's focused on your customers rather than your business.
Seek Professional Advice
Consulting with CPAs and attorneys may seem like an expensive investment, but their expert advice will pay great dividends in the long run. You need an accountant to help you set prices that will generate profits and to learn how to use your accounting system to make solid business decisions. An attorney will help you set up the proper ownership structure for your business and create contracts that protect you from liability.
Building your business will take a lot of hard work, research, courage, and humility. If you're successful, all that work will pay great financial rewards and give you the freedom to live your life according to your dreams.
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