Many people will begin this new year by starting their own business. Ready or not, they will take the plunge assuming that they are prepared to make the leap into this exclusive club–some without being cognizant of the numerous hazards and drawbacks of entrepreneurship. Whether you buy an existing business or start yours from scratch, you will soon discover that small business ownership is inexhaustible. If you are in it for the wrong reasons; you will soon be wishing for your nine-to-five job, where someone else worries about the intricacies of running a business.
When I started my business twelve years ago, there were so many detours and different roads I could take. It was difficult to know which path would lead me to success. Just about everyone had an opinion, not to mention there was the lure of thousands of books, seminars, and workshops to help guide my journey. No one tells you the difficulties of managing the day-to-day operation, marketing and sales of your new venture. In other words, owning a business can be rewarding — personally and financially, but only if you have what it takes to succeed.
I know you are told this often, but it bears repeating: as a business owner there is constant responsibility and hard work, rarely does your day end at 5:00 p.m. Everyone depends on your succeeding; your family, business partners and associates, clients and, of course, your employees. So it is important to be able to juggle all that reasonability while growing the company. Without growth, your business will die and in business there is no middle ground!
Okay, you are determined, motivated and not afraid of hard work. But are you still ready to start your own business? Whether you offer a service or product to your customers; there is still some basic steps needed in starting a business. So often we have heard the stories of the single mother starting a company with 1,000 dollars and ending up as a newly minted millionaire! Could this be you? Maybe, but most likely your start to success will require a bit more effort.
You should NOT start a business without completing these necessary steps:
- Develop a business plan. Never start a business without it! It is your roadmap, and everyone you are going to do business will ask to see this document. Writing a business plan sounds complicated. However, there are many free templates and online services which will assist you in writing an excellent plan.
- Take an honest inventory of your resources. Make a list of everything you will need to get started. For many businesses, this will include financial capital. Do you have your funding or will you need investors? These are some of the questions you will need to answer. Additionally, you will need to license and/or incorporate your business (obtaining an EIN number from the IRS, etc.). Online business assistance can be purchased via LegalZoom.com.
- Be bold; launch a killer PR/Marketing Campaign. Before you start your business, begin planning the ideas for PR, marketing, and sales. Brand you new company; be sure your website, Facebook, and social media platforms have a unified feel and are regularly updated. All other communications with your clients should promote your brand that is consistent and interconnected to your brand. Use of your company’s brand colors and logo on all business cards, letterhead and email signatures to demonstrate to customers a professional operation.
- Hire a superstar team! Hire great employees and train them to appreciate your customers wants and needs!
- Don’t go it alone! Tap into the resources of your local Chamber of Commerce, SBA, or Business School at your College or University.
Lastly, we have all heard the statement; “do what you love.” The most successful business owners are not motivated solely by money; they have a passion for their business and it shows. A wise person once told me, “If you truly enjoy what you do, and the money will follow!” I am sure Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Larry Page and several other wealthy entrepreneurs would agree.