Each year, more and more people make the transition from working for the “man” to working for themselves. They gather up the courage to start their own small businesses and win, lose or draw, they give it their best shot.
Some flourish and some fail, but they all take their shot at freedom. If you’ve been wanting to start your own small business but not sure how, here are seven tips to help get you started on the path to living the life you’ve always wanted.
1. Deciding on the Type of Business
Well, the first step in starting your business is deciding the type of business you want. Do you want to make money-selling goods online? Do you want to earn commissions working as an affiliate for a wide number of merchants?
Deciding what you want to do is, and always will be, step one.
Check the local newspaper for business ideas. Make sure you are passionate about what you are going to be doing. In the words of the Groovie Ghoulies, “Be passionate, love what you do. Be passionate, or don’t do nothing at all!”
2. Create a Business Plan
Appropriate planning can save time and help you avoid costly mistakes. Writing a solid business plan can help your refine your goals, establish an achievable plan of action and eliminate unnecessary spending.
A well-written business plan will include a detailed assessment of the current market and an analysis of your competition. This document should also outline your marketing strategy, management details and financial plan.
Do your own research to see how others in your chosen field are making money. Buy magazines, visit websites and blogs and discover how others did it before you. You can even ask others in your field for advice or inspiration. Analyze the success of your competition and see what you can do differently to enhance your potential.
3. Register Your Business Name
Register your business name. Once you decide what type of business entity you’re going to be, whether a sole proprietorship, a partnership or LLC, follow your state’s guidelines for registering the business and/or its name.
Once your name is registered, purchase the domain name for it. You can also open up a checking account dedicated exclusively to the business.
4. Keep your day job
Start your small business while you still are working your full-time job. Sure, it will be a lot of extra work, but you want to be sure that this endeavor is going to work, don’t you? Once your small business finds a footing, then you can make the decision to take it full time.
Until that happens, it’s nice to get a regular paycheck!
5. Start Finding Clients Immediately
Waiting to find clients until after you have each tiny element of your business in place is a big mistake. Instead, start taking on clients as soon as possible. Create business cards that showcase your contact information and services, seek out new clients online or utilize existing networks to acquire new clients.
By taking this step, you will already have a list of loyal customers once your business officially launches.
6. Keep Your Credit in Check
Next, you’ll want to check your credit to make sure it’s in good shape. While your company is young, your personal credit will be the deciding factor when trying to get credit for the company.
If your credit is not that great, work on making it better. Until then, you must use more of your personal cash for financing your endeavors. That’s another reason to keep the day job early on.
7. Locate Investors (only if you ABSOLUTELY need to
Whether your business has low or high start-up costs, it is essential to figure out financial issues and find investors immediately. Estimate costs and establish a budget. Keep track of all financial records very carefully and start seeking out potential investors, whether you are approaching private individuals or securing a loan from a local bank.
Learn the Financial Risks of Starting a Business
Take the time to learn all of the benefits and risks your company can pose to your financial well being. Seek professional guidance in the areas of law and taxes to protect your personal assets as well as possible. Determine how you are going to manage such things like health and life insurance.
8. Find a Mentor
Building a small business from the ground up can be daunting, but there is no reason to go it alone. Having support in your new venture is successful, which is why finding a mentor is such an important step. Guidance from an experienced expert is invaluable, so start making contact with people in your industry today.
Attend meetings sponsored by your local chamber of commerce or utilize the Internet to make contacts with authoritative people in your field.
9. Focus on Professionalism
Projecting a level of professionalism is essential at every step of business development. Start working on your small businesses brand and image immediately. Get off to a good start by getting business cards, setting up an office, getting a separate business line and treating all potential customers in a professional manner.
Let everyone know that you are serious about your business and the services you have to offer.
10. Keep Detailed Tax Records
Owning a small business has special tax implications, which is why it is essential to keep detailed tax records. Start researching tax information specialized for small business owners. Keep detailed records of all expenses as well as any business earnings.
Carefully tracking this information will help you better prepare for the tax season.
11. Market Your Small Business Effectively
Your marketing strategy can make or break your business, so plan your promotional strategy carefully. Analyze the competition to see what other businesses are doing, then create a marketing plan that incorporates a number of different techniques and tactics.
Make use of offline marketing as well as online marketing to build the most robust plan possible.
12. Start Your Own Small Business and Engage Potential Customers
Getting the attention of potential customers is perhaps the most important step for small businesses, but it can also be the most difficult. The key is to understand your audience and strive to meet their needs.
Create marketing materials designed to grab the interest of potential clients. Carefully follow up on every lead. By forming a true connection with each customer, you can build a loyal audience for years to come.
13. Never Give Up on Your Small Business
This is quite possibly the most important tip. There may be times when you have to adjust your way of doing things or change your entire business model, but don’t give up on the dream of running your own small business.
Successful small businesses don’t happen overnight. They take time to make an impression in the marketplace. Have the patience, the drive and the desire and eventually, your small business will begin to provide the results of which you’ve always dreamed.