Starting a Business and Being Your Own Boss

The Idea

Every company in the world started with an idea. The idea that something I have, make or do someone else will want to buy. Sounds simple enough. In reality there are thousands of business ideas that emerge every day but these ideas never make it to the consumer's market. Be it financial constraints, market unawareness, fear of taking the risk or just lack of encouragement these ideas seem to just fade into the abyss of lost dreams.

On the other hand, "What-If?"

What if you take hold of your idea and are stead fast in pursuing it? What if by blind faith you just take the leap? What if you want to make that dream of owning your own business a reality?

Many successful business owners had to ask themselves the same "What If?" questions. Then they got out there and did it. No Risk...No Reward! Contrary to some beliefs there are very few overnight successes because owning your own business is hard work. However, the trade off is in the satisfaction of being your own boss.

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Plan of Attack

Now that you have your idea and have deceided it is possible then it is time to devise a Plan of Attack. Below are some tools you will need:

  1. Pen and paper or computer with Word to write or type your vision.
  2. Quiet time to prepare and organize your thoughts.
  3. Any reference materials you have already gathered that line up with your business idea.

Once you have these basic tools at hand you are ready to begin the first step creating The Business Plan. A business plan is your organizational roadmap and will change as your business changes. One of the best sites that outlines what you are to include in your business plan can be found on the U.S. Small Business Administration's website. Easy to use templates outline the areas and elements that go into your business plan. Given that these templates are provided any information not pertaining to your business can be omited. Put some thought into formulating your business plan and be aware that it will take some time to bring it all together.


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Avoiding Common Mistakes

Here is where I see most small business just starting out get into trouble. Foremost, financial preparation and tax. It is a jungle of accounting and financial rules out there and navigating through it all can take a mountain of time and effort. Time that you would rather use engaging in, promoting, creating and investing in your business. Unless you are an accountant I would suggest finding one and a reputable bookkeeper to help you. Bookkeepers usually charge less for their services where as accountants (CPAs) are higher priced and are best utilized for tax preparation. If you have staffed employees look to payroll companies such as ADP or Paychex to handle your payroll. They charge a small fee for processing however it is much more cost effective than trying to do it yourself. If you hire contractors make sure you have the relevant information to process their 1099s at year end. The IRSwebsite is a good resource to download the proper forms. As well as, your state Department of Revenue site. Finally, bookkeeping software is a necessity. Quickbooks is the leader among small business software. However, there is other software on the market including Sage Peachtree Accounting and Microsoft Small Business accounting so you do have options. A little advice regarding any accounting software, if you are not an accountant get help to setup your company's software. It's been my experience to have to clean up many a company's books because of improper software setup. It cost more to have someone correct the setup and data later on than if you make the investment up front to do it right the first time.

The second area to explore is your market. Without spending a small fortune on marketing data you can use sites such as the U.S. Census Bureau, Better Business Bureau, Tourism and Trade commission for your local area and the Internet. Depending on the type of business it may be possible for you to visit your competition and get a first hand view of their public offerings. if you are leaning more toward an e-commerce proprietary there is tons of information you can reference through various search engines.

Still another area to address is company growth. More often than not start-up companies that try to grow to fast end up in extremely stretched situations. A lot end up with debt issues. Unless you have a supply of funds with no ties or interest involved be-careful of any type of borrowing be it loans, venture capital even bartering. In finance we say a little business debt is healthy but a lot can shut you down. Learn your debt to equity ratio. This is the percentage of your gross income going out to pay debts. Healthy business practices involves saving a percentage of your business income for expansion or taking steps to raise capital through various stock options.

Its a Learning Process...

 Even though these are just a few areas among the many related to starting a business it is important to know that it is a learning processes. As you meet with accountants, bookkeepers, lawyers, marketing specialist or any other subject matter expert you find that running a business becomes a life force of its own.  You will see that as your business grows you will grow with it. It is hard work but still a very rewarding endeavor. In addition to you already know your boss which is you.

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Comments 2 comments

A.A. Zavala profile image

A.A. Zavala 5 years ago from Texas

Thank you for the free business lesson.


BusinessTime profile image

BusinessTime 5 years ago from Twin Cities

Great hub, very informative. Thanks!

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