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The Recipe for Starting a Successful Small Business

Updated on August 29, 2013


The recipe for starting a successful small business calls for three basic ingredients: Capital, Labor, and Time. So, before beginning, check how much of each is available. Other items can be added to season the business to suit one’s own tastes, but these three are essential. More importantly, they can be blended in different proportions and still be successful. The more of one on hand, the less needed of the other two. The more Capital available, the less Labor is needed and the less Time is required to show a profit. Then again, without a lot of Capital, more Labor is required (either yours or family members) and much more time is needed before seeing a profit.


After gathering the three basic ingredients, measure and weigh their value. Determine the total Capital available. Add to this amount the total value of all available Labor including family members to arrive at the total being invested. The value of the Labor should be based upon what could be earned at other endeavors. Calculate the Time that can elapse before needing to draw a salary. Salary, remember, must come from the profit that remains after all of the start up and operating costs have been paid from the total income. To draw from the business too soon is to reduce the original capital investment and, thereby, to increase the Labor and/or Time needed to succeed.


The next step requires dashes of Judgment and Commitment with smaller pinches of Optimism and Desire. Determine the risks involved and target the level of financial return that justifies the total being invested. During the current economic crisis, no risk Certificates of Deposits return about 2.5%. A newly launched business should return much more than this even if the risk is considered to be very low and future profits a slam-dunk. Greater risks demand greater returns. If the math gets too complicated, add one or two levelheaded cups of advice from an Accountant or a Mentor who has experience in these matters. Both of these ingredients improve the chances of success so the sooner they are added the better.


Whip up a formal business plan that itemizes the extent of the basic ingredients going into the mix, that identifies the goals and the profit expected, and that also includes details about the strategies and the steps to be followed to achieve them. Itemize all of the conditions, actions, and results that define Success. Leave nothing to chance. Anticipate every step to be taken along the way.

Follow this recipe carefully, proceed with caution, and be confident that your diligent planning, preparation, and execution will be rewarded. After all, "the proof of the pudding is in the eating."



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    • Springboard profile image

      Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin

      I like your principles and advice here as I have been slowly graduating to the idea that perhaps going it alone is a better gig than working for someone else. But you put the right elements together for someone getting closer to this idea. If you want to work for yourself, make sure it's not because you don't like working. Because working for yourself will be far harder than working for someone else. Don't think you'll start a successful enterprise necessarily with no capital, and no risk. All rewards come with risk. Be willing and ready to take it on head first, and be prepared to fail, because most start ups don't make it. That's just reality. Know this, accept this, and be prepared for it. In that way too, I'm inclined to believe that in starting a business you should never throw all of your eggs into that basket. Leave something behind to fall back on if the business DOESN'T succeed. At least that way you can either try it again in another form, or worst case you can still afford to live and eat.

      In any event, great hub, and I'll be doing my best to get in here more often. I've been absent these here HubPages a bit lately due to outside influences, but such is life. This looks like a fun place to be from time to time, at your hubs.

    • stars439 profile image

      stars439 8 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

      very useful information. Thank You

    • profile image

      crafty1 8 years ago

      very informative. Thank You

    • RVDaniels profile image

      RVDaniels 8 years ago from Athens, GA

      Truly useful and well written. Thanks.

    • RVDaniels profile image

      RVDaniels 9 years ago from Athens, GA

      I like it. Looking forward to reading more from you, friend.

    • linjingjing profile image

      linjingjing 9 years ago


      Very creative

    • sophiewf profile image

      sophiewf 9 years ago from US

      Thanks for the reminders. I knew most of that but it is so easy to forget.