Tips to Starting and Having Your Own Business
Starting a business can be a fun, challenging, and rewarding adventure. It can also be a devastating, money hungry, cruel mistress that likes to rape you in your sleep if you don't play the game right. Here are some tips that all the major company's (like the Forbes Top 100 company's, all the ones on the stock exchange systems...any company that wants to thrive and be a fortune 500) all share and all have in common. Let these things mold and form your business, and watch your business grow. These tips, while elementary, are the basics that most successful businesses use. So why shouldn't yours?
Don't Quit Your Day Job
One of the biggest drawbacks to starting a business is money. Everyone needs money to live and survive, and the only legal way to get it seems to be working. Unfortunately. So start your business while still employed so that you can be assured that you will have money to invest into your company. It also means you have something to keep money in your pocket if your business is just barely breaking even. Having enough money, even when banks wont lend to you, can mean the difference in you keeping your business running during the down months and folding.
Do That Which Thou Loves
Everyone knows that starting your own business can be a hassle as well as a major challenge. On average, only 7% of people own their own business. The rest are workers. So starting up your own business isn't as hard or as complicated as some might think. The greatest businesses are sometime some of the more simple ones. Others are based off of the first tip, and based off of something the person loves, such as cooking, that makes them excel. So if you have something that you love, start there.
Don't Be Gollum
One of the reasons business's fail unfortunately is because people wanted the business to be theirs. all theirs. Kind of like Gollum from Lord of the Rings. Their business is their "Precious". This can cause the business owner to make mistakes that can cause the owner the business. Having a mentor, or at least a family member or friend that can help so valuable. If you're going to make it as a business owner, you're going to need someone to help you.
Market 5 Minutes Ago
If you are going to start your business, don't wait in trying to get clientele. Your business is going to rely on customers, so starting as early as you can informing them about who you are, what you specialize in, and why they should be buying it, is key to having a great opening, as well as cementing lasting repeat customers. Network, make contacts, sell samples or give them away. Get your name out there, because if you don't, who will? You can't start marketing too early. Having positive SEO and a online presence is one of the best ways to make sure that your business succeeds in todays economy. Having a thriving website can actually save a storefront from going out of business. Having a online presance can also help bring people into your actual store location as well as helping to get the word out about your product and why its better than everyone elses.
Build a Strong, Dependable, Business Plan
Another helpful thing that all top companies have is a good business plan. While top companies also have lawyers look over all there documents and make sure that they are legally sound, business plans need to be more than just a couple ideas thrown together. State what your goal is. State the ways you plan to achieve those goals. Write your business plan the first couple of drafts (and yes, it will probably not be perfect the first time you write it) so that you can change it. Keep it safe, cherish it. Your business is your baby, and your business plan is your guidebook to help nourish it and help it grow. The best business plans lay out plans and goals for not only the next few months and year, but for 5 years, 10, 20, and even more in some cases. Make your goals, and post them. Live them, breath them. Say them every day. And not only all that, acheive them. And reward yourself when you do. For example, if your plan is to make $1,000 pure profit a month, reward yourself with something small. The bigger the goal, the bigger the reward should be, but not to the point that you break your company.
Research. Know it. Love It.
Research. Research. Do more Research. Done? Do it some more. It's that important. You're going to do plenty writing your business plan, but now do it on your business. do it on your products. do it on where they come from, who makes them, what they can be used for. Everything. You will know more than your competitors, and will be able to provide a level of service that the customer will expect. It will also let you know what tools and tips that part of the genre you are venturing into is like, what marketing works, what doesn't. you will find that you are more of a expert in that field the more research you do. Learn from others mistakes. Research is one of the most valuable things any business owner can do. Search for everything that you might need or might want down the road and make wish lists to shoot for. Know where business's like yours are doing, see where they are at and make goals to reach those levels in set time limits. See where you want to be, and research how to get there. You cant go wrong the more you know.
Get Some Professional Help
No, your not crazy. Although it might look or feel like that. Being a expert in your field doesn't mean you have to be a expert in everything. I'm particularly bad with math. I transpose numbers and letters all the time (spell check makes me look like I know how to spell). Math is a very, very important part of running a business. I also am very unknowledgeable about tax forms. In fact, I'm pretty sure most people are other than the people that wrote those documents. Having professionals that can handle your bookkeeping or accounting will not only take a massive bourdon off your shoulders and reduce your stress, but you will also have the peace of mind knowing that you have someone that has your back that can help you. You will waste less time and will have less stress letting someone else handle these issues. Some accounting firms also handle payroll services as well.
If you're going to be a professional business, be professional from the get go. The first impression about your business is going to be there image for your business. If you're in a professional field, dress it, breath it, live it. If you're in a field that allows you to be as laid back and relaxed as you want to be, and you choose to be professional, be professional from the start. Being professional lets people know you mean business. Business cards, phones, email address, and even the way you treat people need to all reflect how you want your business perceived. If you want people to think your serious, be serious.
Save, Save, and Save Some More
Ok, you got your business started. Congrats, its making some money too. Now save, save, save, feel like spending a little? save some more. Once the money starts rolling in, fight the urge to go out and buy new office furniture, or a new coffee pot, or hire that Swedish secretary. To be able to actually afford these items, you need to save your profits. Saving money also means when it is time to start your business you will have the money to do so, and so you don't have to borrow from a bank, who might say no. Saving while your business is running also provides you room to fall back on, when some months might not be as good, or money to fall on if something major breaks, such as a vital piece of equipment (oven, work vehicle, ect.) that you wouldn't otherwise have money for. As a good rule of thumb, you should have enough money in your savings to cover your most expensive piece of equipment, and 3 months' rent. A lot of times, the most expensive equipment is work vehicles. If these are insured, which they should be, then use the next most expensive.
Location, Location, Location
Lastly, Location, location, location. Spending everything you have for a place in the busiest part of town might sound like a risk, and could possibly be, but might also be the most rewarding thing you can do for your business. Take into account the area, the reputation of the area, who mainly goes to that area, and what other business will be competing with yours in that area. if you are offering something no one else offers in the area, then you can be more flexible. but if you own, say a restaurant, in a large town, you're going to need to take into account the amount of that type of restaurants (or business's) that offer the same style of food in the area, and plan accordingly. Maybe the east and north sides of town have plenty Italian places, but the south and west side do not. Focusing on making your business the best Italian place in the west and south will make sure that you capitalize on the areas, and will bring traffic from the north and east. Being on front roads with the most traffic will always cost more to rent or buy, but if you can afford it, and you have your business established, maybe it is time to move to a more easily accessible and more easily seen. With Destin commercial real estate being widely available all over, it shouldn't be too hard to find a place that you can use to start your business. Just do your research and find out about the area and what it offers and what you can offer it, and go from there.
Taxes and Law
Finally, make sure to keep your receipts, and hire a lawyer. Everyone hates tax work, and you will need some sort of legal advice and possibly representation sometime down the road. Hiring a good lawyer and a good accountant that can handle your tax work now will save you in the long run. Yes they both cost money, but it's money well spent. They will know all the legal and tax issues that you will face while owning and running a business, and having both will help prevent you from going to jail because of mistakes on tax work, or from bad advertising that breaks you. Having people who have your best interest at heart is always a good thing. Lawyers and Accountants want you to succeed, because if you fail, they lose a client, and they lose a paycheck.
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