If you have always dreamed of the freedom of working for yourself, you probably have hesitated because of the risks involved. The drawbacks have likely outweighed the benefits. While starting a business is not for everyone, experienced entrepreneurs have some sound advice if you are seriously considering taking the plunge.
Where To Start
Before you make the life-changing decision to start your own business, you must take a good, hard look at yourself to make sure you have the right temperament for the job. You’ll likely have a great deal of stress, especially in the beginning. When you are solely responsible for the success of the business, every setback affects you in a very personal way. Most entrepreneurs also work long hours to get things started. They possess self-motivation, good organizational skills and a desire to succeed.
Starting your own company can also be one of the most rewarding and exciting decisions you’ll ever make. If you think you have what it takes to become an entrepreneur, the following strategies can help you get started.
- Identify a Profitable Business Idea
If you have an idea in mind, thoroughly research the subject. Check out the competition to see if the market is already saturated. Determine if your idea is commercially viable. Conduct market research through an online blog or other means of communication to see if there is substantial interest. Read trend predictions as well to see if your idea is just a passing fad or if it has long-term potential. There are several trend forecasting publications available to guide your decisions.
- Build a Network
In order for a business to succeed, it’s imperative to build a network of key contacts. Other entrepreneurs often give the most invaluable advice, especially as you get started. Brainstorming sessions with other like-minded business people can get the creative ideas flowing. You should be able to find local startup events in your community.
If you need funding for your idea, your network is a great way to find a co-founder or investor who will support and promote your business. Of course, you need to find someone with the same business ethics and work habits that you possess. A good working relationship is crucial to make the partnership work.
- Organize and Test Your Idea
It’s important to make sure your business location won’t interfere with the success of the product. Other critical things to consider include:
- If you plan to incorporate, you will need a tax ID number. The tax ID is similar to a social security number for a business. Open a business bank account and set up your accounting system as well. If you remain a sole proprietor, you and your business are treated as the same entity, so make sure to research the advantages and disadvantages of incorporating your business. There isn’t one right answer for every entrepreneur, so speak with your accountant to help you make the right decision.
- If your idea requires a patent, you must fill out the proper patent application paperwork before you sell your product.
- Finally, begin actively testing your product or business model. Engage customers and review all feedback objectively.
- Invest in Necessary Business Equipment
You obviously need a computer and printer to begin your business. You must also purchase the necessary software applications to keep accurate records of customers, sales and other transactions. A shredder is important to reduce the risk of exposing sensitive information. If you are sending product to customers, you might also consider investing in mailing equipment, including scales and postage software, to save you time and money at the post office.
A separate business phone number is critical to keep your personal life and your work life separate. Setting up a physical phone that only rings at your desk, however, can significantly decrease productivity. Look for a service that allows you to add a separate business number to your current mobile phone. Some options even give you the ability to share that number with several phones, allowing someone else to answer the phone or respond to text messages if you aren’t available.
There are so many things to consider when starting your own business that the process can seem overwhelming. Working for yourself, however, can give you a great deal of satisfaction and fulfillment.