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What You Need to Know About Starting a New Business

Apr 1, 2008
Starting a business is no small thing. Let's just say this right now! there is nothing small about a small business. The amount of work required to make your business profitable is not small. The amount of risk you are taking (including both financial risk and emotional risk) is not small. The number of hours you have to put in, even if you are starting out part-time, is not small.

And no matter how much money you are investing in getting your business off the ground, it's not a small investment. Your financial investment may not be large by Donald Trump's standards, but in proportion to your available resources, I'm certain it's not small. So, what do you need to consider as you start a new business? Before we go any further, let me emphasize two things.

First, take it one step at a time. If you try to focus on everything you need to do, you'll be overwhelmed, and you probably won't get it done.
Second, be aware that there are some things you really can't skimp on (like getting a business license, opening a checking account, etc.), but there are other things you will be continuously improving over time. There will be a point at which you need just jump in and go for it.

Important Things to Consider When Starting a New Business:

Choose the right business for you. There are so many choices, it's almost mind boggling! You can sell goods or services. You can take advantage of an established franchise or multilevel marketing opportunity or you can start a business that is completely one-of-a-kind. You can start part-time while you keep your job or you can jump in with both feet. There are many things to consider, but the most important thing to remember is that you should choose a business that excites you. The phrase "Follow your passion" may be trite, but it really applies in this situation. You will be spending so much time and effort working on your business that you had better love what you're doing.

Develop a business plan. You know the old saying, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." Well, it's true in this case. Developing a business plan forces you to think through the logistics of starting your business. It then becomes your road map for the weeks and months ahead. There are many resources that can help you, but one of the most common is the U.S. Small Business Association's Small Business Planner.

Don't forget about the IRS. While this should be included in your business plan development, many new small business owners have fallen prey IRS penalties (some are very severe!) due to poor planning and poor recordkeeping. The IRS even has a checklist for starting a business that can help you avoid trouble.

Start marketing your goods and services from the beginning - and don't ever stop. Now, there are many ways to market your goods and services, and there are literally thousands of excellent resources. Just be sure you use them. There are two marketing myths that often trap new business owners. The first is, "This product (or service) sells itself." No, it doesn't. You need to learn how to market it and how to sell it. Trust me on this. The second myth is, "I can't afford any marketing or advertising right now - business is too slow." Lacking sales is precisely the reason why you must market your goods or services.

Get into action and stay in action. There is no substitute for consistent action. Many new business owners stay busy with small organizational tasks, but they spend surprisingly little time on the purposeful actions that lead to income generation. Ben Franklin said, "Never confuse motion with action." Each day, plan the top five actions you'll be taking to generate income. Then, do those things. Don't let any trivial or inconsequential tasks get in your way.

Use electronic tools to help your business grow and succeed. While relationships are, and always have been, the foundation of good business, there are more tools now than ever to help you succeed with your customers, with recordkeeping, and with sales. Don't be left behind by others who aren't afraid of innovation.

Get help! Don't try to go it alone. Surround yourself with a winning team. Maybe you'll find your team in a local networking group or service club. Maybe your winning team includes your family and friends. Here's the test - if they are positive and supportive, keep 'em around. If they are negative and distract you from your goals, avoid them. It's that simple. Success is business is hard enough without voluntarily subjecting yourself to people who sabotage your efforts.

Keep learning. Technology changes daily. Twenty years ago, the fax machine was barely even heard of. Five years ago, even the most advanced techies would have been amazed over the speed and price of this now basic laptop I am using to write this. Processes used in manufacturing are changing every day. Technology and print-on-demand (POD) have revolutionized the world of publishing. No matter what your industry is like today, it will be different tomorrow. Don't be left behind. Also, there is more to learn than you will ever be able to assimilate about marketing, sales, and customer service. Keep reading. Keep learning. And you'll be successful.

Be prepared for the hard times and do not quit. Most small business people start out part-time and quit when the going gets tough. They were not prepared for the difficult times, the discouragement, and yes, the loneliness of self employment. They believed the get rich quick stories and when they didn't come true for them they became disappointed and skeptical. You can avoid this by being prepared for the full range of experiences that affect new business owners. And never, ever quit. Remove the word from your vocabulary. You can change directions. You may have to try some new marketing strategies, but tell yourself right now that quitting is not an option.
About the Author
Veronica Robbins is a successful entrepreneur who has started and operated several successful businesses. She now shares her success by helping others start their own businesses. Read her many tips for new business owners at http://www.your-small-business-guide.com
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