Starting your own business
is more than having an idea, a computer, and an internet connection.
Starting your own business requires planning, strategizing, sacrificing, and discipline—it is a rollercoaster ride. If you are leaving another career behind, you are leaving the safety net of regular paychecks, health care, paid vacations, a lot of “taken for granted” benefits.
Running a business is like riding on a roller coaster. Although it is fun and exciting, there will be times when you’ll be scared and feel powerless. During the bad times there isn’t much you can do, other than to keep on pushing forward. www.quicksprout.com
When I left my 30+ year corporate career, to launch my business, I believed I had prepared myself for what was ahead. I had followed all the business advice: researching my business idea, the market, studying social media strategies and platforms, and writing a business plan. Looking back to one year ago and reflecting on where my business is today, it is the things I didn’t know I didn’t know that has made this ride an adventure!
If you are thinking of starting a business or your business is faltering consider some of these ideas to help you get started.
1. Seek advice. Team up with an organization like SCORE who provides mentoring, workshops, tools and templates. Find great business mentors through networking in your local community or through related businesses on social platforms like Facebook or Twitter. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and get advice from those with knowledge and experience.
2. Do your research. I can’t say enough about doing research. Is your business idea viable? Who is the competition?What about location? Check out the market and the costs of doing business. The more you understand about your niche market the higher the chances of success.
3. Create a Business Plan. What are your goals and path to success. Business Planning is essential but often overlooked. The SBA and SCORE provide downloadable business planning templates for a broad range of industries. Track your business plan. Periodically reassess your plan, rework if necessary. Do not skip this critical planning step; it will help you measure where you are and where you are going.
4. Financial Tracking. How are you going to manage your finances? Using the shoe box method is not an option. An application like Excel may work, but more complicated accounting may require a tool like Quickbooks or a certified accountant (CPA). There are many affordable options to tracking income and expenses. Not understanding your books, begs the question, how do you know you are profitable?
5. Create an online presence – How are you going to share your business product or service? What platforms will help you get the word out? Having a one platform media presence like Facebook may work for friends and family, but platforms like Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn provide a broader presence and the added benefit of continuous and breaking media information.
6. Legal Options. Are you going to incorporate? Legal advice will protect you and your business from liability issues. While online services like Legalzoom may be less costly, going to an attorney and having a face-to-face meeting creates a relationship that might protect you down the road. It is important to make sure your legal bases are covered and that your personal assets are separated from your business assets.
The important thing is not being afraid to take a chance. Remember, the greatest failure is to not try. Once you find something you love to do, be the best at doing it. – Debbi Fields
Starting your own business is scarey, it takes time and planning. Success will not come overnight. There will be up days and down days. But if you’re the right person and have taken the right steps with a solid plan and strategy, starting your own business can be the most satisfying, exhilarating experience of your life.
What steps did you take to prepare for launch? I would love to hear from you!