What you should consider before taking the entrepreneur plunge.
Small businesses have long kept the world spinning round. Think you want to help the economic galaxy moving at a rapid speed by starting your own business? Fantastic! Your idea will hopefully change the world—or at least your little corner of the world—for the better. But before you get started, there are a few things to consider.
Does It Meet a Need?
No matter how great your business may be, it’s sure to fail if it’s not meeting a need of the community it will serve. An ice cream stand may do fantastic in the Bahamas, but if you live in Alaska, you may want to switch your business plan to include hot drinks of some sort.
Is It Unique?
Starting a marketing company is a great idea. Setting up a marketing company that will provide the same services and operate the same way as 12 other local marketing companies is a bad idea. To have a unique company, you’ll need to know your competition. You don’t want to be wacky just for the sake of being different, but you want to make sure your product stands out from the competition so you can confidently tell potential client why they should turn to you to meet their marketing needs.
Can You Do It?
Many small businesses die within the first year because of inadequate planning. Instead of allowing your business to become a statistic, have a solid business plan in writing before getting started. Know how much time you will have to put into the business, and know what you’re going to do if you suddenly need additional help with the business. Hiring extra help can be very expensive, so keep a nice reserve of cash stored away for a rainy day.
What about the Law?
Each country, state, and city has different laws that pertain to what type of businesses is permitted and how they must operate. Understand what is required of your future business and keep everything about your business in line with what the law demands. Otherwise, you may set yourself up for a faster than expected closing of your business.
Where Will You Be?
Depending on what type of business you’re starting, you may need an office space, warehouse, restaurant, or an extra room in your home. Regardless of what type of business you’re going to be in, know well in advance where you’re going to set up shop and spend as much time as necessary to get your location in tip-top shape. If you’re providing services to the public, choose an appropriate location that will encourage as much walk-in traffic as possible. If your business serves other businesses, you don’t need to be located on a popular strip, though you don’t want to be too far off the beaten path. And if you’re starting a home-based business, set up your workspace in a way that will encourage you to work on your business and not your home.
How Will People Find You?
Today, there are tons of great ways for potential customers to have access to your business. Before launching your business, make sure you are everywhere you need to be. This may include local phone books, in the local newspaper, and on the Internet. Wait to do this and you may lose customers who simply couldn’t find you when they first tried.
Are You Sure You’ll Get Paid?
Before welcoming your first client, you need to have a guaranteed way to get the money you deserve. Put contracts in place if and when necessary, speak openly with potential investors, and do not allow family members or friends to get everything for free. It may seem like a nice thing to do, but it can hurt your bottom line upfront and well into the future.