Congratulations! You’re ready to take the plunge, ditch the J-O-B, and pursue your dream of launching your own business. Chances are, you’ve spent a long time, perhaps even years, to reach this decision and set the wheels in motion. Before you propel down the path of entrepreneurship, consider these tips:
1. Save some money.
You’re going to need a chunk of change to invest in a variety of necessities. The costs you’ll face will vary based on the nature of your business but some typical costs most entrepreneurs face are advertising, insurance, rent, equipment, licenses, and legal fees. You should make a list of all the items (and prices) of what you think you’ll need. Undoubtedly other expenses will crop up. And if you are the main wage earner in your household, you’ll need cash set aside for living expenses for approximately 3-6 months. If you don’t have enough capital, you may want to consider applying for a business loan with a modest interest rate.
2. Decide on your niche and get to know your target market.
It can be tempting to grab any work that comes your way in the quest for new clients and the fact that the bills need to be paid. But most business owners claim as soon as they focused their niche, success followed. It’s important to find out who your current customers are, and why they buy your product or service. The best way to decide on who these people are is to make a list of the benefits that your product or service provides. Once you have this list you need to make a list of people who have problems that your benefit solves. Clients want to work with an “expert”Â and when you specialize, you position yourself as an expert. Chances are, your niche may change as your business evolves, but commit to at least one year. Remember to F.O.C.U.S.: Follow One Course Until Successful.
3. Create your marketing materials.
A website, logo, and business cards are the three essentials you need when launching your business. You don’t need to drop a bundle on a fancy website design when you’re first starting out. Forego the bells and whistles for a clean, error-free, navigable website. A company like Free Logo Services, can give you logo design ideas or help you create a look thatÃ¢ÂÂs professional and distinctive. Use this design to create a sharp business card can make you stand out when people are considering your business. Having a solid design on the card is crucial but you can’t forgo a great 2-line description on what your company does.
4. Get informed.
Knowledge is power: If you don’t have a degree or first-hand experience in your industry, don’t despair. Take online courses, download e-books, follow blogs, sign up for (and read) e-newsletters, join online groups, and educate yourself. There are many resources that small business have access too for free. The Small Business Administration offer many services for free to small business owners! Reaching out to your local office will get you access to free counseling and advice from professionals.
5. Design a roadmap for success.
Be crystal-clear on your goal for the first year. Develop 4-6 actionable objectives for your goal and then write out measurable tasks each month that will help you accomplish your objectives. Your work plan should address the following areas; Specific and concise goal, Measurement: how will your measure whether you achieve your goal, major problems anticipated, work steps: 3 or 4 essential steps and completion dates for them. Once you have written this out follow this roadmap! Revisit it monthly to assess your progress, make adjustments, and write new tasks for the upcoming month. Having an individual to help you be accountable to your goal and objectives is tremendously helpful. If you’re a solo-preneur, find a mentor/business coach/trusted friend to bounce ideas off of and provide mutual support.
You feel READY. Now you’re SET with these five tips. Before you GO, don’t forget about shifting your attitude. Becoming a business owner is vastly different from the life of an employee. You’ll gain autonomy over your schedule and freedom to make all the decisions…and there’s no one to blame but yourself when something goes wrong. Anticipate some setbacks, but believe you will succeed. Pour on the hard work with a mega-dose of patience, and.. Ready, set, go!
Dylan Mazeika is an online writer with a background in marketing and small business. He enjoys writing about the latest business and design trends, and assisting small business owners with logo design. Find him on twitter @dylan_mazeika
Thank you, Dylan!
–ME “Liz” Strauss
Work with Liz on your business!!