In my blog piece last week, I talked about the potential need to turn to family and/or friends for funding for those looking to start their own small business.
Yes, such a move can be tricky on several fronts, most notably potentially upsetting relationships that have formed over decades. But before you possibly go to a loved one or friend with your hand out, consider the pros and cons of starting your own venture in the first place.
According to the Small Business Administration (SBA) as of 2011, there were some 27 million small businesses nationwide, with anywhere from 60 to 80 percent of all new employment created in the U.S. attributable to small business.
So, are you looking to become one of the millions of small businesses nationwide? In the event you are, keep these four factors in mind:
1. Have a mission statement – It is of utmost importance that you clearly define why you are going into business for yourself in the first place. Sit down and put in writing the reasoning behind your business, what your business will do, and what your long-term goals are for the company. Not only does this help you stay on track, but it also gives potential customers an idea of what they can expect from you as far as products and services. If your mission is simply to make a whole lot of money, trust me, youâre already off to a bad start;
2. Learn New Skills
When you take over as your own boss, there are many hats to wear. In many cases, it is too soon for you to hire much help if any at all. That being the case, you need to make sure that you can handle a diverse number of tasks like sales, accounting, marketing, and project management. In todayâs world, all of the above-mentioned skills are important to your business having a fighting chance, especially marketing. Long gone are the days where you just hung a shingle out and waited for people to come into your office. In 2012 and going forward, marketing involves things like social media, SEO, email blasts and more. One of the first things I always recommend to someone thinking about going out on their own is that they be social networking savvy. You do not have to live on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ etc., but you do need to know how to work them, how to market yourself, and how to outshine the competition;
3. Be willing to work long hours – Whether you are running a restaurant, floral shop or your own marketing company, be ready to roll up your sleeves and put in some time. When you are working for someone else, it is normally their job to make the assignments, balance the books and put out the fires, i.e. customer service complaints. When you are the top man or woman, however, you get to make all those wonderful calls. As someone that has been laid off for several weeks now, I have actually found that doing freelance work for this individual and that company, etc. is tougher than I thought it would be on a regular basis. While my freelance work use to consist of evenings and/or Sundays, it now keeps me hopping from early in the morning until the time I go to bed. I find myself spending lots of time doing research and writing most days, along with looking for another full-time position. Given I have some friends that run their own companies, I can tell you first-hand from my chats with them that they are always thinking about the next project, how they can grow, and what it will take to increase their return on investment (ROI). If you are not willing to put the time in, running your own business is not a good call;
4. Appreciate your opportunities – I canât help but always remind myself on a daily basis of how grateful I am to have been born and raised in the U.S. While there are opportunities to be a successful businessperson in other parts of the world, there are also many regions where the dream of running oneâs own business is just that. Even in the event you open a business, give it all you have for a year or years and it fails, appreciate the fact that you had this opportunity in the first place.
I found an interesting Tweet recently (not mine) that said âSuccessâ depends on the second letter of the word. That comment really resonated with me as I explore my options today.
Running a small business is not for everyone; those that choose such a venture should always refer to that Tweet I mentioned a moment ago.
To me, that says it all.
Dave Thomas has more than 20 yearsâ experience as a writer, covering marketing, SEO, press releases, social media and more. Contact Dave at: http://beemoresocial.wordpress.com/