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Thinking about starting a small business
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Starting a small business
People often ask me why bother with a business plan? Look at the
lottery as an example. You may get lucky and get the winning ticket,
but the odds are against you when you rely on random chance. I'm a risk
taker...but not that much, minimize the risk of going into business and
maximize your potential for success. Take the time to write a plan of
how you get from point A to point B. A plan gives you a clear future
focus and increases your chances of success.
The first rule of a start-up is put some of your own money in the
business. As the owner you must be willing to capitalize the business.
The second rule is put as little of your own money as possible in the
business. Prepare your plan and look for funding for your business from
multiple sources, which can include a business loan or business line of
Don't go it alone. Plan ahead now to build your team. Your team may
include a CPA and an attorney that you work with as needed. Add a
mentor from your industry and get a SCORE mentor to help you plan for
success. No one has all the answers. You get more ideas and information
by building a success, support team that can help you plan ahead.
Set up Systems.
The most basic system every business should have is a good financial
system. Ask yourself how am I going to generate enough income to
support myself and my family. Begin here. Put together a personal
budget, so you know what it costs you to live. Now, you can move on to
the business budget and sales planning, so you can see how many sales
you need to break even and make a profit. The start-up expense plan,
operating budget and your accounting software are vital to your
The daunting question is how do you go about seeking out your first
sale. Recognize that since you don't have a big ad budget to be seen by
everyone, you need to target a niche and get connected in your market
community, be it local, regional or national. You need other people
selling for you-not employees-goodwill referrals. Get out and talk to
as many people as you can. Join organizations that would have clients
for your product or service. Become a visible part of your market, and
then ask for the sale. You begin the sales process with people that you
know. Yes, it's okay to start with friends and family as your first
customers, and then broaden from there.
The basic tenant of creating a company is that you own the company. You
are not just creating a job for yourself. It's less risk and less
investment to get a job. Building a business is creating a company that
is more than the job itself. Think about the future. How large do you
want the company to be in terms of sales, net profit and employees?
Your answer to each of these questions will influence how you grow.
There are varying costs and profits associated with growth. It's
important to make a deliberate choice early about how you want to grow
Good luck. Good fortune. Good timing. All play a part in business. As a
business owner, be very clear about your core focus for the business
and how it serves clients. Your core business is what pays the bills.
Then, as an entrepreneur you are about opportunity. When you see a
potential opportunity or stroke of luck measure it against your core
business focus. Good fortune is great, when it matches your vision for
the business. Always consider if a good opportunity is the right fit
for your business. If something looks great, but it's not in sync with
your long-term plan and budget, think carefully before committing your