Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Starting a New Business

Tips, Tools, Recommendations, and Things to Consider.

So, you think you want to start a business.  Be your own boss. You have a great idea for a product or service.  Being your own boss can be fulling and satisfying, but before jumping in, here are some tips, tools,* and recommendations* to consider. 
(* I have referenced people, businesses, tools, books, etc. in this article which I recommend.  Also, see the reference list at the end of the article and yes some are affiliate links).
-        Do your due diligence.  Whether you think you have a new idea for a product or service or a new twist on a current product or service – Research.  Ask questions.  Talk to the business owners who are currently doing what you want to do.  Find out the pros and cons.  Especially the cons.  Perhaps talk to a business consultant or a business coach.

-       Target Market.  Who’s going to buy your product or service?  Not who needs it, but who has the money to buy.  There may be people who need your product/service, but not have the means to buy it.  Get very detailed and specific with the demographic you wish to target.  This will help you with your marketing plan. 
-        Create a business plan.  Think about it.  Would you build a house without a plan?  A business plan is creating your vision.  All the steps to get your business up and running to the day to day operations.  If you’re a ‘big picture’ kind of person, then have someone who thinks about the details to help you. 
-        All the Legal Stuff.  How should you set up your business?  What permits are needed?  Trademarks?  Copyrights?  Licenses?  Best to consult a business attorney or a CPA.
-        Company Structure.  Think of your business as you as the bus driver.  Where are you going, and do you need help and if so when and how much?  Will you need full-time employees or part time contractors?  Seasonal help?  OutsourcingVirtual help?  When considering who will help, consider what you do best and delegate the rest to the best possible source.  You can’t know it all or do it all.
-        Financing.  Whether you’re buying a franchise or starting from scratch, ‘it takes money to make money.’  How much is it going to take to get up and running?  How long is the expectation before the business shows enough profit to be self-sustaining?  Equipment cost?  Marketing?  Salary for yourself and wages for help?  Office space?  Merchant Services?   And the list goes on.  Even if you start out as a one-person solopreneur, all these costs need to be a consideration.  Talk to a financial advisor well versed in business startups.  Also, consider a business loan rather than use your life savings.  
-        Keeping it all Straight.  Bookkeeping is a must so that you maximize all your finances and take advantage of all tax benefits.  Intuit Quickbooks is great to ensure all the I’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed. 
-        Marketing.  Getting ready to make your debut and putting your best foot forward.  It’s important to ensure all your marketing elements are in place, i.e. your website, social media, business cards, brochures, signage etc. Whether you are a brick and mortar business, or your office is in your home or your vehicle, you want to ensure your professional image is represented well across all platforms.
-        Networking.  Getting the word out and meeting the right people who want you to succeed as much as you do is very important.  In today’s market, it’s not enough just to build a website and hang out a sign, especially if you’re not the only ‘mousetrap’ in town.  And we would all prefer a warm referral rather than a cold lead.  One of the oldest and best networking organizations is Business Network International.   I also highly recommend ‘The Networking Guru’ by James Barber.  It is a good short read and explains the basics of networking to build relationships in order to build a business.  In fact, James has written a 2nd book, ‘The Networking Guru – The Next Level’ that also goes over some of the other aspects mentioned above, i.e. business plan, business coach, networking, etc.   I recommend reading his second book first.  It’s more about setting up the infrastructure for a business to succeed.
Yes, there are a lot of things to consider starting a business.  It can be very scary as well as exciting and rewarding.  Seek out those who are doing what you want to do and who are successful.  Pick their brain.  And be sure and ask the question, ‘What do you wish someone had told you before you started your business?’  Learn from those who have gone before you.
To Your Success,
‘Helping You and Your Business Look Good’

Resources Referenced in this article:
Business Coach – Russ Young with Action Coach
Virtual Assistant for Relationship Marketing, Social Media, Email Marketing, Admin Services, Basic WordPress Website – Annette Mason – Painted Lady Enterprises
Bookkeeping/Invoicing – Intuit Quickbooks
Merchant Services – Randy Amerson – Netcom PaySystem
Website Domains and Hosting –
Networking – Business Network International – or for Georgia –

Need other recommendations?  Please let me know.  I would be glad to provide a reliable source for you.


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