Many people dream of going out on their own and starting a business. However, before you head down that road, there are some things to consider. While the thought of owning your own business is appealing, it can also be very risky if you do not plan everything carefully. The concept of planning may seem time-consuming and unnecessary when all you want to do is open up shop and start making money. But think about it: Do you really want to risk losing thousands of dollars due to the lack of proper planning?
To avoid this outcome, we have come up with an easy list for entrepreneurs who do not necessarily have a background in business or marketing. This way, even if you’re working outside your comfort zone (and outside your degree), you can still avoid making mistakes that cost you more money!
The following list consists of a variety of suggestions to help guide first-time entrepreneurs through the start-up process so they can avoid wasting their time and their hard-earned money.
1. Research Your Market
Under no circumstances should you open a business without first researching your target market. If you don’t know who will be buying from you, then you need to find out as soon as possible. You will not have any luck if there is no one to buy your product or service. Before spending thousands on materials and other supplies, find out what people want! It will save everyone quite a bit of trouble down the road.
2. Take Your Time
You may be tempted to rush through the start-up process and get your business up and running as soon as possible; however, we strongly urge you to take things slowly. Starting a business is like getting married: It’s all about making sure it’s right. Research your options, read books on entrepreneurship, talk with people who have successfully started their own businesses before – anything that will help you learn more about what you’re getting into! If anything seems unclear or confusing, do not hesitate to stop by a local library or bookstore for further reading.
3. Be Realistic
Again, planning is key when it comes to starting a successful business. You may have some grand plans on paper, but in reality, you probably can’t afford to buy everything at once. A better way of doing things is setting small goals and working your way up. If you’re planning on opening a restaurant, for instance, don’t go out and purchase a commercial kitchen right away. Instead, start with an outdoor grill or a food cart first if necessary – then work your way up from there!
4. Shop Around Before Making Major Purchases
This primarily refers to buying large-ticket items such as building materials, vehicles, and office equipment. If you do not have the money saved up for all of these things quite yet, it’s advisable that you hold off on making any purchases until you’ve built up enough funds to cover them. When you do make a purchase, make sure you shop around first. Do not buy anything before seeing what other options are out there, because some companies may offer similar items for less.
5. Do Your Research on the Competition
As any entrepreneur will tell you, competition is everywhere. Wherever there’s demand, someone else will step up to fulfill that need. So if your service or product is already available in your local market, then why would anyone purchase it from you rather than the other guy down the street? The answer is simple: Because they don’t know about your business! To avoid this outcome altogether, do research on each and every one of your competitors so you can stand out among them. If necessary, ask their current customers how they heard of them.
6. Focus on Your Own Business First
This tip has already been mentioned in the past, but it’s important to stress that you should not forget about your own company while working your way up through the ranks. It may take some time to get things off the ground, so be patient with yourself and stick to what you know best. When more money is rolling in, then it’s okay to start expanding into other ventures you had previously neglected; however, there will come a time when trying to do too much can cause problems of its own. Don’t bite off more than you can chew!
7. Keep Your Priorities Straight
We probably don’t have to tell you that your health is the number one priority when it comes to starting a business. If you are physically, emotionally, or mentally unable to continue working at peak performance levels, then there’s no sense in continuing with your current course of action. Take care of yourself first so that you can be an asset to your company rather than a liability.
8. Watch Out for Legal Issues
It is crucial that you do all of your research before starting out on any new venture. There are laws surrounding just about everything related to doing business, including contract requirements, labor/employment standards, taxation procedures, zoning regulations, and more. For most entrepreneurs, legal loopholes pose a little problem; however, if something goes wrong later on down the road, they can be the downfall of your company. So if you are uncertain about how to handle certain procedures, never hesitate to consult with a professional beforehand.
9. Stay Organized
As an entrepreneur, organization is key when it comes to running a business. Ignoring this fact will not only cost you time and money, but it could damage your reputation in the long run. Try creating several folders for each section of your company (marketing, sales, customer service, etc.) rather than trying to keep everything in one big filing cabinet or spreadsheet. This way, you’ll always know where to find what you’re looking for so you can stay on top of things at all times!
10. Have Fun!
And finally, remember to have fun with what you do! There are countless other articles on the internet that are filled with financial advice, not to mention countless books published on Amazon. But finding entrepreneurs who can teach you how to love your job is like finding a needle in a haystack. As mentioned earlier, most people go into business thinking it will be an easy way to make loads of money; they soon find out how wrong their assumptions were and give up trying entirely. So if this list doesn’t help you one bit, then there’s always plan B: Quit now while you’re ahead (and still love your job).