Starting and owning your own business can be a very gratifying experience if done correctly. If done incorrectly and without the proper preparation, it can be a nightmare. Since competition in most businesses is fierce, you must become an expert at your business and develop a niche in your market.
Listed below are a few of the most important tips potential business owners need to consider before starting a business. Your preparation should be long and thorough. The more extensive your preparation is, prior to starting your business, the greater your chance of success.
Consider the following to start:
1— Make absolutely sure there is a market for your product or service, research the need for your product or service through your local chamber of commerce or library. Librarians are helpful with finding research information.
2— Use online business guides, for top business links.
3— Interview several veteran business owners in your prospective field, listen to both the positive and the negative aspects of owning and operating the type of business you are interested in. It is only AFTER many business owners start a business that they find the negatives far out way the positives. Be willing to listen to the negative aspects of your prospective business, so you will not fall into an “I wish I had known, " trap.
4— Take business classes in your prospective field. Many community colleges or small business incubators at major colleges offer small business colleges. Consultants also offer classes, many can be found online.
5— Obtain a business lawyer for advice. You can sign contracts after you talk with a lawyer or before. An experienced business owner will tell you to speak with a business attorney before you sign a contract. Speaking to an attorney after you sign a contract, is usually too late.
6— If you have to sign a lease for your business operation, make absolutely sure you consult with a business lawyer before you sign. . Business leases have many hidden clauses that are unfavorable to small businesses. This includes leases for equipment as well as occupation of real estate property.
7— Obtain a Certified Public Account (C. P. A. ) for advice in setting up a financial records system required taxes to pay, and other business advice. There are many inexpensive and easy-to-use accounting software programs on the market.
8— Before hiring an attorney or C. P. A. , interview several or ask reputable business owners in your field for a recommendation.
9— Consider an L. L. C. (a Limited Liability Company), to limit your personal liability. An L. L. C. is an inexpensive and relatively easy form to fill out. Contact your state department of corporations for instructions on how to sign up for an L. L. C. (contact information can usually be found on your states website), obtain a form book from the library or office supply store for instructions on how to add the articles of organization, this is a guide you will use to organize your business. Keep this for your records. Consult with an attorney if you do not understand the articles of organization or you need to include partners.
10— Set up your business as cost-effective as possible. That is, be very careful not to overspend, especially at the beginning. It takes time for most businesses to become profitable; so don't quit your day job. In most cases that is a few years away.
11—If you are not funding your business with your own funds, do thorough research to find various forms of funding available for your type of business.
12— Consider a mentor to guide you through the process before starting your business and during your business life. A mentor is someone who is a veteran in your field, is not your competition, and has the desire to help someone do the great things he/she has done in your field. You can usually find a mentor in an organization or association affiliated with your business. Attend meetings in your business field and get to know the people at the top.
13— After you have done through research and spoken to several business owners in your field, write a Business Plan. This should be a well-researched, well-thought-out, business plan. This will be your guide throughout the life of your business.
14— Visit your local city offices and chamber of commerce for all of the required permits and licenses to operate a business in your city.
Lois Center-Shabazz is the author of the award-winning book, Let’s Get Financial Savvy! ISBN #0971979502, and the founder of the personal finance website, http://www.MsFinancialsavvy.com