Photo by Heather Shelley
As an entrepreneur, I can say with some authority that there is a LOT to know before jumping into the world of self-employment/business ownership. However, this is a good thing.
Being prepared, and doing this advance planning and research helps prevent costly mistakes, and increases your chances for success. Most businesses fail within the first year of startup. If you want to avoid being another of those statistics, take some time to get all your facts and figures in order.
A few basic things to do before starting a business:
1-Write a business plan. It doesn't have to be extensive or lengthy, but going through the process of completing one will help you to think of things you had not, and will set you up to be largely prepared should you need to apply for financial aid (loans or grants). The things you need to know to complete a business plan are also the things you need to know in order to obtain financing.
2-Licensing and Laws. It cannot be stressed enough that you must check all local, state, and federal licensing and tax laws which apply to you and your particular business venture. Be sure to strictly adhere to them all or be prepared to face hefty fines and penalties. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse they will look mercifully upon or will accept.
3-Know your market. Knowing who your particular market is will help you determine how to advertise, and what your odds for success are. The market may already be flooded with a similar product or service. What will you do to make your business stand out from the rest and be more desirable to your customers or client-base? Be prepared to refine your plan or come up with a new one should this be the case.
4-Resume, Cover Letter, Credentials. Update your resume and credentials. Learn how to write a killer resume and cover letter. You will need these as part of your business plan, and for any application for financing. Also, if you are providing a service, you may need these in order to obtain clients.
5-'It takes money to make money'. Yup, it does. It may not need to take a lot of money, but there will most definitely have to be some capital invested in order to start a business. Advertising and licensing are just two of the costs involved.
6-Blood, Sweat, and Tears. It takes a lot of long hours and a great deal of work to make a success of a business. Starting your own business commonly requires a much larger commitment than a typical 9-to-5 or 40-hour work week would. Learning to find balance with work and your personal life will be crucial so you don't burn yourself out. Also, learning how to say 'no' in business and in your personal life will be a skill you will want to master quickly, so others do not burn you out.
The following links are just a few of the sources available that may offer some great information to start with in your quest to be a business owner:
This page on The Denver Channel 7 News website offers many links to articles, resources, and videos all related to starting your own business.
The Small Business Administration is a governmental agency set up specifically to help small businesses. A plethora of information may be found at this website and through this free governmental service. One section is all about business plans.
The business section of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website can offer a great deal of needed info regarding starting and running your business. A toll-free number is available if you need more help and information.
Entrepreneur.com has a lot of great information, articles, forums, and resources for starting a running a business. Great place to get info about the latest trends in business and business technology.
MyOwnBusiness.Org is a non-profit entity which offers many free services and information. Some, such as certification and their textbook is available for a small fee. However, it is free to take the course, which is helpful in guiding you through the business start-up process. Writing business plans is covered in the free coursework. The costs involved with utilizing the paid features of this site may be tax-deductible. Consult your tax professional for more information.
This site is mostly about selling the software which has many features and information you can find for free online and from other sources. It does have free information and interactive features on the site you may need to write your business plan and start your business. One is a cost calculator for determining your start up costs.
Nolo.com is renowned for offering great legal information, and has a section devoted to starting a business. Also on their site is information about patent law and other laws business owners may need.
An article about the home office deduction may be found here. Claiming the home office deduction may not be the best idea for everyone or in every situation.
One Final Thought:
Be sure to do online searches for forums and websites specifically for your particular business or product. For example, someone offering virtual assisting services would search for virtual assistant job boards to get clients and projects; and also search out other sites offering information for that particular business.
Want some leads for where to find business grants? Click HERE.
Good luck! And please let me know how this information worked for you. Please add any additional information or resource links which you have found helpful.
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