I am an advocate for individuals starting their own businesses and creating extra streams of revenue. However, while having your own business sounds like a great idea, many forget about all of the hard work, time, money and unyielding persistence it takes to successfully run and keep a business afloat. Below I listed a few key things you will need to have before you start your business. (Not in any particular order)
Research / Business Plan
In order to have long term success in your business, you will first need to do research on your chosen niche and also have a business plan in place so you’ll know the direction of your business at all times. Many businesses fail for various reasons, one of which being they don’t have a plan or any direction as to where they’re going. It’s not enough to have a great idea that can generate some temporary cash flow, but after that, what’s next? You’ll need to know where you are in your business at all times in order to know what your next move should be. You should know who are your competitors, what are they doing well, how will you fund your business, what type of business will you have, what are your core values and strengths, etc.
You should also make sure you research your chosen niche and have all of the necessities needed to pursue your business. Example questions to ask yourself: How many companies currently do what I do, What will be unique about my business, What type of products and services will I have, how will I store them, How will I know when to buy more inventory, where will I buy my items, how will my customers hear about it and what items do I need to effectively run my business (such as: computer, printer, mailing supplies, office space, storage space/unit), what type of licenses, insurance, and permits will you need etc? These are all basic questions that you should know before you legalize your business.
TIP: Don’t forget to look into rules, regulations, and taxes concerning your business.
Legally Own Your Business
Before you spend tons of money on marketing, branding and advertising, please make sure the name of your business is actually available. I’ve seen people make the mistake of investing tons of money and energy into a business name and found out afterwards it already existed. I can only imagine how terrible that felt. So don’t be that person! Make sure you do your research on your business name. You can check for domain names at godaddy.com, business names at sunbiz.com, and you can also do a Trademark search online at www.uspto.gov.
Note: Make sure you have the proper legal paperwork drafted up for your use throughout your business such as non-disclosures, copyrights, and transfer agreements. You don’t want a situation where someone who has done work for you, is shopping it around with intentions to sell or re-use your products/graphics. Trust me; it has happened to plenty of businesses before, especially small businesses. You can get ripped-off by any one if you don’t have the proper paperwork in place. Please look into getting those documents. You should definitely seek professional counsel from an attorney and an accountant or CPA for those matters.
Money / Financial Resources
I hear people say that it takes money to make money and I have found that to be fairly accurate. While it’s not 100% true, it comes really close. Depending on the type of business you have, there are so many things you will need to have in order to properly run your business legally and efficiently. So figuring out what your needs will be to run your business is essential.
All of these things will require money and resources. Whether it’s money towards your basic business needs, business license(s), marketing, investments in coaching, and/or branding, you’ll be spending money towards your business before you start seeing any profits from your business. So before you start your business, you should write out all of your potential expenses you’ll need before you actually begin your business. This will allow you to quickly assess your current finances and budget accordingly. One of the worst things you can do to yourself is go into a business, start selling items and not have all of your paperwork and basic business needs taken care of. You don’t have to have every single item on your list, but you will need to start out with the basic business essentials.
Here is a list of essentials you should look into: A website, business cards, postage, mailing supplies, printer, and computer just to name a few.
Having a website is really essential, because it allows for your audience to get to know more about you, your business, services and products all at one time. This will also help build creditability, because consumers want to know that you value your business enough to make the initial investment before they do. Why should anyone invest their time and money into a business if you haven’t done so?! There is so much fraud, scamming, and personal information being compromised on a daily basis, (coughs) Equafax, and people are a lot more skeptical about where they swipe their credit cards. So providing your customers with a secured website to share their personal information and credit cards are a must. Be aware of any retailer that asks for payments over the phone, western union, and social media. PayPal is a secured site and are pretty good with helping to resolve your issues and retrieving your money back in case you have a bad dispute with the merchant. Consumers really value being able to pay and get all of the information they need in one spot.
Keep in mind, your website does not have to be extravagant. It actually should be rather simple starting out. All you need is a nice layout where your customers can easily learn, ask questions, shop and make secured transactions on your site.
Tip: There are many hosting sites that provide free templates and layouts, such as wordpress.com, wix.com, squarespace.com and shopify.com. Choosing which one works for you will depend on what type of business you have and what functions you want on your site. I personally prefer Shopify.com for e-commerce sites. I go more into detail about why I choose that site over any other site in another blog post. But moreover, producing a website does not have to be expensive, although it can be.
If you’re someone who is not tech-savvy at all and need to outsource things such as graphics and website design, you can check out fiverr.com and upwork.com. Those are sites where you can do business with freelancers and negotiate prices for said needs. You can even create a profile and upload your services.
The saying, ‘Patience is key’ or ‘patience is a virtue’ is very true when you go into a business for yourself. People often times take the term ‘overnight success’ literal. But for many entrepreneurs that will not be the case at all. So much blood, sweat, tears, money and preparation goes into that one moment or big deal that changes your life forever. So you have to keep your purpose, the reason you began your business, at the forefront of your mind at all times. There will be times you want to throw in the towel, give up and even run out of money; but when your purpose is greater than your circumstance, you will find a way to make it happen. So stay your path, don’t be afraid to try to techniques, invest in a coach or mentor to help you prevent from making those costly mistakes many new business owners do.
If after all of this you still want to be an entrepreneur, DO IT! You’re one step closer to financial freedom than you were before you read this article.
If you need coaching and actionable steps to take your business to the next level, email me at MelaninTooRich@gmail.com to set up a consultation.
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