So you’re about to take a dip in the entrepreneurial waters? It can be a big risk... A lot of work too. But don’t let that scare you off, it can also be the most rewarding thing you’ve ever done! The trick is, know what you’re doing and have an idea of what it is going to take before jumping in. I’ve started two businesses from scratch, and here’s what I can tell you:
1. Pick your craft, and learn it well. You will be going in against an entire marketplace of already-established firms. You will be the new kid on the block, that nobody will trust. Make sure you’re choosing something you enjoy and want to be doing. I guarantee you that if you’re not crazy about your industry, you’ll be hating it very soon. Be sure to learn as much as possible before starting as well. Do an internship, read all the books, watch all the youtube videos. Every bit of knowledge you can get your hands on is valuable.
2. Explore your opportunities within your industry. Do you have friends that can help you out? Are you somehow filling some sort of niche in the market that the competing firms can’t touch? See what advantages you will have over competition. Perhaps you have personal connections that would be willing to take a risk by giving you their business. Explore!
3. Put together a solid plan. Some people put together very intricate business plans, with market analysis, projections, and sales goals. Others go in completely blind. Now there is no guaranteed recipe to success, but doing as much research as possible is not a bad idea. Never stop learning and researching.
4. Be prepared for a long, tough campaign. Starting a business is not easy. While it may seem that other people you know have had great success in their entrepreneurial efforts, do not assume anything. Always be prepared for the worst possible outcome. If you are focusing on your new venture full-time, make sure you have the savings in the bank to carry you for a while, as your income may be variable, or non-existent for a while.
5. Keep records of EVERYTHING, and file the paperwork! Every expense has the potential to be written-off for tax purposes, so keep your receipts. Get software to help you keep track of finances, such as Quickbooks or even just use spreadsheets. Write out invoices for every sale, and make sure you are including the correct taxes. Taxes vary from state to state, county to county, and city to city, so do your research!
Follow these tips, and you’re already off to the right start with your new business. Good luck!