Most of us have dreamed of being our own bosses. And that dream probably goes hand in hand with one of our hobbies, interests or passions in life. After all, who wouldn’t want to monetize their passion for fashion or interest in music? When you see a successful entrepreneur in their fine suits and high-end sports cars, no wonder we all feel a pang of jealousy! But then we tend to go back to our daily jobs, clock off at five and go back to our lives.
Of course, there are times in our lives when that fiery determination to make something of ourselves kicks in. And it can be strong! These are times when you might edge toward finding a way to start up a business. Seeking opportunities could be a challenge, though. This is why timing can be so important for starting up a business.
Everybody knows that it would be foolish to start a business in an economic downturn. But your personal life will also have peaks and troughs. There will be times when you’re just not mentally, emotionally or physically ready to take on the challenge of starting a business. However, there will be those prime moments when you must seize the day and go for it!
Not all of us have had much in the way of business education. So how can you be sure you know what to do to get a business off the ground? There is a huge risk that your business could fail before it ever gets going. You do need to know what you’re doing to ensure any successes can be built upon. Understanding how to produce a business plan and a marketing plan can be quite crucial. Fortunately, there are plenty of good websites to help you with that!
You should also be able to budget and clearly identify cost and profit margins. Selling your goods or services without ensuring a profit on the return is a mistake few people make. But it’s an easy one to make. Ensure you’ve included the cost of utilities, staff, postage, and administration. Always keep a good accounting list of your overheads and expenses.
If you’re still not sure, consider taking some courses in business management. Or why not try taking on a franchise as a way to start your own business? Much of the marketing is managed for you. Best of all, you have the power of the brand in place without you having to do much at all. It leaves you to concentrate on the day-to-day tasks. You are supported and nurtured as a business manager from day one.
If you think you might be ready to start your own business, you need to consider how you’re going to earn a living in the early months. If you have a job, you may be unwise to quit it straight away. But you need time to work for your business as well. You might have to reduce your hours at your job, taking a pay cut. Or you may have to give up your evenings and weekends to build your business. Are you ready to take on the pressure and loneliness of this kind of challenge?
It’s not just your social life that may come to a grinding halt when you’re working two different jobs. Your physical fitness may also suffer. If you can’t find the time to attend those workout classes anymore, you could start gaining weight. And extra weight can lead to serious health conditions. If your business will be run from home, chances are you won’t be walking or cycling to work anymore. Will this affect your health too?
Tightening your belt will also be tough to do. We all need a basic income to cover those essential expenses. Food, utilities, car payments, fuel, rent, taxes and phones will all need to be paid for. You can’t afford to get behind with any financial commitments. Giving up those weekly trips to the cinema or that monthly splurge at the fashion outlets can be painful enough! Your family may also have to give up some things if you can’t bring in the same level of income for a while.
The business you’re starting needs customers or clients. If you don’t already have people interested in your products or services, it’s unlikely you’re ready to set up shop as a fully fledged company. There needs to be a demand for what you do. You can’t call yourself a baker if you’ve never sold any cakes to colleagues, PTA moms, or friends. These are the very people who will tell their friends about you, increasing your popularity and client numbers.
You need also to know exactly where to find your customers. Networking is so important. But reaching out to those who would pay you money for what you do is even more crucial. If you sell boutique babywear, you should have access to forums and websites where new moms frequently visit. Head to your local health center and see if you can leave a leaflet. Better still, talk to some of your potential customers and check your product is what they are looking for.
If you do make products, you need to be certain that your product is ready. A prototype or two may not be enough. It needs to be tested and even redesigned to be certain customers will love it. Invite focus groups or trials so you can gauge the reaction. You may also find out lots of information about what might need changing. And you’ll definitely get some more ideas about marketing! Only when your product is ready and up to any government guidelines or regulations should you consider starting up a business.
It costs money to get started as a business. Many people find they need to save for months or years just to start up. Whether you’re investing in a franchise, or building an online retailer, you’ll need cash behind you. Business stationery, office supplies, phones, and premises can all cost money. Don’t forget to keep some cash back to formally register your new business.