For many people, owning and running their own business is a dream come true. The idea of doing something you love, and not having anyone but yourself to answer to, can seem like the best-case scenario. Launching a small business is hard, stressful work. Running one requires a variety of skills and instincts that do not come naturally to most people.
Does this mean you should give up on your dream? Not at all, but you should probably do more to prepare than you think is strictly necessary.
A Business Degree is Valuable.
If you think running your own business as a way to avoid the problems associated with not having a degree, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. The skills you learn in school will carry over to all aspects of your life, and help you create a successful enterprise. To borrow money, the bank will probably want to review a business plan. To get exposure, you need marketing skills. If you will have employees, there are plenty of regulations and laws that affect how you handle them. Launching a new business is stressful enough. Going into it without needed skills makes it more challenging than it has to be.
If finances are keeping you from earning your degree, consider financing school with student loans. If you are wondering what student loans can be used for, they can cover much more than tuition. You can research what student loans can be used for, but they generally can cover living expenses, transportation costs, and meals. Any expense you encounter while attending school can be covered by these loans. This frees you up to focus on your studies.
Research is Key.
One Of the most urgent issues facing a new business owner is getting customers or clients in the door. To hit the ground running, take some time before your launch to observe what others are doing. Make note of what type of advertising they use, if they offer promotions, how much they rely on social media, and any other behavior you can observe. Your goal is not to imitate them, but to improve on what they do. They are providing a baseline for you to improve on.
Make Sure Your Idea Makes Sense.
It doesn’t matter if you are educated and have great financial backing, if the business you plan doesn’t make sense for your location, you are going to struggle. If you are bringing a new concept to your area, look at how it was received in other locations. If your area is struggling financially, there may not be any discretionary funds for an expensive bungee jump activity center, but a thrift store may do well. On the other hand, if you are looking at adding a fun child or teen-centered activity to a stable suburban area, customers will probably relish your arrival.
The challenge comes if you have your heart set on a particular idea, but your community doesn’t seem ready to support it. Be realistic and honest with yourself. Is the idea of being self-employed what appeals to you? Or do you want to stick with your original plan? If you just want to be self-employed, look for other opportunities in your community. If you are tied to your original idea, consider relocating or looking for a way to do something similar online, where you can target your preferred customer base.