Business ownership can be incredibly rewarding. You can make your own hours, make your own decisions, and work at your own speed. When you work for yourself, your hard work benefits you, instead of watching your boss get rich.
On the other hand, running your own business can be the most stressful and challenging experience of your life. The Small Business Association estimates that 33% of small businesses fail. Yes, over a third. One out of every Three. You may have to work 80 hours or more a week, your decisions are your own, with no one to blame and you'll have to work harder than ever before
To help you be one of the two thirds that succeeds, and based on the findandfund.com success story, we've put together this online business guide to help you get started, and help you along the way. You'll find tips to maximize your productivity, find and keep the best employees, and manage your finances. Check back often as the articles on this site will change daily.
Starting and managing a business takes motivation, desire and talent. It also
takes research and planning. Like a chess game, success in small business starts
with decisive and correct opening moves. And although initial mistakes are not
fatal, it takes skill, discipline and hard work to regain the advantage. To
increase your chance for success, take the time up front to explore and evaluate
your business and personal goals. Then use this information to build a comprehensive
and well-thought-out business plan that will help you reach these goals. The
process of developing a business plan will help you think through some important
issues that you may not have considered yet. Your plan will become a valuable
tool as you set out to raise money for your business. It should also provide
milestones to gauge your success.
Before starting out, list your reasons for wanting to go into business. Some of the most common reasons for starting a business are: You want to be your own boss. You want financial independence. You want creative freedom. You want to fully use your skills and knowledge.
Next you need to determine what business is "right for you." Ask yourself these questions:
What do I like to do with my time? What technical skills have I learned or developed? What do others say I am good at? Will I have the support of my family? How much time do I have to run a successful business? Do I have any hobbies or interests that are marketable?
Then you should identify the niche your business will fill. Conduct the necessary research to answer these questions:
What business am I interested in starting? What services or products will I sell? Is my idea practical, and will it fill a need? What is my competition? What is my business's advantage over existing firms? Can I deliver a better quality service? Can I create a demand for my business?
The final step before developing your plan is the pre-business checklist. You should answer these questions:
What skills and experience do I bring to the business? What will be my legal structure? How will my company's business records be maintained? What insurance coverage will be needed? What equipment or supplies will I need? How will I compensate myself? What are my resources? What financing will I need? Where will my business be located? What will I name my business?
Your answers will help you create a focused, well-researched business plan. that should serve as a blueprint. It should detail how the business will be operated, managed and capitalized. One of the most important cornerstones of starting a business is the business plan. There are many resources where you can find tutorials on preparing a solid plan with all its essential ingredients. Once you have completed your business plan, review it with a friend or business associate. When you feel comfortable with the content and structure, make an appointment to review and discuss it with your banker. The business plan is a flexible document that should change as your business grows.