So, you are thinking of starting your own business? Well, you are not alone. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy, “the number of small businesses in the U.S. reached 32.5 million, making up nearly all (99.9 percent) U.S. businesses.” It is the American entrepreneurial dream to take a business idea from the concept, research and planning stages to the day when you open your door, hang out your shingle or go live online.
New business owners often have the same concerns as new parents. Will I be successful? Who has done this before and can advise me? Where will I get the financing? What help is available, and how much will it cost? All those concerns seem to hit at once.
Most of those who succeed in starting their own businesses have planned for every phase of their success. Thomas Edison, the great American inventor, once said, “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.” That same philosophy also applies to success in business.
Eliminate Common Mistakes
To enhance your chances for success, first generate a little bit of that perspiration to eliminate the most common mistakes new business owners make. According to the experts, most novices should spend a great deal of time researching their potential businesses and the marketplace.
Developing a workable business plan can help smooth over the bumps in the road to your success. Some questions you will be able to answer on your own. Others will require careful research from sources that can help you over those bumps with free or low-cost resources to help you plan, finance, and manage your small business.
Understand Potential Competitors
If you prefer, you will be able to even take things a step further and consider the patron needs currently not being met by businesses within the industry. This is often an honest time to require a glance at potential competitors. And remember, the presence of competitors is oftentimes a decent sign! It means the marketplace for your product or service already exists, so you recognize that you just have potential customers who are willing to spend money on your product or service.
Do Your Research
Before you start your plan, carefully research, and answer these basic questions:
- What niche or void will my business fill?
- What services or products will I sell?
- Is my idea practical, and will it fill a need?
- Who is my competition?
- What is my business’ advantage over existing firms?
- Can I deliver a better quality service?
- Can I create a demand for my business?
Once you have determined that your business idea is feasible, answer these questions:
- What skills and experiences 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 I need?
- 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?
If you are starting a home-based business, you should answer these additional questions:
- Does my home have the space (preferably separate) for a business?
- Can I successfully run the business from my home?
- Can I deal with the isolation of working from home?
Your answers to these questions will help you create a focused, well-researched business plan that should serve as a blueprint. The plan should detail how the business will be operated, managed and capitalized.