Businesses come in all shapes and sizes. Some business owners started as kids, selling lemonade on the side of the street, while other business owners have bloomed later after years of careful planning. Whatever stage of life you’re in, owning a business can be one of the most rewarding experiences you’ll ever have. Starting a business is not for everyone though. Starting a business requires inspiration, hard work, planning and persistence.
The inspiration of business owners can range from not having a boss, to making more money to improving the local community, to any number of other motivations. Whatever the reason, having strong inspiration will help you get through anything, including starting a business.
After you’ve been inspired to start your business, brainstorming is a good next step. What do you like doing? What does the world need? What can you provide that others can’t or haven’t? After you have a bunch of ideas, think up some more. It is, after all, the unique idea that often makes a business financially successful.
Finding out what potential competitors are up to can give you ideas and also help define how your business will be different from others. Market research can help determine what products and services to offer. Further more, reading up on a variety of business topics, like advertising, marketing, management, unique selling points and more, can give you a huge edge.
Most businesses require some sort of funding to pay for all of the things listed above. In today’s world, where an EBay account can be opened and items listed for next to nothing, don’t be fooled into thinking that starting a business is going to cost tons of cash. Some businesses will require serious money to be invested upfront, while some home-based businesses can require a few hundred bucks or less.
After making estimates of your expenses, you will have a goal as to how much you will need to run your business. If your new business is going to be your only source of income, it is best to have at least two years of savings to allow your business time to become profitable. If you will have another source of income, such as a part time job, then you may have more flexibility in allowing your business the time it needs to float on its own.
Funding can come from savings, bank loans, friends and family, investors, donors, credit cards or other options. It seems better to over estimate your needs than to underestimate them and be left with not enough cash.
How will your business make money? If it is selling a product, how much will actually be made from each sale? When making this calculation and factoring in overhead estimations one can then determine how much needs to be sold to break even. Don’t sell yourself short because you’re a new business.
There are hundreds of laws that pertain to running a business. To understand and abide by all of these laws, legal consul is in order. Consulting a lawyer will also help protect your business with properly written contracts, terms of services, nondisclosure agreements and the likes of such. It is much better to have the confidence of having consulted with a lawyer than to wait until you really need one, when the damage has already been done. A poorly written contract, or no contract at all, can cost a business huge sums.
Having employees opens the door onto new realms of legal issues including tax withholdings, worker’s comp, rules regarding minimum wage, overtime, required postings, record keeping and so on and so on. Having a specialist to handle these factors is very helpful to companies employing more than the owner.
Software like Quick Books and Quicken can help the small business owner keep track of business accounts much more easily than without. Still, using a good CPA is highly recommended for helping uncover expenses and rebates and giving you peace of mind should you ever get audited.
As with all things, going for the cheapest business solutions will often cause a headache down the road. Spending a little more on an experienced professional, complete with references, goes a long way when you really need it to. Choosing a lawyer, CPA or Payroll Company based on cost alone can get you in big trouble. There are reasonably priced professional services out there, but make sure to shop around for one with good references and qualifications before choosing.