We’ve all been there. That entrepreneurial bug has bitten a lot of us. That urge to run your own business, to turn your passion into a steady stream of income. They say that if you do what you love then you’ll never work a day in your life. That’s never been truer than when you own your own business. But where do you begin? The first steps to starting a business are usually the most crumbled cobblestone steps on a path to solid ground that you can hit running. –Luckily for you,– I’ve been there and I can lend a little bit of wisdom to those of you who want to be your own boss and answer to no one but yourself.
Know your Craft
Find a need and solve a problem with your product or service. If you sell handmade soaps, maybe you want to create a line catering to people who have may eczema. If you sew leggings for babies, maybe consider offering extended sizes for babies who have slim waists and long legs. And when you do, hit me up so I can grab some for my petite honey. Also research your area. Does your area need ANOTHER restaurant? Would the service or product you want to offer fit in your local area or is it more suited for an e-commerce (strictly online) kind of business?
Know what you can offer, and offer it. Whether you are serving the public by opening a restaurant, selling homemade goods, or working solely from your home office. Learn what you can from those who have been successful in your field and implement every tried and true strategy that resonates with you.
Consistency Is Key
Know that success does not come overnight. Many businesses crumble within the first year because their owners give up once their unrealistic expectations are not met. Keep pushing.
Know the Laws
If you plan on starting a business out of your home, whether you’re serving customers in your home or just working an internet based business from your home, you will need to check with your city or state’s planning and zoning department. For example, some states won’t allow you to run certain types of businesses out of homes in certain areas. One specific example is that some cities will say you can’t use more than 25% of your home’s square footage as a business, or even for storing business equipment. Whether it’s shirts that you are selling online or computer parts that you are servicing, be sure to check the laws in your area before you get in too deep.
Another thing you should look into is how you want to brand your business. There are a couple different options for startups. You may file your business as a DBA which stands for Doing Business As, or an LLC which is a Limited Liability Company (or Corporation, depending on who you ask). Each one has pros and cons, and a ton of legal jargon that would turn this simple post into a 12 chapter novel. More information can usually be found on your state’s official website.
Now that you know what you want to offer, and you’ve got the legal paperwork out of the way, you’ll be on your way to running your own business. Now stick with it and don’t fall into the statistic of small businesses that fail within the first year. Small failures are only failures if you don’t learn anything from them. Focus on growing and solidifying your position in your niche/market.
Be sure to have a plan and stick with it. Periodically set goals. Where do you want your business to be in one year? Five years? Ten years? Make that plan and roll with it. Use your business plan as a guideline when making important business decisions and consult with a business coach or mentor if you’re in need of some clarity.
The first steps to starting a business are usually a messy time in any business’ history. Apple started in a garage. UPS started with two teenagers, a bicycle and $100. Know the laws, know your craft, and follow your own path. Remember these are just some starting points for building a business. There’s certainly a wealth of other information out there for specific businesses, but these tips cover just about every start-up phase of each one. Keep learning and don’t be afraid to dive in! As cliché as this sounds, just do it! Life’s too short to let all of those good ideas go to waste!
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