Are you ready to start your own business? People start their own small business for many reasons.
For many, it is a calling. They are so passionate about their idea and how it will create change in the world, they simply must find a way to launch.
For some, they are seeking a change. It may be a change in lifestyle and they believe owning their own business will provide more flexibility. They may be tired of having their ideas dismissed by their superiors. They want to be their own boss and be free to implement the ideas they feel strongly will work. Perhaps they have a desire to work from home or to find a better balance between work and family. Or, they are simply looking for more satisfaction out of life.
For others, it is a necessity. Perhaps they have found themselves unemployed and the job market is not providing employment opportunities that meet their needs or qualifications. It may be their circumstances are such that having a J.O.B. simply isn’t feasible. This may be due to a disability or it may be due to the high cost of childcare. They simply need to find the best way to bring in some money.
Whatever your reason for wanting to launch your own business, there are several things you should know before you start.
Your Own Business Means Wearing Many Hats
One of the biggest surprises most new business owners have is that, even though they are outstanding at what they do, there are many other roles to be filled in a business. If you don’t plan to hire employees at the beginning, these roles need to be filled by you. You will be in charge of sales, marketing, finance, and human resources.
It is a good idea to make a list of your personal strengths and weaknesses and then a plan to develop the areas of weakness. For example, a lot of small business owners find it challenging to put themselves out there and ask for business. Taking a course on sales, learning some networking tips, and then stepping out of your comfort zone are all things that will help overcome this weakness. If you aren’t familiar with bookkeeping (even if you don’t plan to do your own books), taking a bookkeeping course online or at your local college will prepare you to understand what is happening in your business financially.
I don’t tell you this to scare you or overwhelm you, but to let you know that these are areas you will either want to master, outsource or hire for.
You Will Need Some Money to Get Started
Depending on the type of business you are planning, the amount of money you need to get started will vary from as little as $1,000 to much, much more. Let’s take a simple home-cleaning business. You may already own all of the equipment and supplies you need to launch this business. You will still need some cash to pay for things like a business license, liability insurance, and upfront marketing costs. These could include business cards, brochures, a website, maybe some vehicle signage, and a Facebook ad budget.
Whatever type of business you are planning, take some time to establish everything you will need to launch your business successfully. Be sure to consider all of the following:
- Operating equipment
- Computer equipment
- Software subscriptions
- Other technology requirements such as point of sale
- Initial inventory of supplies or product
- Licensing and admin expenses
- Your startup marketing budget
- Legal and accounting fees
- Working capital – three to six times your estimated monthly expenses
If you already own or have the funds available for all of this, you are in great shape. If not, there are many financing options available to small business owners. You will need to show you have some skin in the game though, so when you are making your list consider what you already own that you can contribute to the business.
Perfection Can Get in the Way of Success
The key to success is to take action. The reality is, you will probably never feel 100% ready and prepared to start your own business. There will always be more skills to be developed, more experience to be attained, more knowledge to be acquired. At some point, you have to say this is good enough and just launch.
Success Involves Sacrifices
Be clear about the sacrifices it will take to be successful in your own small business and be ready to make them. You may have to make lifestyle changes. Whether they are staying in more often, taking fewer holidays, spending less time with friends and loved ones, these are things that are sacrificed in the beginning to give your business the best chance to succeed. You will want to reinvest as much as you can into your business in the early days so that you can afford better equipment and to hire employees as you grow. You might be doing your books on Friday night instead of meeting with friends or watching your favourite Netflix original. Enlist the support of your loved ones now, explain to them what you are trying to accomplish and that sacrifices today will mean a better life later on.
Your Business Idea Must Solve a Problem
“If we build it, they will come” is not the best product launch strategy. Whatever your business idea, it must solve a problem for someone. Take some time to determine all of the reasons someone will buy from you. This is when you need to start thinking out of the box. You might be thinking, I am planning on opening an ice cream store. That certainly isn’t solving a problem. Well, you would be wrong. Ice cream stores help cool people off on a hot day, they provide something for the family to do, they provide a venue for a birthday party, they allow people to take a break doing something fun, they provide a treat while on vacation…
Knowing the problem you solve is the first step to discovering if there is a market for your idea and if you will be able to make money from it. Knowing you have a viable business idea at the beginning goes a long way to removing some of the fear we all feel when starting out on a new venture.
How Ready Are You to Start Your Own Business?
Our Entrepreneurial Assessment will help you determine your level of readiness to take the plunge into owning your own business. I encourage you to take it. At the very least it will get you thinking.