“Everything you need to know about how to start a business, I have read that before many times. Unfortunately, that is not really possible... Every business is different. It Is Possible to use this guide and Find What You Need!" - Roger Keyserling
There are no limits on who can become a great entrepreneur. You just need to get it together to make it happen.
You don't necessarily need a college degree, a bunch of money in the bank or even business experience to start something that could become the next major success.
What you do need a strong plan and the drive to see it through.
If you're online searching for this topic, odds are you already have the drive, but you might not know how to start building your business or blog etc.
This is a basic guide to help turn your big idea into a realistic business. Plus one that is professional in not only appearances but Actual business practices.
Let's start with, Why do you want to start a business?
Use this question to guide what kind of business you want to start. If you want extra money, maybe you should start a small business of your own If you want more freedom, maybe it's time to leave your 9-to-5 job and start something you have wanted to do and think you can earn too.
After you have given a lot of thought and have arrived at the reason, start asking yourself even more questions to help you figure out the logistics of a business you start, and if you have what it takes to make it real and profitable.
What skills do you have?
Where does your passion lie?
Where is your area of expertise?
How much can you afford to spend, knowing that most businesses fail?
How much capital do you need?
What sort of lifestyle do you want to live?
Are you even ready to be in business?
Be 100 percent honest with your answers. This will create a foundation for everything you do in your life from this point forward, so it's better to know now than rather than later.
Think of a business idea.
Do you already have a killer business idea? If so, congratulations! You can proceed on quickly through this section. If not, there are a ton of ways to start brainstorming for a good idea.
Here are a few pointers:
Ask yourself what's next.
What technology or advancement is coming soon, even what policy changes or social changes happen. Learn by research, how will that change the business landscape now and in the future? Can you get ahead of the competition?
Think this way. Fix something that bugs you. People would rather have less of a bad thing than another of a good thing, which what the see always. If your business can fix a problem for your customers, they'll thank you for it.
Apply your ideas or talents to an entirely new field.
Many businesses and industries do things one way because that's the way they've always been done. In those cases, a fresh set of eyes from a new perspective can make all the difference.
Use the better, cheaper, faster approach. Do you have a business idea that isn’t completely new? If so, think about the current offerings and focus on how you can create something better, cheaper or faster.
You do this going out and meeting people and ask them questions, seek advice from other businesses, research ideas online or use whatever method makes the most sense to you.
Do market research.
Is anyone else already doing what you want to start doing? If not, is there a good reason why?
Start researching your potential rivals or partners within the market. You break down the objectives you need to complete with your research and the methods you can use to do just that. For a long time, I conducted interviews than in the old days by telephone. Now online or face to face. You can also offer surveys or questionnaires that ask questions like “What factors do you consider when purchasing this product or service?” and “What areas would you suggest for improvement?”
The most common mistakes people make when starting their market research:
Using only secondary research.
Using only online resources.
Surveying only the people you know.
Let people interact with your product or service and see what their take is on it. A fresh set of eyes can help point out a problem you might have missed. Plus, these people will become your first brand advocates, especially if you listen to their input and they like the product.
One of the easiest ways to utilize feedback is to focus on “The Lean Startup” approach (read more about it here), but it involves three basic pillars: prototyping, experimenting and pivoting. By pushing out a product, getting feedback and then adapting before you push out the next product, you can constantly improve and make sure you stay relevant.
Just realize that some of that advice, solicited or not, will be good. Some of it won't be. That's why you should have a plan on how to receive feedback.
Standardizing the feedback process is essential for a positive feedback culture. You need to establish standards about who gives feedback to whom, how often feedback should be shared, the official processes and mediums by which feedback is shared, and more.
Once you have created these standards and processes, make sure to follow them to a “T”. This makes it easier for everyone involved to understand what's expected of them.
Stop! Your brain will probably be in an excited state when receiving feedback, and it might start racing to bad conclusions. Slow down and take the time to consider carefully what you've just heard.
Start by saying ‘thank you.’ People who give you negative feedback won't expect you to thank them for it, but doing so will probably make them respect you and encourage them to continue to be honest in the future.
Look for the grain of truth. If someone doesn't like one idea, it doesn't mean they hate everything you've just said. Remember that these people are trying to help, and they might just be pointing out a smaller problem or solution that you should look into further.
Seek out the patterns. If you keep hearing the same comments, then it's time to start sitting up and taking notice.
Listen with curiosity.
Be willing to enter a conversation where the customer is in control.
Ask questions. Figure out why someone liked or didn't like something. How could you make it better? What would be a better solution?
Also, one way to help you get through negative feedback is to create a "wall of love," where you can post all of the positive messages you've received. Not only will this wall of love inspire you, but you can use these messages later when you begin selling your product or service. Positive reviews online and word-of-mouth testimonials can help make a big difference.
I get asked, often, "Why am I not getting sales?" Do More, that is my best advice. I know that sounds shallow yet it sums everything up. No Sales, do more research, marketing, testing... Until there is no more to do or that can be done. Then Do More differently or do something else. - Roger Keyserling
Now that we have explored the tips of starting a business, it is also important to understand the common types of business that you can start.
It is important to understand that the type of business that you ought to start should be suited to your business goals as well as your expertise. Success in any business is linked to the skills and experiences that allow you to make informed decisions regarding your business.
Therefore, assessing your priorities, lifestyle, and business goals will greatly help you decide the type of business to start. You should figure out the industry you want to venture in, understand the scale and funding to help you narrow down your options.
The three common types of business that you can start are as follows;
It refers to an online business idea that allows you to sell products and services on social media platforms, personal website, or an existing online retail shop like eBay.
Ecommerce businesses provide plenty of room for flexibility as well as a lower threshold for entry to the business. Business can be conducted remotely or as part-time businesses and this is dependent on the business model. Currently, eCommerce is growing as an online retail market increasing the overall sales worldwide.
After understanding the market, you might need to open a website, which relies on three basics; clear images of the inventory, description of the inventory, and an easy payment funnel. Setting up a retail website that deals with selling product is nowadays considered a job that you can do it yourself. There are different platforms that can help you create a good website; such as Wix.com.
However, there are websites that may require a different business model, for example, websites that access database that allows people to search for jobs. Service needs an explanation and thus this will require you to tell the visitors what the services offer, if it is described in the name of the company, using an image on the website, or state the services clearly on the homepage of your website.
If you would like to venture into eCommerce, ask yourself the following questions;
• What customer needs would you wish to fulfill?
• Who is the target consumer? Are they online?
• Is the website clear indicating what you are offering?
• How can you position your products on the website to make it easy for the visitors?
• Will the consumers be satisfied with the number of products offered on the website?
• How can customers order the products/services? Is the payment funnel clear?
• Are there ways that you can make it easy for the customers to buy on the website?
• Do you have any plans for customer service?
A franchise requires a license that has the name, logo, business processes and goods and services offered by the franchisor. The cost varies depending on the initial fee of the franchise, training costs, marketing costs, royalty payments, and retail build-up.
One disadvantage of a franchise is that it is based on a system of replicate processes of business that have proven records. It is important to ensure that you evaluate your personal and professional experience, expectations, and the available money, to decide if you are capable of owning a franchise.
Here are some of the reasons that people invest in the franchise;
• Recognition of brand name: Franchise comes with a degree of familiarity and recognition. However, this is dependent on the geographical region and if the franchise is already in the region.
• Low risks: You are investing in a system that is known to work. However, there are still risks involved and the cost of these risks can be significant leading to a financial burden for the franchise. To shield yourself from all these, it is important to ensure that you have six to nine months of available working capital before purchasing a franchise.
• Built-in operations: There is an aspect of the organization for a good franchise. It indicates what you are buying with the initial cost as well as other payments. Also, there is a systematic plan that guides you on how to operate the business. It describes how the location should be set, how to operate and market, location to market, and assistance will be offered along the way.
• Economies of scale: If you are involved with a large system, there is a possibility that you can get better prices on your end-user goods as part of the system.
It is important to note that as easy as this might sound, the franchise does not fit everyone. It ought to abide by the mandatory rules and systems that are set by the franchisor. Therefore, you must examine if you are the right fit.
Before considering to venture into a franchise, you should do your due diligence. Read and understand the Franchise Disclosure Agreement, which indicates all the aspects, such as the responsibilities of the franchisor and the franchisee as well as any litigation that is involved.
Purchasing an Existing Business
This comes with the advantage of not reinventing the wheel. With a business that exists, there is no guesswork since there is historical data, existing customers, employees, needed equipment, and inventory to operate the business.
An added advantage for buying an existing business is that it is easier to get finances and there is a lower rate of failure. Normally, many businesses fail within their first five years. This is mainly because revenue takes twice as long to generate than projected. Also, the expenses are more than expected.
One of the most important pieces of advice is to do your own research. A franchise owner has a vested interest in attracting franchisees, which means they’ll often take the opportunity to sound better than it actually is.
Buying a business is more expensive than starting a business. Ensure that you understand why the existing business is being sold. This can be due to obsolete inventory, policies, and work methods. Watch out for legal liabilities as well that is already existing in the business.
These other factors should be considered when considering to buy a business;
• What size of business would you wish to manage?
• Where is the location? What is the number of employees?
• What region would you want to do the business?
Once you have decided on the industry, location, and scale, ensure that you have chosen the type of business that fits your aesthetics.
Make it real and official.
Get all of the legal aspects out of the way early. That way, you don't have to worry about someone taking your big idea, screwing you over in a partnership or suing you for something you never saw coming. A quick checklist of things to shore up might include:
Business structure (LLC, corporation or a partnership, to name a few.)
Register your business
Federal tax ID
State tax ID
Permits (more on permits here)
Necessary bank account
While some things you can do on your own, it's best to consult with a lawyer when starting out, so you can make sure you've covered everything that you need.
Here are some questions you can ask when looking for a small-business lawyer.
Write your business plan.
A business plan is a written description of how your business will evolve from when it starts to the finished product.
You can probably cover everything you need to convey in 20 to 30 pages of text plus another 10 pages of appendices for monthly projections, management resumes, and other details. If you've got a plan that's more than 40 pages long, you're probably not summarizing very well.
Here's what should be in your business plan:
Title page. Start with a name the name of your business, which is harder than it sounds. This article can help you avoid common mistakes when picking.
Executive summary. This is a high-level summary of what the plan includes, often touching on the company description, the problem the business is solving, the solution and why now. (Here’s what you should include in the summary and how you can make it appeal to investors.)
Business description. What kind of business do you want to start? What does your industry look like? What will it look like in the future?
Market strategies. What is your target market, and how can you best sell to that market?
Competitive analysis. What are the strengths and weakness of your competitors? How will you beat them?
Design and development plan. What is your product or service and how will it develop? Then, create a budget for that product or service.
Operations and management plan. How does the business function on a daily basis?
Finance Factors. Where is the money coming from? When? How? What sort of projections should you create and what should you take into consideration?
For each question, you can spend between one to three pages. Keep in mind, the business plan is a living, breathing document and as time goes on and your business matures, you will be updating it.
A Business Plan is also known as a:
- Business Proposal
- Marketing Plan
- Business Strategy
- Marketing Strategy
- Sales Plan
Why do I need a Business Plan?
Lenders and investors are constantly presented with new business proposals. If you provide all the required information in a consistent format then lenders and investors can make an efficient and fair analysis about the viability of your business ideas. By preparing a comprehensive business plan you send a message to your lenders and investors that you have already made an objective assessment of your business ideas and that you are serious about your business plan.
This is also the same for online sellers to access brands and even some market places.
What is Cost of Goods Sold (COGS)?
In a manufacturing environment, the Cost of Goods Sold includes the material costs AND the direct labor costs necessary to produce finished goods.
In a simple retail or wholesale environment, COGS can be calculated as beginning inventory plus purchases minus ending inventory. Ideally, this indicates the inventory consumed in the reporting period.
What are the benefits of a Business Plan?
Benefits of a Business Plan include:
- Ensures you take a disciplined approach to analyze your business ideas.
- Shows your investors and lenders that you have systematically analyzed your business ideas.
- Helps you clearly define your goals and what you want to accomplish.
- Helps you identify and analyze your risks as well as your opportunities.
- Helps you assess the strength of your target market.
- Helps you define your day-to-day business processes and challenges.
- Helps you analyze costs and capital requirements.
What is included in a Business Plan?
While a Business Plan may vary in how it is organized, it can include:
Executive Summary: This portion of the plan summarizes your company. It can include an overview of your company's management structure, a description of your product/service, your goals, and a summary of your finances and marketing strategy.
Business Description and Mission Statement: This is a brief rundown of your business's history, ownership, and its mission or vision statement.
Product or Service: Here you can include a breakdown of what your product or service is, its unique features, any patents you may have, as well as any future products you want to develop.
Marketing Strategy: Your marketing strategy is how you plan to get your product or service in front of customers. This is where you can include your ideas for promotion (online/traditional methods), as well as how you physically plan to sell your product or service (brick-and-mortar, e-commerce, etc.)
More On The Ultimate Marketing Guide
Competitors Analysis: This section describes your competition and how you intend to compete against their current strategies.
SWOT: SWOT is an acronym for "Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats." A SWOT analysis evaluates these specific aspects of your business.
Operations Overview: An operations overview provides a glimpse into the daily operations of your business, including the management and staffing structure, human resources plan, your physical operational facility, and your production methods, such as quotas or manufacturing details.
Financial Plan: Your financial plan may include your company's income (profit and loss) statements. It can also encompass your capital requirements if you are pitching your ideas to investors. In that case, you may describe the investment amount you require and how you plan to repay this capital in a repayment plan.
How to write a business plan?
Research is your best friend. Find out whatever you can about businesses, market and competitors, this will give you a head start into drafting a business plan. I think this step-by-step guide by Entrepreneur.com is rather helpful. I’d suggest this as a compulsory read for those who want to write up a business plan for startups.
Think about the Dimension of the Business
Startups usually sprout out of people with a technology or business background. When they write a business plan most of the focus is on information that they’re experts on.
For instance, a technician is most likely to concentrate on technology and how it’s different from others in the market. If the plan is written by a business analyst, then sales numbers will be the central idea in it.
In reality, the business plan should encompass a broader vision, from technical details, sales numbers, marketing strategy to profits. It all needs to be in one place whether you’re showing it to a salesperson or the CEO.
Keep it short
Business plans should be short and concise.
The reasoning for that is twofold:
- First, you want your business plan to be read (and no one is going to read a 100-page or even 40-page business plan).
- Second, your business plan should be a tool you use to run and grow your business, something you continue to use and refine over time. An excessively long business plan is a huge hassle to revise—you’re almost guaranteed that your plan will be relegated to a desk drawer, never to be seen again.
Know your audience
Write your plan using language that your audience will understand.
For example, if your company is developing a complex scientific process, but your prospective investors aren’t scientists, avoid jargon, or acronyms that won’t be familiar.
Accommodate your investors, and keep explanations of your product simple and direct, using terms that everyone can understand. You can always use the appendix of your plan to provide the full specs if needed.
Don’t feel intimidated
The vast majority of business owners and entrepreneurs aren’t business experts. Just like you, they’re learning as they go and don’t have degrees in business.
Writing a business plan may seem like a big hurdle, but it doesn’t have to be. You know your business—you’re the expert on it. For that reason alone, writing a business plan and then leveraging your plan for growth won’t be nearly as challenging as you think.
And you don’t have to start with the full, detailed business plan that I’m going to describe here. In fact, it can be much easier to start with a simple, one-page business plan—what we call a Lean Plan—and then come back and build a slightly longer, more detailed business plan later.
Start with a clear, concise executive summary of your business. Think of it as an elevator pitch. In no more than two pages, billboard all the important stuff. At the top, communicate your value proposition: what your company does, how it will make money and why customers will want to pay for your product or service. If you are sending your plan to investors, including the amount of money you need and how you plan to use it. You have to know the whole picture before you can boil things down, so tackle the summary after finishing the rest of your plan.
Tip: One sentence business overview
At the top of the page, right under your business name, include a one-sentence overview of your business that sums up the essence of what you are doing.
This can be a tagline but is often more effective if the sentence describes what your company actually does. This is also known as your value proposition.
Finance your business.
There are a ton of different ways to get the resources you need to start your business. Take a look and consider your own resources, circumstances and life state to figure out which one works best for you.
Fund your startup yourself. Bootstrapping your business might take longer, but the good part is that you control your own destiny (and equity).
Pitch your needs to friends and family. It can be hard to separate business from personal relationships, but if you’re considering asking for a loan, here’s a resource you can use to make it as straightforward as possible.
Request a small-business grant. Start by checking out our guide to small-business grants. Then, head over to Grants. gov, which is a searchable, online directory of more than 1,000 federal grant programs. It might be a long process, but it doesn’t cost you any equity.
Start a crowdfunding campaign online. Sometimes power is in numbers, and a bunch of small investments can add up to something major. If you think your business might be a fit for something like Kickstarter or Indiegogo, you should read up on 10 of the best-crowdfunded businesses ever or check out the most popular crowdfunding websites.
Apply to local investor groups. Online platforms such as Gust and AngelList and local networking can help you find potential investors who relate to your industry and passion.
Solicit venture capital investors. VCs typically look for big opportunities from proven teams that need a million dollars or more, so you should have some traction before approaching them.
Join a startup incubator or accelerator. These companies are designed to help new or startup businesses get to the next level. Most provide free resources, including office facilities and consulting, along with networking opportunities and pitch events. Some, also provide seed funding as well.
Negotiate an advance from a strategic partner or customer. If someone wants your product or service bad enough to pay for it, there's a chance they'll want it bad enough to fund it, too. Variations on this theme include early licensing or white-labeling agreements.
Trade equity or services for startup help. For example, you could support a computer system for office tenants in exchange for free office space. You might not get paid for this, but you won’t have to pay for an office, either, and a penny saved is a penny earned.
Seek a bank loan or line of credit. Here are 10 questions you should ask before applying for a bank loan, including whether you will qualify. If you do meet the requirements, a good place to start for loan opportunities is the Small Business Administration.
We work for it. We buy things with it. We need it for retirement. But what is it, anyway? And what gives our money value?
Money originally took the form of a commodity such as gold or silver (or grain, in the earliest cases), and as such, it had a recognized market value.
After the introduction of banknotes and coins that lacked intrinsic value (ie, weren’t worth their weight in gold), money became representative of value rather than actually holding that value itself. This ‘representative money’ acted like a certificate to show that a certain amount of gold or silver was stored at the central bank, or treasury, in the way that notes for one pound sterling could be exchanged for one troy pound of sterling silver. In effect it was a promise by the government, or the bank on the government’s behalf, to hand over that amount of bullion.
Since 1971, the U.S. dollar has been convertible into absolutely nothing.
Since Nixon's ruling, the United States has operated on a system of fiat money, which means our currency is not tied to any other commodity. The word "fiat" originates in the Latin, the imperative of the verb facere, "to make or become." Fiat money is money whose value is not inherent but called into being by a human system. So these pieces of paper in your pocket are just that: pieces of paper.
Why then do people still work for money? The answer is legal tender laws. If you look at one of your dollars, you will notice it says, “This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private.” This means that people and business have to accept U.S. dollars — by law — for any debts. And of course, the U.S. government has to accept them for taxes
Modern economics no longer hangs on gold and is fairly complex.
The more a country exports (or the more valuable the exports) the more its money is valued in the global community.
The more it imports or the more valuable the imports the less its money is valued in the global community.
Social acceptance. Money holds value because you believe it does. Many economic models drop money out entirely, as an example, real business cycle models are money free.
Additionally, the amount of debt a country has accrued also devalues its money on the global market.
It is through debt and imports that inflation occurs. Ironically the more debt accrued the harder a country must work to repay as their money also devalues.
So What Is Value?
Is it a Belief? If one believes that an item has value, then it has value. The US Federal Reserve note is one example.
The values we assign to things is often a combination of utility and perception. Sometimes the usefulness of something is the primary reason we assign it value e.g. sugar, and sometimes the perception is the primary reason e.g. Gucci brand water bottle at five times the price of an equivalent bottle.
Often it's a complicated mix of both. The various inputs for perceived value are as complex and multifaceted as the human condition and all of social and philosophical history.
Someone willing to pay that amount for it. I could have something that I say is $500. If no one pays $500 for it, is it really worth $500? This is effectively the price that the market will bear.
Develop your product or service.
After all the work you've put into starting your business, it's going to feel awesome to actually see your idea come to life. But keep in mind, it takes a village to create a product. If you want to make an app and you're not an engineer, you will need to reach out to a technical person. Or if you need to mass-produce an item, you will have to team up with a manufacturer.
To me, product development is always one of the most exciting parts of owning a business.
Sometimes you might struggle to find a product or new service to offer, and aren't even sure where to start.
What's a product you hate using? Would you like to completely rebuild that product, or simply fill the gap it's missing? Just think about problems,
and then imagine what would solve that specific pain point.
into developing a product, you need to do a bit of
"Pre-sales." You need to make sure some interested buyers would buy your new service or product.
Your product will need to beat out the competition, so you need to make sure you can solve a need that other products can't.
You have to assess the costs of developing this product or service.
How big of an investment is it going to be? Do you need to hire another employee with a
specific skill set to create this product? Do you need to promote someone to handle managing this new service?
Time and development creating this product or service is something you need to map out before you sit down and invest your company's money into a new idea.
Because our business model is recurring revenue, we were able to make some accurate budget predictions on how we could afford the cost of creating a new product.
Never settle for comfortable, instead continue pursuing new avenues, develop new products, and still, keep pushing to improve.
Your best option isn’t necessarily to make the cheapest product, even if it lowers manufacturing cost. Also, you need to make sure the product can grab someone’s attention quickly.
When you are ready to do product development and outsource some of the tasks make sure you:
Retain control of your product and learn constantly. If you leave the development up to someone else or another firm without supervision, you might not get the thing you envisioned.
Implement checks and balances to reduce your risk. If you only hire one freelance engineer, there’s a chance that no one will be able to check their work. If you go the freelance route, use multiple engineers so you don’t have to just take someone at their word.
Hire specialists, not generalists. Get people who are awesome at the exact thing you want, not a jack-of-all-trades type.
Don't put all your eggs in one basket. Make sure you don’t lose all of your progress if one freelancer leaves or if a contract falls through.
Manage product development to save money. Rates can vary for engineers depending on their specialties, so make sure you’re not paying an overqualified engineer when you could get the same end result for a much lower price.
To help you have peace of mind, start learning as much as you can about the production, so you can improve the process and your hiring decisions as time goes along.
This process will be very different for service-focused entrepreneurs, but no less important. You have several skills that people are willing to pay you for right now, but those skills can be hard to quantify. How can you establish yourself and your abilities? You might consider creating a portfolio of your work -- create a website to show your artwork if you’re an artist, writing if you’re a writer or design if you’re a designer.
Also, make sure you have the necessary certificates or educational requirements so that when someone inquires about your service, you’re ready to jump at a good opportunity.
Start building your team.
To scale your business, you are going to need to hand off responsibilities to other people. You need a team.
Whether you need a partner, employee or freelancer, these three tips can help you find a good fit:
State your goals clearly. Make sure everyone understands the vision and their role within that mission at the very start.
Follow hiring protocols. When starting the hiring process you need to take a lot of things into consideration, from screening people to asking the right questions and having the proper forms. Here is a more in-depth guide to help you.
Establish a strong company culture. What makes a great culture? What are some of the building blocks?
Building effective teams require more than an abstract commitment to teamwork; it requires input from managers to foster it.
Without team building skills, a manager risks limiting the productivity of their employees to what each member can do on their own, whereas if you foster team building you can unite your the team around a common goal, which will raise productivity as a result.
As your team starts to cooperate more, examine
the way they work together and take steps to improve communication, cooperation, and trust amongst the team. This goes beyond simply holding meetings, and includes things like being open to suggestions and concerns, asking about each team member's work and offer assistance where necessary, and doing everything you can to communicate clearly and honestly with your team.
Finally, you can begin officially establishing your team by creating team values and goals, as well as evaluating team performance alongside individual performance.
Find a location.
"Location, location, location" is a popular maxim frequently heard in the real estate industry where placement, it seems, is everything.
For your business, a good location is just as important as your product, employees or marketing.
So here are tips you can follow to help you decide on the perfect location for your business.
For a fee, you can make use of location analysis tools, such as Locate, Grow and Optimize that can give you information like traffic patterns and lifestyle data of those who come and go in the area.
You can save on the cost of location analysis by looking at where your competitors are.
A good location should have several nearby parking spots and gas stations to cater to those who drive.
Besides the base rent, consider all costs involved when choosing a location.
Style of operation.
Make sure your location is consistent with your particular style and image.
Demographics. Start by considering who your customers are. How important is their proximity to your location? If you're a retail store that relies on the local community, this is vital. For other business models, it might not be.
If you need people to come into your store, make sure that the store is easy to find. Remember: even the best retail areas have dead spots.
Accessibility and parking. Is your building accessible? Don't give customers a reason to go somewhere else because they don't know where to park.
Sometimes having competitors nearby is a good thing. Other times, it's not. You've done the market research, so you know which is best for your business.
Proximity to other businesses and services. This is more than just about foot traffic. Look at how nearby businesses can enrich the quality of your business as a workplace, too.
Image and history of the site. What does this address state about your business? Have other businesses failed there? Does the location reflect the image you want to project?
Depending on your business, these could help or hinder you. For example, if you're starting a daycare center, ordinances that state no one can build a liquor store nearby might add a level of safety for you. Just make sure you're not the one trying to build the liquor store.
The building’s infrastructure.
Especially if you're looking at an older building or if you're starting an online business, make sure space can support your high-tech needs. If you're getting serious about a building, you might want to hire an engineer to check out the state of the place to get an objective evaluation.
Rent, utilities, and other costs. Rent is the biggest facilities expense, but check out the utilities, as well, and whether they're included in the lease or not. You don't want to start out with one price and find out it's going to be later.
Once you know what to look for and it's time to start searching for a place that fits all of your qualifications, these four tips can help.
Think on your own timeframe.
Landlords are starting to offer shorter-term office rentals. Don't get stuck in a long-term lease if it doesn't make sense for your business.
Play the whole field. There are all sorts of places to use -- co-working spaces, office business centers, sublets and more. Keep your options open.
Click around town.
You might be able to find the perfect place by using online resources.
Do the deal on your terms. Again, you have options. Don't get roped into something that makes you uncomfortable.
After you have a location, you can focus on the aesthetic. You can check out a few design ideas here.
Start getting some sales.
No matter your product or industry, your business's future is going to depend on revenue and sales. Steve Jobs knew this -- it's why, when he was starting Apple, he spent day after day calling investors from his garage.
There are a ton of different sales strategies and techniques you can employ, but here are four tenets to live by:
Listening. When you listen to your clients/customers, you find out what they want and need, and how to make that happen.
Ask for a commitment, but don't be pushy about it. You can't be too shy to ask for a next step or to close a sale, but you also can't make customers feel as though you're forcing them into a sale.
Timo Rein said, "Most people are too polite. They let you make your pitch even if they have no interest in buying. And that’s a problem of its own. Time is your most important resource."
Gary Vaynerchuk said, “Actually creating revenue, and running a profitable business, is a good strategy for business. Where are we that people think users or visits or time on site is the proxy to a successful business?”
But how do you actually make those sales? Start by identifying targets who want your product or service. Find early adopters of your business, grow your customer base or put out ads to find people who fit your business. Then, figure out the right sales funnel or strategy that can convert these leads into revenue.
Grow your business.
There are a million different ways to grow. You could acquire another business, start targeting a new market, expand your offerings and more. But, no growth plan will matter if you don't have the two key attributes that all growing companies have in common.
First, they have a plan to market themselves. They use social media effectively through organic, influencer or paid campaigns. They have an email list and know how to use it. They understand exactly who they need to target -- either online or off -- with their marketing campaigns.
Then, once they have a new customer, they understand how to retain them. You've probably heard many people state that the easiest customer to sell to is the one you already have. Your existing customers have already signed up for your email list, added their credit card information to your website and tested what you have to offer. In doing so, they're starting a relationship with you and your brand. Help them feel as good about that relationship as possible.
Start by utilizing these strategies, which include investing in your customer service and getting personal, but realize your work will never be done. You'll constantly be competing for these customers in the marketplace, and you can never simply rest on your laurels. Keep researching the market, hiring good people and making a superior product and you'll be on your way to building the empire you always dreamed about.
Time management skills can be extremely useful as survival tools for today. We all must juggle an increasing number of obligations to family, friends, career, professional organizations and the community. Managing time effectively involves the use of skills that can be learned. We can incorporate these skills and strategies for time management in both our personal and professional lives.
Time Management Tips
1. Know your goals. Set priorities.
2. Think through a job before doing it.
3. Periodically evaluate the progress toward your goals.
4. Finish one task before beginning another.
5. Don’t rely on your memory for important events, dates, or ideas. Write them down.
6. Put your objectives in writing.
7. Schedule your committed time first (class, work).
8. Set deadlines for yourself.
9. Break major goals into sub-‐goals.
10. Have each day’s activities sufficiently planned?
11. Set a starting and finishing time for each project.
12. Know yourself – your strengths and limitations.
13. Reward yourself for the completion of projects/tasks.
14. Recognize when you are procrastinating.
15. Eliminate tasks that do not contribute to your goals.
16. Take occasional, short breaks.
17. Be prepared for meetings and appointments.
18. Preview reading assignments.
19. Plan as far ahead as possible.
20. Maintain a regular reading or study plan.
Here are some more suggestions for time management with additional information:
Even now after years of working online, this is the hardest for me! Below is an older article I wrote about pulling an all-nighter:
To succeed in business today, you need to be flexible and have good planning and organizational skills. Many people start a business thinking that they'll turn on their computers or open their doors and start making money, only to find that making money in a business is much more difficult than they thought. You can avoid this in your business ventures by taking your time and planning out all the necessary steps you need to achieve success.
To be successful in business you need to be organized. They may be doing something right that you can implement in your business to make more money. The key to being successful is taking calculated risks to help your business grow. Always be looking for ways to improve your business and to make it stand out from the competition. Just because you open a business doesn't mean you're going to immediately start making money.
The lead-up to starting a business is hard work, but after you open your doors, your work has just begun.