Anyone who has ever started a business will tell you that it’s a very unique and transformative experience, and some mistakes just have to be learned the hard way. But they will also tell you that there are a few things they wish someone would have told them before diving head first into their entrepreneurial ventures. Having dreams of a successful business is great, but careful planning and study have to go into making them come to fruition. Having your head in the clouds only works if you have your feet firmly planted in the ground. Make sure you learn about everything that is involved in a new business and don’t limit your knowledge to technical information about your product. Try to take intentional steps to learn about management, taxes, finances and team building. This way you can guarantee that every effort is made for your new project to be successful. We want your dreams of starting a business to become an incredible reality, so here are just a few things that you should think about while planning your next business venture:
- Create a business plan
Many entrepreneurs are eager to start doing business right away to transform their ideas and dreams into something tangible. But most don’t have a written business plan unless a bank asks for it in order to approve a small business loan. They see it as a task that must be done in order for the bank to hand out the money, but without a business plan, your business will be starting in the dark. This little extra effort will go a long way into giving the project a sense of direction and purpose, allowing you to make informed decisions and plans. It helps to know where you want to go and how you want to get there. Imagine going into a dark jungle knowing only that you want to find flowing water. It’s definitely an incredible adventure full of the thrill of discovery, but without a map or a weathered guide, you may just end up going around in circles.
- Get acquainted with the tax and legal implications.
Starting a new business enterprise is generally uncharted territory for the entrepreneur heading the project, and so many of them get caught up in the actual development of the business idea that they sideline the legal ramifications and tax obligations that come with owning a business. Although this is part of the nitty gritty stuff that most people are hesitant to get involved with, having a better understanding of how these things work will give you peace of mind and incredible clarity of what steps to take. It avoids unexpected surprises in the future and is amazingly helpful in planning and strategizing. You don’t have to become an expert or go to law school before starting a business, but you do need to read up on the laws and regulations that apply to your particular industry. Not every business is the same, so the same laws don’t always apply. Strongly consider investing in hiring an experienced lawyer and accountant to get professional advice on how to best navigate the complex legal and financial systems in your area.
- Know where to invest your capital
After handing in your business plan and receiving approval for a small business loan from you bank, you finally have capital to start investing in your business. Be sure to plan ahead and think carefully about what you want to invest in. Some things are worth spending heavily on, while others are mere flashy marketing expenses that your young business can do without. Buying proper quality equipment for your business or hiring skilled employees, for example, is a much smarter investment than giving your clients little gifts or souvenirs that steadily deplete your capital. The same applies when giving excessive discounts to attract more customers. Hitching up the prices later will be much more difficult than offering quality services and products from the start and letting your clients come to you. This is where the importance of a detailed business plan becomes obvious. If you did your homework diligently, you should have your capital investment laid out step by step, and you will be able to avoid mistakes that may otherwise harm your project and your pocket.
- Choose something you’re passionate about
If you’re going to commence the exciting journey that is starting a new business, make sure you’re passionate about what you will be doing, because it will become a significant part of your life if you want it to be a success. Making money is obviously important if you’re an entrepreneur, but don’t start a project just for the cash. A new business can take up to 3 years to start actually making money. But don’t be disheartened, if you’re passionately dedicated to your dream, all that hard work will bring in so much more than monetary rewards, and that’s what will make your business a winner. Being absolutely in love with what you do will help you dedicate the appropriate time and energy into what is basically a newborn baby. It will need constant care and sacrifice at the beginning to get it to the point where it will be able to stand on its own two feet.
- Focus on your clients
Business is all about people. Knowing your clients and and showing a deep understanding of their needs will allow you to build a bridge between the professional business that you’re running and the human factor that moves your clients to you. It will heavily influence their choices and may be the key factor that sets you apart. That’s why it’s so important to invest in skilled employees who not only know how to do their jobs, but are also in touch with the more human and emotional side of the business. Taking care of your team, and making sure you’re all working towards the same goals, means that they will take care of your clients. It’s very easy to get caught up in the technical or financial things, and forget that your business is actually made up of people, and was created for people. Always be on the lookout for new opportunities to fulfill clients’ needs, to talk to your most faithful customers and get to know them. They can tell if your concern is genuine and will reward you for it.
Following the path of an entrepreneur is demanding and requires the right type of person. However, it can be incredibly rewarding, both financially and personally. So don’t be afraid to take the risk, if you have a winning idea, go for it. The time is now!