With everyone talking about the economy I decided it would be a good idea to discuss an approach to small business that if followed would minimize the number of failures. These 5 steps to start a small business provide a solid foundation to any venture and should not be ignored. It is in the success of small business that the economy finds its strength so, take notes.
1. Take a Look in the Mirror
When thinking about starting a small business the first thing one should examine is their personal financial situation. You are your first business and the way you manage your personal finances is a reflection of how you will manage the finances of your business. If your personal finances are in order and you make more than you spend, you are probably ready to begin thinking about other business ventures. If on the other hand your situation is the other way around and you spend more than you make, I would suggest that you get your situation turned around before venturing into the world of small business.
The management principles that lead to financial success on the personal level are the same principles in the business world. If you are employed you are providing a service to your employer and in exchange they are compensating you with a salary or an hourly wage. Think about this for a bit, you are already playing the small business game. Where are your week spots? Are there spending issues? Why are you looking to start yet another business? Examining your current situation with this perspective will give you an idea of what to expect if you were to get another business off the ground.
2. Understand the Small Business Marketplace
Before getting started make sure you understand Small Business Volatility. The most notable characteristic of the small business marketplace is its resistance to success. The fact is the majority of small business startups will close their doors after two years of operation. If you don’t take note of this reality you are positioning yourself for failure. One of the biggest contributors to this reality is the fact that small businesses generally don’t have much money behind them and businesses fail because they don’t make enough money to cover their expenses. In other words the small business marketplace is a marketplace averse to error. One must know where each penny is going and how each penny will help the bottom line.
That said, there are advantages to small business. Being small means you are flexible and fast. You won’t have the layers of bureaucracy to slow you down when you need to make a decision or change something up. Leveraging this reality can afford you opportunities that your larger counterparts cannot act upon. Commonalities exist among the small business and large business paradigms but keep in mind a small business approach will not work in a large business environment, and a large business approach will not work in a small business environment. Most consumer based organizations that we are accustom to follow the large business paradigm so keep yourself in check because a Wal-Mart approach to a custom boutique is a recipe for failure.
3. Begin with Service
Outside of yourself your first small business should be service oriented. There is a smaller financial barrier of entry for service based businesses than there is for product based models. This means you will reach a break even faster than you would if you decided to go with a product based model. Think about a janitorial agency. The startup costs would be rather small, especially if you had supplies you could use around the house.
Additionally many service based business are better suited to handle fluctuations in demand. Market fluctuation can be killer for smaller organization. A service based model can have its expenses tied closely to the actual delivery of the service. This means unless you are providing the service, you are not incurring costs. There will be some overhead but not as much as there would be in a product oriented environment.
4. Be Willing to Change Direction
I have heard it said that companies change their focus an average of 5 times before they find success. As you begin to fulfill a need your intuition on that need will grow, as it does allow it to direct your company. Microsoft for example began in traffic analysis hardware, not software. There is freedom to try multiple directions (one at a time) to figure out how your company can best add value. Eric Ries in his book The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses calls this “the pivot”.
5. Dig In and Get to Work
These precautions will safe guard you tremendously as you pursue each business venture but they are worthless if you don’t act. In order to make you business work you will have to work… a lot. A common trait I have witnessed among successful business men is their drive to get things done. They don’t sit around and wait for this or that, they figure out what needs to be taken care of and take care of it. The journey doesn’t have an end, being a business owner is a continuous effort to perpetuate your organization. If you don’t eat and breathe your business chances are you will play second fiddle to someone who’s passion is the business you claim to love.
I hope you find this helpful. I know may people want to know How To Make Easy Money Fast, which can be done, but not continually and not with a small business. Business is hard work that will take time to produce fruits but trust me when I say diligent effort invested into a focused business will pay off handsomely in the time. Remember, the small business is the heart of our economy and anything that can be done for the sake of small business is a cause worth pursuing.