So you want to start your own business? Awesome! It’s exciting. The thought of being your own boss, setting your own rules and doing something you really and truly love to do. It’s a dream. It can also be a nightmare, but being prepared and informed can help you attain those dreams and goals. I know firsthand as I started a retail business a couple of years ago.
So many factors, questions and options jump into your head. The start-up portion can oftentimes be the most stressful. It’s very easy to get bogged down and overwhelmed before you even put the process into motion honestly. That’s where being prepared comes into play. Knowledge is power after all. It’s important to look at this venture realistically. Preparing to start a business of your own and actually doing so are similar but yet different phases. It’s a chess match of risk, reward and balances and having a plan is of the utmost import.
For example: if you’re accustomed to a nine to five daily schedule, it will take you some time to adjust to a completely new routine. It’s a lifestyle change and if you’re not ready for that, it can set you back and take the wind out of your sails quickly. Starting a business is a long term endeavor. The ultimate payoff doesn’t come until in the future and it starts with the hard work you’re about to put into it.
To make money obviously! However, it’s a bad idea to go into this with millions of dollars as your expectation. You may be a millionaire one day but as you’re starting out, keep your goals a bit conservative and realistic. Make sure they are attainable. If you set the bar too high, when you fail, it stings that much more. I’ve been down that road a couple of times.
It pops into your head one night as you’re trying to fall asleep. The perfect idea for your business. But is it perfect. I learned to flesh things out a long time ago, thoroughly and I did so when I launched my retail business. I also sought out advice from a financial adviser as well. The Small Business Administration has tons of information on resources. In your head, it seems like the perfect thing. Everyone will want what you are offering but it’s really not that simple. If everyone wants your product(s) that’s great but if they can’t afford it, they can’t buy it. Research the product’s affordability as well as it’s demand to make sure it balances out.
Again, this is a long-term investment. I had to be future-minded. I wanted to start running my business right away. I wanted to start making money right away also but I knew that might not happen for awhile. The goal is to make money and to keep making money, which means whatever you choose to do needs room to grow on the market. I find that electronics are in high demand but because newer versions and models are released so frequently it is sometimes difficult to move the older merchandise and that eats into your profits. Clothing is fickle also. What’s in today can be out tomorrow. Finding products that can move with the ever-changing times or that can compliment other products is a sound logic.
Once you have your product(s), the last step in the vetting process is to scope out the market for it. If the market is current inundated and swamped with merchants selling the exact same products, that’s a bad sign. Too much competition can leave you at the bottom of the pile. Search engines these days allow you to buy priority advertising space but at a cost and that’s extra money out of your budget.
Now it’s time to write up a business plan. Simply put, this is a helpful compilation of your goals, assets, expectations and abilities. Look at it as drawing a map for the next few years. It’s an essential utility for not only keeping your thoughts in order but keeping the steps involved manageable also.
Another important aspect to think about and decide is whether or not to look for a physical store or to operate in house, literally. It’s quite costly to rent a facility, even a small one and pay utilities, especially if you’re not selling a massive amount. If you plan on selling hundreds and hundreds of items, a physical store is a good option but if you manage your inventory and business needs from your home, that is always a practical choice. And Cheaper too.
I work closely with several wholesalers who I can directly order from when I receive an order. This is helpful because it cuts down on the cost of purchasing inventory and it doesn’t fill my house with merchandise from wall to wall either.
Selling Your Business
The Internet is fast becoming the hub for shopping. So, having a website is crucial in marketing your business to the public. It’s really become a “must have” item in the business world. Your website has the potential to reach millions of people a day. Marketing and advertising your new business is critical in the first few months. Whether your business offers a service or sells merchandise of some variety, clients and repeat customers create consistent revenue and the way to build that base is to make sure people know you exist. This can caus e
Over and Under
I do okay with my small business. It’s easy to maintain and it supplements my income a bit. Just the way I wanted it to. It wasn’t smooth sailing right away though. I had dollar signs in my eyes and made a very poor choice. I overestimated sales and underestimated costs. So, I had a hole in my boat for awhile but eventually I patched it up. I learned a new rule to apply to things as well. Always underestimate your sales. Always overestimate your costs.
Be prepared for a lengthy and tedious process of actually starting your business. Paperwork mostly. Filing the proper documents with your local government and the IRS not only takes time filling them out but it takes time awaiting their approval and acknowledgment as well. No one really told me that the actual process was a bit slow. This frustrated me and discouraged me a bit as I was ready to get started. Just be patient and make sure every i is dotted and every t crossed to avoid having to refill forms and resubmit them. Depending on what you are selling and where you are located, you need to know what (if any) permits and licenses are required. Again, the Small Business Administration has helpful information about this.
You’ve researched your product(s), you’ve settled on a location and your paperwork is in order. Now it’s time to stock your merchandise and hit the market. Ultimately, my best best advice is to stay focused and determined. Expect to struggle a bit at first but most of all, be patient. This is your business. Be proud of it. Invest in it and have fun…