Starting your own business can be a hugely appealing idea: you get to be your own boss and move your company in exactly the direction you want. But on the flip side, you’re also responsible for everything, both good and bad.
1. Give People What They Want
While you may be convinced that your latest invention is exactly what people have been missing their entire lives, research the market instead and see what actually gets sold. No matter how innovative your design is for a winter coat, you’ll never make serious profits if you try and sell it in New Mexico or Southern California.
2. Use Someone Else’s Money
One of the worst business ideas you can put into practice is to rely on your savings or remortgage your house. Whether your business succeeds or fails, you’ll have a huge hole left where your equity was, and it’ll take a long time to rebuild that (plus, you’ll lose out on interest that the capital could have made). Instead, look for grants, loans, subsidies and investments.
3. Bring in Money as Soon as Possible
Whatever your business revolves around, there’s no guarantee it’ll be a hit right off the bat. But the little business you do have flowing in, capitalize on that. Don’t take IOUs or full credit immediately; wait until you’ve established relationships first. Instead, either charge the price in full, or ask for a deposit (hold it in escrow) with the remaining balance due upon receipt of product or delivery of service.
4. Don’t Screw Up Your Taxes
The IRS is one of the worst opponents to tangle with in an alleyway after dark, so don’t try and fool them into anything. While it may be tempting to take shortcuts with your taxes, it will catch you with you, and it’ll only be a matter of when, not if. If you’re unsure of anything, talk to a tax lawyer to find out exactly what you can and cannot do.
5. Find a Mentor
Sometimes, there are business programs that unite newbies with experts, but don’t rely on those as they may not always be available. But finding a mentor should still be one of your first priorities because you can get true knowledge that’s not available in textbooks. Pepper them with questions to soak up as much as possible, and remember to return the favor to other newbies once you become more established.
6. Look for People Who Will Say Yes
No matter what you’re selling or offering, the key is to get others to say yes. This story here highlights the importance of sticking with it and not expecting a breakthrough for at least 18 months. It also teaches the important lesson of just cracking the door open: “If you can get 5, you can get 500. Once you get 500, you know how to get 5,000.”
7. Integrate Social Media
The way technology works today is if you’re not on all the major social media platforms, you will get left behind. And if you don’t like social media, then put that aside and focus on what your business needs, not what you want. At every job, we all have to do some things we’re not entirely crazy about, but it’s balanced by what we love. Focus on what your end goal is, and do whatever it takes to get there.
Starting a new business is never easy, and the seesaw nature of the economy after the recession can make some new business owners queasy. But if you follow these 7 tips and put everything you have into it, you’ll increase the odds of success by a great deal.