According to the U.S. Small Business Association, starting a business isn’t as easy as setting up shop and unlocking the door for customers. It’s a lengthy process that, if people are patient and follow each step, can reward entrepreneurs with a quality work environment for business and profits. Here are five tips from the SBA to help you plan your new venture and start a business.
Think About It
Take the time to think about your idea. Determine if you are ready to invest the time, money and effort it will take to grow the idea into a business. Consider your family obligations and any work commitments before you spread yourself too thin. Assess your personal skills in personnel management, financial management and time management for business. Ask your employers for advice and if they recommend you start a business.
Find a Mentor
The best way to learn about starting and operating a business is to find someone who runs their own business and shadow him or her for at least a month. This will help you get a feel for business operations and the skills required to keep things running smoothly. Don’t be intimidated by your relative inexperience. Your mentor started out the same way and will tell you the potential rookie mistakes you could make.
Create a Business Plan
Use the SBA’s basic template for a business plan. Make sure it has a cover letter, statement of purpose, detailed operations and financial plans. It should also contain up-to-date tax information for business filings and resumes of all principals, copies of lease documents and licenses. Search for ways to create more attractive and concise business plans to make them stand out to your potential lenders and investors.
Secure Startup Seed Money
The cost of starting a business is not cheap. Finding a way to fund a business requires some marketing skills and a clean economic record.
There are three ways to get funding for your idea: loans, grants and venture capital. Banks provide loans and they charge interest in addition to requiring a regular repayment schedule. Non-profit organizations and some state or local government provide grants that do not have to be repaid. Venture capitalists invest in companies in exchange for a percentage of future profits.
Understand How to Market A Business
Know your desired market and tailor your business to suit the needs and wishes of this market. This requires a business location and a modest budget for business advertising. The majority of your time will be dedicated to operating your business, the rest of it will be spent marketing your business. Use all media for business advertising: radio, television, print and the Internet to get your message across. Developing a good relationship with your clients and customers will go a longer way than some advertising will.