Is it Time to Own Your Own Business?
Friday Mar. 29th, 2013
There is no question that deciding to go out on your own is a big step. The first time I decided to start my first business I was hit with a multitude of emotions. Fear, excitement, apprehension, dread, freedom were just a few of the things lodged in the pit of my stomach.
The biggest decision that my wife and I had to make was concerning benefits. One of us had to keep working because my infant business could not handle healthcare, insurance and the other benefits my former company had provided me. So there was going to be some sacrifice on both our parts.
In addition this was not a selfish dream on my part and the family had no choice in the matter. I had spoken to enough business owners over the years that felt an almost overwhelming need to share every conceivable business horror story with me. This would not be a smooth ride in the early stages, so all family members had to be on board with no reservations. My wife was feeling those same “tummy flutters” that I was experiencing but we decided to take the plunge. We decided on a four-step plan of action.
I felt the best course of action was to put most of the business in place before leaving my current job. There are lots of things to do before going full time. Things like business license, bank accounts, getting advice from my CPA and attorney, along with consulting with the Small Business Development Center and SCORE. Putting the home office together with computer, printer and copy machine can all be done with financing from our current jobs.
I needed customers. Where are they? I started with civic organizations like Kiwanis, Lions, and Rotary. These groups usually had the movers and shakers around town and getting to know them in a non-business setting would aid in there recommendations down the road. I talked about my new business to anyone who would stand still long enough to put up with me.
Study success. There’s an old saying that is you want to be successful, find someone successfully doing what you want to do and do what they do. I went online to SCORE.org and looked for people with the expertise I needed. I needed someone to tell me the questions I should be asking myself. I started subscriptions to trade magazines that wrote about my industry. When I read about someone successful I would try to contact them for advice. Some helped, some didn’t, but I called anyway.
Creating a sales process. Why would people buy from me? What were the hot buttons I needed to push to create a buzz about my company and me? I put a focus group together and started asking them to hit me with their best shot. What should I be doing and saying to turn them from strangers into repeat customers? This feedback was very helpful in getting my business going in the right direction.
Some Final Thoughts
Davey Crockett once said, “First, be sure you’re right, then go ahead.” There is no substitute to doing your homework before life hits you with the test. The final step is setting dates. The date you give notice, the date you open, and the projected date your business reaches its breakeven goal. Good planning and an “I will not be denied,” attitude will get you a lot closer to a calmer tummy.
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