Being an entrepreneur can be one of the most fulfilling and rewarding career paths possible. But it also means that you’re responsible for organizing and managing a business and that you assume greater risks than you would in most other professions. Additionally, you’ll be required to make a lot of difficult decisions on your journey.
That said, becoming an entrepreneur is an excellent way to add purpose to your life, provide for yourself and your family, and make a positive impact on your community. Diligently prepare and dedicate yourself to working harder than the rest, and you can build a business that flourishes long-term.
Thinking about jumping into entrepreneurship? These foundational tips from Reardon & Associates can help you get off to a strong start!
Take Time to Reflect on Your Interests
First things first—you need to make sure you enjoy the industry or niche that you will be entering. While it is not absolutely necessary for success, having a passion for your work can help you get through many of the challenges that will come your way. Maybe you’re starting a business in an industry you are already familiar with, or maybe you’re going to try something completely new. In any case, make sure you are interested in the work you’ll be doing.
Consider Your Education
If you want any chance of succeeding on your entrepreneurial journey, you must embrace the importance of education. Whether you have a formal or informal education, possessing the knowledge and skills necessary to excel in your industry is non-negotiable. We’ve all heard of the billionaire entrepreneurs who’ve dropped out of high school or college to start businesses in their garages. But that doesn’t mean they stopped learning.
Think about how you can expand your skillset and learn more about your field. Maybe you need to return to school for a degree (online degrees offer plenty of flexibility in terms of scheduling and course load), or perhaps you just need to dive into business and leadership books, training with a mentor, going to seminars, and pursuing your education through other informal avenues.
Research the Market
Once you’ve thought about your interests and education, it’s time to brainstorm business ideas and conduct research. Make a list of some possibilities that match your interests and expertise, and research the market in your industry, community, region, and beyond to figure out if there is a need or gap that your idea can accommodate.
For example, if you want to open up a barbershop, how many other barber shops already exist in your neighborhood? If you want to open up an eCommerce health food store, what does the global market competition look like?
Create a Business Plan
So, you’ve narrowed down your options to one viable business idea. Now, it is time to put it into a plan. Create a business plan that outlines the details of your future company, including your mission statement, product or service descriptions, target audience, marketing strategies, financial needs, and any other relevant information. This will help guide you through challenges ahead, help you make important business decisions, and aid you as you seek funding.
Establish a Legal Structure
The most common legal structures for new small businesses are sole proprietorship, limited liability company (LLC), and corporations. One of the most versatile structures is the LLC, which can protect you from liability and yield various tax benefits.
Setting up and managing an LLC can also be easier than doing so for a corporation, especially when you use online formation services. Moreover, these types of services can help ensure that your LLC is compliant with state regulations.
Develop Your Branding
After getting some of the legal obligations out of the way, it is a good time to start putting your branding elements in place. This includes settling on a business name, drawing up a logo, and choosing the font and color scheme you want to be associated with your company.
It’s difficult to overstate the importance of branding, because as Keep points out, it will significantly influence the perceptions customers have of your company. Effective branding backed by superb products or services can build recognition, trust, and loyalty among your base.
Build a Website
It probably comes as no surprise that you need a website for your business. But you don’t need just any kind of website; you need one that is going to stand out. As with many tips listed here, you might want to consider hiring a professional to build you a top-notch site that will attract and engage users. It must look good, load fast, and contain visual and written content that will keep users on your site. Furthermore, it must be easy to navigate.
Building a business is difficult and you’re going to need help from mentors and other professionals. If you dedicate the time and energy to making new connections with those in your community and industry, you can gain access to various benefits such as starting loans, crucial advice, and new opportunities. Plus, you never know when you’ll meet your next business partner, employee, or mentor!
Hire a Financial Advisor
Most entrepreneurs invest at least a little of their own money into their start-ups. If you will be bootstrapping your business at least partially, it is recommended to build up savings. After all, first businesses often fail. That’s not to discourage you, it’s just to illustrate the importance of having a backup plan and a little money in the bank.
One of the best investments you can make is to hire a financial advisor in the early stages of your venture. Bankrate explains that this type of professional can work closely with you to help you make critical decisions, navigate the obstacles ahead, and create a budget along with many other financial responsibilities.
Bootstrapping your business is ideal. But most entrepreneurs are not able to do that. Having a great business plan written out can go a long way in helping you secure funding from investors like venture capitalists and angel investors.
That said, there are plenty of other options to consider, such as crowdfunding, small business grants, and small business loans. Do your research to see what is available to you, and be sure not to commit to something you will not be able to pay back over time.
Promote Your Services or Products
When you’ve created your branding and have the legal and financial pieces in place, you’ll want to start promoting your business as soon as possible. Ideally, you’ll roll out your marketing strategy at least a few months before launching. Learn how to effectively promote your brand through social media, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, email, and any other channels that can help you get the word out.
Invest in Tools
So much of the business landscape revolves around technology these days. The advantage of this is that there are a plethora of software products and tech tools that can help you run a business more efficiently in virtually every aspect. Research the market to determine which accounting, project management, communication, collaboration, and consumer relationship management (CRM) tools can help you set the stage for long-term success.
Plant Your Headquarters
Lastly, you’re going to need a place to work. Many entrepreneurs find working from home is ideal because it provides the ultimate convenience and flexibility while also being the most cost-effective. If you choose to work from home, be sure to create a dedicated workspace that allows you to work comfortably and productively.
Along with investing in any necessary tools, make sure you have all the equipment you need, such as an ergonomic office chair and desk with enough surface area to hold essential tools within reach. And consider how you can decorate and furnish your office so that it matches your personality while also looking professional.
Entrepreneurship comes with its fair share of risks and difficult decisions. But if you prepare accordingly and determine from the start that you will work harder than normal, you can position yourself for a long-lasting, fulfilling, and rewarding career. Along with following the tips above, never stop researching and learning how you can become a better entrepreneur.
When you’re ready to pull the trigger and get this going, give us a call at Reardon & Associates and we can help make sure the personal and business financials are in place to make the most of your new future!
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