Factors to Consider When Thinking About Starting a Business

Starting up you own business is often seen as a way of achieving a very comfortable working environment and making a lot more money than if you stay working for someone else. All of this is very often true, and a lot of people do make a lot of money from their own businesses.

There are also a number of advantages, from being your own boss and setting your own working hours to longer holidays, picking the jobs and contracts or type of work that you want to do, (rather than being told), building relationships with your customers and your staff and the satisfaction of building something that contributes to your community and provides for your family. These are all great advantages and all possible for anyone who does start their own business. However, a lot of people start out with rose tinted glasses and don’t weigh up the other side of the coin – how risky it can be going out on your own and what a massive decision it is to leave a career and work for yourself. Being your own boss also means the buck stops with you and there is no safety net.

Entering startup
Image by dierken / Flickr

If you are thinking about making the leap, here are some of the questions you should ask yourself first:

1. Can You Afford the Risk You Will Be Taking?

Starting your own business is a lot easier when you are younger and don’t have so many dependents. If you’ve got kids and a mortgage, outstanding debts and not much leeway financially, then you should think long and hard about starting your own business. You must weigh up what would happen if the business was to fail and how such a failure would affect you financially. Then work out how it would affect your family if it failed. Additionally it is necessary to weigh up how long your family could cope with a smaller income (or none at all) that would inevitably come with the first few months of starting your business.

2. Have You Got A Financial Safety Net?

If you have a family and people that depend on you for your income then the only way to start a business safely is with a financial safety net in place just in case things don’t work out as well as you hope they will. A financial safety net could be anything from a large amount of untouchable savings to stocks and shares to a family home that is fully paid off. Make certain that your family home and savings are fully protected from any potential failure of your business (talk to an accountant about this) and that you have something set aside should everything go wrong.

3. Have You Budgeted Enough Money for Your New Start Up?

However much you have budgeted for your new venture, it probably wont be enough. There are always costs that people forget about or underestimate so it is essential to have a good business plan and then get a financial expert to look over that business plan and critique it. Think about the startup costs of everything from leasing an office to buying furniture and stationery, computer equipment and setting up utilities. Then there will be website hosting, website design, SEO, copywriting as well as the cost of creating business brochures and cards and other forms of advertising. Once you’ve thought about all that you need to consider how much to pay yourself (and other staff) as well as the cost of business rates and other expenses. Lastly, there will be the costs of your lawyer and your accountant, both necessary when starting a business.

4. Can You Commit the Time to a Business Start-Up?

Again, if you have a family or a busy social life, are you willing to make the necessary sacrifices to make your business work? Almost certainly in the first year or two you will have less time available to spend with your family or to socialize with friends. If you don’t feel you will be able to commit nearly all of your time to the business and will be able to drop everything when an emergency, or big client, comes along, then starting your own business might not be for you. Similarly, make sure your family is ok with your decision too, as this will affect them as much as it does you.

About the Author: Esther is a business blogger and writer. She blogs every week about business and finance issues covering everything from business loans to credit cards and from small business marketing to SEO. She also blogs about consumer finance and short term loans for a payday loans uk blog.

Tips for Internet Startups

While there is a lower threshold these days for starting a business online, it still isn’t as easy as the movies make it out to be. It’s still a business – you’re going to need to consider overhead costs, who to hire, what kind of profit margin you’re looking for – and if these are all things that are over your head – if you’re an “ideas man” (or woman) you’re going to have to find someone you can work with that can translate your vague goals and ideas into actionable metrics and concrete, well-articulated goals.

Find the idea

If you’re just venturing into the world of e-business, what follows is a primer of those things that you are probably going to encounter and have to consider when starting up your internet start-up.

Think Big

There are a few different facets to this concept when applied to internet start-ups. The first angle of interpretation for “thinking big” comes with branding. Branding is an integral part of your long-term strategy and can determine what markets a company eventually enters into, and succeeds, in. Branding is not the red-headed stepchild – it’s not something that you can neglect until after your first product has launched, in fact, having the proper branding and image to project to angel investors or venture capitalists can make or break the success of your first product.

And then there is the “think big” side of the product itself. I mean, look at Google – do you think they would be as successful as they are today if they set out to “organize the information of the United States”? Nope. Their mission is nothing smaller than organizing the worlds information.

Always Innovate

Internet companies never stop innovating, never stop changing or expanding. Google is constantly innovating, adding new product lines (and cutting them out if they fail). And just in the nature of the internet, there is always a greater user base, and more features that you are able to add as you proactively respond to the customer. Look at Twitter – their offering is pretty straightforward – 140 character social status updates, but what their interface encompasses keeps expanding – from picture and video integration to new profile layouts – they always strive for a better product. 

When you’re starting an internet company, be wary of the lures of monetization and hubris. A product is never the best that it can be, and while you don’t want to fall the other direction and not release a product until it’s absolutely perfect, you never want to stop making a product better, either.

Be Social

Funny we talked about Twitter in the previous section, because probably one of the most important things that a start-up can do is get the word out – and in the internet, “word of mouth” is the social sphere – Twitter, Facebook, Google+, oh my!

While these can be a time suck, getting involved can be quite key for getting the word out about your product, and creating a loyal base of early-adopter users (and actually listening to what they have to say). 

Don’t Forget There is a World Outside of Google

While you may be an internet start-up, don’t forget about traditional marketing either! While it may be less relevant for you if you don’t also have a brick-and-mortar store, neglecting other forms of advertisements is probably just as silly. GoDaddy just had a Superbowl advertisement, and they don’t have a brick-and-mortar store – they exist entirely in the cyber sphere.

You are going to want to analyze your business model and your competition and see what arenas could be most profitable for you in terms of reach. At this point in your business life cycle it may not be practical to move beyond your internet sphere, but don’t neglect traditional marketing, either.

Stay Organized

You may be the “ideas man” with grand plans, but how are you going to execute them? Do you have some sort of integrated software, or a bunch of different software programs that will help you keep your ducks (and your money) in line? Are you always late to meetings? If you really are dedicated to making your business work, that’s going to have to change – or you’re going to have to hire someone to stay organized for you, manage all your invoices and paperwork, time clocks and facilities (even if it’s just your home office).

Sarah Stevens is a writer who works most often with a company that makes sure that your company is kept running smoothly with asset management software – and she hope that if this article inspires you to create the next big thing you’ll offer her a finder’s fee!