3 Misconceptions About Starting Your Own Business

Many people see successful businesses and think “what a simple idea, why didn’t I think of that?” But what they often don’t realize is the sheer amount of planning and work that went into making that business a success – not to mention the money spent. In fact, there are a lot of misconceptions that people have about starting a business. Here are three of the most common.

License: Creative Commons image source
License: Creative Commons image source

1. It is All About the Product

When it comes down to it, if your business starts with a bad product, it cannot succeed. However, just because your business starts with a good product, it does not necessarily mean that it is guaranteed to succeed. One of the biggest assumptions that people make when starting a business is that people will actually buy their product. Whether it is because of bad marketing, unaffordable prices, or just a bad product, there are many reasons why certain ideas do not take off with consumers. Extensive research is needed to prevent this sort of a problem. Things such as surveys, market research, and focus groups will help you to know what people want, as well as where there is space in the market. Again, you could have the best idea in the world, but if it will be entering an already saturated market, it will struggle to take off.

2. Money is All the Motivation That I Need

Obviously you are going into this business wanting to make some money, but if you sole motivation is that you want to make a million dollars, you might just want to rethink it all. It is incredibly hard for a startup business to even break even, let alone start making money, and this will take a lot of hard work and time. When not much else is going for you, passion and sheer enjoyment of the work that you do will be the only things that carry you through. Your business is also much more likely to succeed if you are creating it because of an interest and talent for business, and passion about your product or service.

3. A Business Plan is Ironclad

The most common piece of entrepreneur advice is to have a solid business plan. Firstly, it is important to have a business plan. Not only will it help you organize your ideas and prepare for what comes next, but you will need it to present to potential investors who will help you to fund your venture. But one mistake that people make is over planning, as well as taking a plan too far. As you start your business, you will soon realize that it is full of hurdles to overcome, and pits to climb out of. The business world is notoriously fickle and constantly changing. This makes it almost impossible to have an ironclad business plan, because within a few months, it is likely that you will just have to throw it out of the window. Good businesses quickly learn to adapt to the changing needs of the market, and those are the ones that survive.

About the Author: Robert Cordray is a freelance writer and expert in business and finances. He has received many accolades for his work in teaching and small business consultation.

Start Your Own Web Design Company And Make Money Straight Away

When you start your own web design business the hardest thing is finding customers. You might be great at design, but perhaps you don’t quite have the right marketing skills to get it off the ground. This could be the difference between surviving or going under. At the very least you need to be bringing in enough money to put food on your table. So what will you do? Will you throw up your fancy website and wait for clients to get in contact? 

If you answered yes to that question then you might find yourself down at the employment office faster than you think. The easiest way to find clients is by getting off your seat and hunting them down. Now you might be wondering how you can hunt down clients. You won’t even know where they are. Will you just stop random people in the street and ask them if they’d like a website? I’m sure they’d really like that. 

Local businesses 

The perfect opportunity lies for you in the local business market. You need to start by making a list of all the local businesses in your local area. Have a plan before you begin. Now you can start picking up the phone and calling around, but the chances you will even get to speak to someone in charge is pretty low.

The only way you can maximize your chances is by going around on foot. Personally going inside each shop and asking to speak to the person in charge. First you must go to the businesses that don’t already have a website. Sell it to them. Once you have made your way around I’d like to think you’ll have closed some sales. 

Take an iPad 

Unless you’re the best salesperson in the world it could be quite difficult to sell a website to someone if they have no idea what it will look like. They don’t know you and what you’re capable of. They have no reason to trust you with anything. If you take an iPad with you this can completely change the outcome. 

Show them your best work. Make it hard for them to say no. If you are letting them see how great their website will be it could be hard for them to resist. Once it’s in their face they might become attached to it. Especially if they were already thinking of having one done. And who isn’t these days? 

Make extra money 

Let’s imagine you have made the sale. Actually, imagine you have went around everyone on your list and are booked for the next few months. You can’t make any more money. Your profit is based on how many websites you can design and unless you take on more employees it’s hard to scale. 

But not if you team up with an SEO company. If you can do this, you can up-sell them services to take their new website to the top of the search engines. Now you can take a commission for finding the SEO company extra work. It’s an easy way to make more money without the hassle of more staff. What do you think?

About the Author: James is a proficient blogger who writes articles on web designing and development. He is recognized as a keynote speaker for delivering excellent speeches, corporate presentations and trainings that are educational, motivational and entertaining.

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.

Doing business like a pro!

We all have some dreams we would like to come true. Some dream big, others small; but what truly matters is how you plan on achieving what you want. So you dream of owning your own business? Running it successfully? Believe in yourself, after all big corporate giants like Google, Apple, Sony also started somewhere. Well here are some small business tips for all the budding entrepreneurs to keep in mind.

5 tips of the wise:

  • You don’t necessarily have to start your business from scratch. If you find a small business that you believe you can benefit from, buy it. You can either grow it or sell it for an even bigger return.
  • Do you have a lot of dough to start with? Good! Hold on to it. There is no need for a young business to have a very lavish office and setup. Buy and spend very wisely. Old office furniture can be just as useful and serve the purpose. You can save all your extra cash for a rainy day. Just because you have it doesn’t mean you should blow it
  • Who are you? And what can you offer? A good business always has a sense of direction. Make a game plan, set goals and go about how you are going to achieve them. Keep in mind who you are exactly targeting
  • What makes you so different? Think about what makes you standout in the crowd. Always go the extra mile for customer satisfaction. This will never fail you. After all happy customers are loyal customers
  • Most importantly, exercise gratitude. Towards your employees, your customers, and your own self. Research in the field of human resource management shows that appreciation goes a long way to ensure success. It is a tool not frequently used by employers.

The toughest is the battle within:

As much as capital and resources are needed to start your own venture, some things come easily and without any cost. A bit of planning and smart thinking can make your journey of success a whole lot smoother. Though the road leading you towards your goals may not always be easy to tread upon, a positive outlook and determination can always ease your burden.

No matter what line of business you pursue, always believe that you have something unique to give to the world. It is only when you find out everything good has already been done, you push yourself to create something even better.

And one more thing:

As quoted by Steve Jobs, “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower”. Knowledge is truly Power and today’s world is the most volatile it has ever been. Always keep educating yourself, learn, explore. There is no limit to the knowledge one can attain. There is always innovation in the world around us. New marketing techniques, management studies, growth opportunity factors; if one stays aloof to changing times he will be left behind. So always nurture your talents and keep polishing them in order to shine.

About the Author: The author is currently pursuing a degree in business administration and has a penchant for writing about modern day management techniques w.r.t. your credit card and organizational behavior.

How To Create Your Own Business?

Creating your business is starting a life full of rewards and difficulties as creating your own business has pros and cons. Starting your own business requires focus and time because you have to make it grow and succeed. There are a lot of steps and advices on how to start a business. Here are some of the great ways on how you can get through the startup phase of a business.

Conceptualize and Start with Your Own Idea

Starting your own business may need your own idea on the products or services that you are going to offer. Starting with your own idea means that you take hold of your own business; you can have additional advices from other people, but your own idea is most important because it is what you are going to offer the public.

Do research

Since you are just starting, looking into business plans of other small and large companies will be helpful in assisting you start your business. Research for your possible customers, how much you need, where should you advertise, who are your competitors and how will you compete with them. Research is one of the steps in planning your own business.

Draft your business plan

After researching, make your own business plan, which you will use in undertaking your own business. Make a thorough financial planning as to how much you need in order to fund all the aspects of your business.

Identify sources of funds

You have to determine if you need financing from bank loans, credit cards or others. You can also self-finance if you have adequate funds. It is important to have in your business plan the probable expenses in order for you to produce the adequate funds you are going to need. It is also important to allot a sufficient salary for yourself in order to mind your living as you still enter into a new world of business where several possibilities maybe met.

Make complete and updated list of your clients

The customers are the best asset of a business because the income of the business comes from them.

Have a clean book

This does not mean having book to read, but a list of the finances such as the expenses of income of the business. Most of the small busies do not accounting of their finances, which is very hard for them to know if they are gaining or not.

Have an electronic credit card machine

Even how small your business may be, it is important to have a credit card machine because other customers always have to pay using credit cards and you don’t want to lose any clients just because they will not be able to pay you with their cards.
Find the purpose of your business

In every business, it is important that you know where you are going and what your mission is. In this way, you become more inspired to start and maintain your own business.

Creating your own business will never be easy, but what is important is you have the passion and inspiration to start it.

About the Author: Amarendra, the author likes to write on how to start and register a company. He is blogger, freelance writer and SEO.

The Beginner’s Guide to e-Commerce

In the current economic climate where employment opportunities can be scarce at best establishing a small business can seem like a tempting proposition. Being self-employed can free an individual from the endless process of job hunting and provide much desired independence.

However, establishing a business is not as straightforward as some may presume. There is a lot more involved in creating and managing a business than may at first be imagined. The owner of the company is not only responsible for day to day operations but also for managing the business itself.

A working business idea

In many respects coming up with a working business idea can be the most difficult part of establishing a new business. The majority of entrepreneurs approach this problem from one of two very different directions: having a business idea and creating a business based upon it or simply having the desire to create a business with a working business idea yet to be created.

Either way, caution should be exercised. In the first instance the prospective entrepreneur must ensure that there is a market for the business and that they do not simply press ahead with the idea based upon passion and emotion. This would be a sure route to failure.

In the second instance the prospective entrepreneur should ensure that the business idea that is adopted is of course viable but they should also ensure that they have sufficient knowledge and enthusiasm for the product. This is essential to succeed.

The basics of e-commerce

Once the newly established business has a product with which it can proceed, the next challenge is to create the infrastructure necessary to sell the product. This generally starts with a website. For more sound business cases this may involve designing and building a professional website or having one created on the business’ behalf.

ecommerce basics
ECommerce 101

If the desire is to simply test the water before committing significant resources many companies have found eBay to be a good starting point. Products can be advertised and sold on eBay for minimum investment and maximum return.

Of course the business should ensure that it has sufficient stock to be able to sell to clients, whether using eBay or a professional website. Moreover, the business should consider supplies of consumables including cardboard boxes, jiffy bags and other packaging. The business should also consider the creation of address labels, packing slips and invoices.

Business development

It is always a fine balance between failing to take advantage of a market and overreaching too soon. The business should be ready to take full advantage of the market if it is available and the sale of the product is successful.

However, the business should also ensure that the infrastructure is in place to support this expansion to prevent overreaching. The company should aim to expand progressively in a controlled and calculated manner. By doing so, the owner of the company can ensure continued success and this will allow the business to grow naturally.

Everything You need to Know about Starting Carpet Cleaning Business

Many people understand the importance of using professional cleaning services and appreciate the solutions that carpet cleaning businesses provide. On the other hand, many people are in search of either full time or part time income earning opportunities. If you are considering starting this type of business, you have a good opportunity to generate an impressive income because plenty of opportunities are available in commercial and residential properties.

Business start-ups require entrepreneurs to do their homework well by researching on every aspect of the business and having a business plan prior to launching. Rug cleaning is no different. You are likely to have a successful business if you arm yourself with all the necessary information about the business.

carpet cleaning business
How to start a successful carpet cleaning business?

Business location

Most entrepreneurs who get into the business of cleaning carpets start their businesses from home. Some may eventually move to other business premises, but this implies additional cost. Before you decide to base your business in your home, find out about the local authority’s regulations that govern the running businesses from residential premises.

If you choose to rent commercial premises, identify a reasonably priced facility with ample space that meets your business operations requirements.

What do you know?

One of the best things about starting a rug cleaning business is that you hardly require any special skills or certification. However, you need to have good knowledge of professional equipment and products used for cleaning carpets in addition to learning skills necessary for running a successful business.

Hiring staff with experience in cleaning rugs is a good idea if you only have basic knowledge of the business. You will need to keep updating your knowledge about new cleaning equipment, supplies and invest in those that will add most value to your business.

Licensing

For this type of business, you will require to obtain a Business License before getting started. You may find it necessary to incorporate your business once you grow your assets.

Determine your clientele

Some businesses serve multiple clients successfully while others choose to target a niche market and focus on meeting their needs. Your research should guide you on which market you can serve best and create customer loyalty.

To franchise or not? 

Franchising is a good option when you are starting out. Your business gets support in terms of marketing, advertising and operations. It is much easier to work with an already established business with a known name. However, franchising may not work to your advantage once your business is established. 

Equipment

You will need to invest in cleaning equipment like steam and vacuum cleaners as well as cleaning supplies. You can start with light equipment and upgrade as your business grows. In addition, you have a choice between buying and hiring cleaning equipment. You may need to consider purchasing a van to transport equipment and staff.

Hiring Staff

Lounge cleaning businesses require workforce especially cleaners, assistants and administrative staff. The amount of work determines the size of workforce. Recruit staff with knowledge of using the equipment used in cleaning carpets.

Pricing

Draw up a reasonable pricing plan for your rug cleaning services. You are starting a business to provide a service in return for profit. Therefore, your pricing should allow you to cover your expenses and give you a profit.

Marketing

Getting your marketing right can mean business success. Establish and maximize on the most effective marketing and advertising strategies for your business.

Image: Frederick Md Publicity / Flickr

Best At Home Businesses For Stay At Home Moms

It’s tough these days to make all the ends meet in our financial lives. With everything becoming more and more expensive, and many employers actually offering pay cuts instead of pay raises, more and more families are requiring two incomes to stay above the financial waters. As a mother, however, you may desperately desire to stay at home with your children. Well, you can. Now, there are jobs for stay at home moms, but for the purposes of this article, I would like to focus a few home-based businesses that you can start with relative ease.

The first one is day care. Now, I’m not saying you need to do an overhaul of your house to convert it into a modern-day day-care facility. Simply watching a few children every day can easy bring in hundreds, even a few thousand dollars a month extra. Day care is very expensive, as you know, so if you’ve earned the trust of parents with young children, you can easily persuade them to allow you to take care of their children instead of some day care. You could charge dramatically less than the average day care, and still come out way ahead.

Another great opportunity that few moms consider is to be a freelance writer. You don’t need to be an experienced writer; you just need to have some knowledge in a given topic. Companies like About.com will allow you to write on topics at your leisure and pay you well for it. This is a great business to start because the work is provided for you, and you can do it whenever you like.

Now, as I mentioned, there are jobs for stay at home moms which you can certainly pursue as well, but being able to have your own business from home will allow you to have the maximum amount of flexibility to tend to the needs of your children and your home.

How to Start a Business

It takes more than just dreams to start a business. You need to acquire the knowledge of the kind of business you would like to set up. You will need to have a realistic plan of action and most importantly; you will need to have the discipline and the drive to carry out your plan of action. Starting your own business would be fulfilling for your personal and career life, but it is not only for you. It can also open employment opportunities for others which would further contribute to the development and progress of a community and the country at large. It is a very ambitious dream and goal to pursue.

It is very important to have a clear vision in your mind about the kind of business that you want. Without this vision, you will not have a foundation. You will not be able to create a realistic plan that may persuade the bank or financial institution to give you a loan. In essence, you have no grounds to build anything and you are just an empty vessel. It is therefore important to think about what you would like to do and the kind of business you would create from it. In addition, you need to think about how you would affect others. Would people find your business useful or productive to their lives? You need to ask yourself if what you are about to create if it will make a difference.

Once you have a vision in mind; for example, maybe you would want to start a magazine company or a fashion store. Whatever it is you will need to do some research to find out what is already on the market and if it is similar to your vision how are you going to do something different and unique; what kind of spin will you put to it. The research will also give you further tips and ideas on how you can start. There are not really any hard and fast rules.

After the theoretical aspect of your idea of creating your own business, you will need to begin planning. The plan is the meat of the matter so to speak. The plan will take into consideration where you will get the money for the manifestation of the business; where will be the location of your business? What are the resources, products etcetera that you need and how much you need for a start? How will you market your business to get customers, clients or investors? What will you offer them? How will you market yourself that you make back the funds to pay your loan and to meet your needs and the needs of the business? The planning may be overwhelming but it will be the anchor for your idea and help you to bring forth your vision.

You will need to build a network of individuals who will assist and aid you in your mission. You need financial people, public relations people, analysts, communication personnel. These invaluable human resources will help you build your empire.

Finally, you need to create a schedule of what you will do every day to reach the objective of getting your business on the ground, up and running.

Tips and Warning

  • Starting your own business can be overwhelming but it will be satisfying at the end of the day. It would be a good idea to seek out a mentor who will keep you in tune with your goals of starting your own business.
  • Remember to always acknowledge those who help you.
  • In order for your business to strive you must offer something unique and affordable and it must be within an area that will support your business.

For more information on starting your own business, read Home Business Startup Ideas and Beyond the Startup.