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.

How to Start a Business from Your Hobby (Infographic)

Regardless of how wrong some experts think about starting a business from your hobby, it is probably the most effective and efficient one. There are some reasons to that…

Firstly, you don’t have to learn about anything from scratch. It’s YOUR hobby; you ARE the expert; even if you need to learn the technicality of your hobby, you are half-way there.

Secondly, it’s YOUR passion. People can be passionate about entrepreneurship; but if you are passionate about entrepreneurship AND everything you do and every product you create/service you offer, you are taking shortcut.

But still, just like any other business, you need to take some steps to startup right. Make it Cheaper, the business cost-saving expert, publishes this interest infographic about turning your talent or hobby into a business – check this out (please click on the infographic for the original size…)

Turn your talent into a business
Source: Make It Cheaper: The Saving Experts for Business

For the Beginners: Tips for Running a Successful Restaurant

Every restaurant owner dreams of running an exciting, successful restaurant, but many don’t have a clue on how to do this. Where do you start? Do you start with a killer menu, a great bar area, an atmosphere that is the envy of the other restaurants? Well, the answer is yes to all of the above. Below are a few tips in running a successful restaurant:

restaurant business

  1. Location – We’ve all heard the real estate experts say location, location, location when searching for a great home, well this is also true when scouting out a place for your new restaurant. Depending on your budget, you may be able to have a great spot in the middle of a bustling city, but if your budget is a little tighter, you can still have a successful business with a little effort. Check out the towns that are near a big city. Many of them have great atmospheres, and people love being able to walk to the “local joint.”
  2. Bar Area – Having a great bar area where people can mingle is key to any successful restaurant. Think about how many people sit in the bar, order a drink and wait for a dining table to become available. If the bar area is too small, this will force people to stand around and wait for their table as opposed to sitting and enjoying a drink and maybe even an appetizer in the bar. Having enough room in the bar will ensure your revenue to go up because of the extra drinks and appetizers being served.
  3. Live Entertainment – This is a nice touch to any establishment. Customers very likely will come to your restaurant before their reservation to sit in the bar, have a cocktail and listen to music. They may even come back to the bar area after their dinner to enjoy a nice after dinner drink and enjoy the music. Music makes people happy, and happy people spend money!
  4. Friendly Service – People go out to eat to enjoy themselves, whether it is for a celebration, or just a well deserved night out. By having a friendly, knowledgeable group of people working for you will make people feel at ease and relaxed, which in turn will make them want to visit your restaurant again and again. Repeat customers are important to running a successful restaurant.
  5. Food – We all know that having great food will bring customers in the door, but try to find your niche. Do you want to run an expensive, fine dining establishment, or a more casual restaurant? Only you can determine that, but be sure to stay within your limits. Don’t decide to open a fine dining restaurant that doesn’t have the food to back it up. You will need to hire qualified chefs that are familiar with fine dining and all that goes along with it. However, if you decide to go a more casual route, you can have fun with the menu. Try having a “signature” dish or cocktail that is different from your competitors.

Whatever kind of restaurant you decide to open, be sure to make it a nice place where people will want to frequent. Successful restaurants all have a few things in common, great food, great people and great atmosphere. Don’t underestimate the power of the consumer. After all, they are the ones you are trying to please.

About the Author: Jackie White is a professional blogger that writes on a variety of topics including Boston restaurants. She writes for Restaurants.com, a leading directory of restaurant reviews.

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.

Unique Business Plans: Your First Line of Defense

While startups are making a splash in the business world, there is still no lack of criticism. Every business publication touts the small business failures and disheartening statistics. As a small business owner or budding entrepreneur, however, you can avoid being just another statistic.

Startup Genome found that 1 in 12 startups fail – another saddening statistic; the sources of this failure being customers, product, team, business model and funding. Unfortunately, not all of these are within your control.

In fact, many of them may spiral out of your hands before you even get a chance to steer it back on course. But, the one thing you can change is your business model. How do you do that? Write an effective business plan.

“Creating a business plan allows you to identify potential problems and opportunities your business might face, avoid penalties, fines or other legal problems, adapt to changes in the marketplace and let you expand or contract from a position of objectivity.” – Smallbusiness.chron.com

business plan

Image by Yodel Anecdotal / Flickr

Deviate From the Traditional

When starting your first business plan, you’ll probably take to the internet. There you’ll find business plan templates, business plan suggestions, sample and more. While these are good sources to start with, I find it’s best to focus on what your business plan needs instead of focusing on someone else’s.

There are different kinds of business plans, and you should choose the one that best first your business model and intentions. Entrepreneur.com suggests these three types:

  • Mini plan: your miniplan should cover the most important aspects of your business, such as finances, cash flow, and overall concept. This is meant to be a quick introduction, and should be accompanied by a more in-depth write up.
  • Working plan: Use this to lay out the details of your business operations, which are often the root cause of business setbacks. Avoid hiring and product issues down the line by taking your time with this.
  • Presentation plan: This is a polished document, meant to impress and inform potential investors, lenders, or financial backers.

Use Mind Maps

The traditional business plan lays out basic information and has been integral to business owners for a long time. Yet, it may not be in depth enough to keep you from being another one of those miserable facts. So, it’s time for some mind mapping. This is effective in business planning as it allows you to assess every facet of the business, where it could go wrong, and how you’ll handle it, but in a visual fashion.

When you do this, you end up building your business model around potential pitfalls. With such a high failure rate, this will be key in identifying problems before they arise, and handling them correctly if they do. As Entrepreneurship.org said, “A well-written business plan doesn’t oversell the good, undersell the bad or ignore the ugly!”

  • Start with all your basic business sub-categories: Finances, product, staffing, etc.
  • From there, build your circles out with an arm for potential pitfalls, room for advancement, and your over-all vision for that sector.
  • Continue this until you can go no longer. This may take days or weeks, spending a little time here and there, and that is okay.

Set Goals

The greatest benefit of any business plan is goal setting. When you set goals, you have a framework to operate in and a vision of what’s to come. This is essential to any successful business plan. In an interview with Inc.com, founder of The Killer Pitch suggested, “You have to know what you’re going for, and do it with your eyes wide open.” To make your goal setting effective, be sure that you focus on making them:

  • Attainable: Set goals that are achievable. It’s easy to be discouraged when you aren’t meeting goals – so start small.
  • Far fetching: On that same note, do write some goals that may seem out of your reach right now. Having something to strive for will always benefit you in the end.
  • Time sensitive: Make goals for next week, next month, and next year. Having a due date holds you accountable.

Writing a business plan may seem like a daunting task, but it’s one worth taking on. To avoid being another statistic take time to write out your goals, obstacles, desires and vision. Not only will this keep you on track, but help you stay in focus when other problems start tearing you down.

About the Author: Jessica Sanders is an avid small business writer touching on topics that range from social media to business management. She is a professional blogger and web content writer for ResourceNation.com.

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.

5 Steps To Set Up Your Own Business in Australia

After much planning, you have made the decision to move Down Under. You want to set up your own business in Australia to allow you to take advantage of all what Australia has to offer including sun, sea and surf. Here are 5 steps to help set up your business in Australia.

1. TFN

This is your Tax File Number, which is the same as a National Insurance Number in the UK or a Social Security Number in the US. Everyone needs a TFN which is issued by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) before they are able to work. It shows they have the legal right to work in Australia and are paying taxes. Everyone has a different TFN and it stays with you your whole working life so that the Government can identify your tax records. If you do not have a TFN, you will be paying emergency tax which is 46.5%.

australia banner
Image: marc falardeau / Flickr

2. ABN

Every person that is self employed and is running a business, has an ABN (although it is not compulsory). You will need to use your ABN when dealing with other businesses, (when doing work for them), when filing your tax returns, if you are registered for GST (goods sales tax). Once you have your TFN you can then apply for your ABN, which can take up to 4 weeks. The ABN will be used when you file your tax returns at the end of the financial year, which runs July to July.

3. Contact An Accountant

It is important to get in touch with an accountant at the earliest possibility. This will help you to sort out your tax before you start bringing in a lot of business. The last thing you want to doing before the end of the tax year is finding out you have not been paying enough tax. The amount of tax you pay is dependent on your earnings and whether you are classified as an Australian resident. If you have to buy products for your company and travel costs, you can claim these as an expense.

4. Set Up Your Website

As you have just come into a new market, you will need to do a lot of advertising to promote yourself and be seen in Australia. The best way to do this is to set up your own website. If you already have one, then you will need to amend the details to include your new location. If you do not yet have a site, there are many companies in Australia that offer affordable web design solutions.

5. Print Your Business Cards

Once you have your website, you will need to ensure you have some business cards printed with your website address, new Australian mobile and landline number (should you have one).

About the Author: The article is written by Jo Turnbull. There are many printing services in Australia. Visit your local printing company to see what’s on offer.

Launching Your Own Digital Start-Up

Digital businesses are the buzzword today. These are not brick-and-mortar businesses; in fact, these are computers and Internet entities. The creation of a digital business is not very difficult, and requires far less money than a land-based or traditional business. However, like everything new, it requires careful planning and preparation.

Good Idea

Begin with a good idea, and then expand upon it. There should be clarity on what the business is all about, what is it going to sell or do, and what are the aims and goals of the business. The conceptual process is probably the most important part of any business; since, it lays the groundwork for all that shall come later.

Domain Name

Register a domain name which represents the name of the business. It should be easy to remember and easy to access. Registration of a domain name also gives email ID’s and, in some cases, websites are also part of the package. As in a traditional start-up business, the name should reflect the aim or purpose of the company.

digital business tips

Website

The most important aspect of a digital business is its website. It is the face and the office of the company and it is the first point of contact for the clients. An error-free and well-designed website is the biggest asset a digital business can have. It is equivalent to having the best manufacturing facility a company can afford. Navigation through the website should be easy, the content should be clear and crisp, and all contact information should be clearly marked. The images should reflect exactly what the company is selling, or offering to the clients. In a traditional start-up, the office or factory is the productive space; and in a digital start-up, the computer replaces the factory or the office. A digital start-up is not limited by the location; it can be conducted from anywhere defying geographical boundaries.

Financial Software

The second most important part of a digital start-up firm is the quality of the financial software being used. All transactions should be securely routed, and the client should be able to make payments easily with a single click of the mouse. Credit card processors and payment platforms should be an inherent part of the financial software. This should be arranged much before the first sale goes through. Any glitches can lead to the loss of good customers, and also monetary losses.

Communication Strategy

Keeping in touch with customers has now become very easy due to the various online platforms. Social media, email newsletters, and websites – all these have made the world move closer, but it has also enhanced the need for excellent communication strategies. Attention spans have become shorter; hence, information needs to be condensed into fewer words and presented in a crisp manner. There has to be quick interaction with the clients, the response times need to be much shorter than they would be for traditional businesses and since there is no personal interaction, the written words should be satisfactory.

About the Author: This article is written by James Bentham.

Image: renjith krishnan