Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual.
Plan, plan, plan! When your idea is fresh and exciting, it’s easy to start without a thought to how it will pan out and all the implications. There’s nothing worse than an uncompleted project. It can completely ruin your confidence. So here are the steps you should take.
- Come up with an idea, product or service. Put it down on paper. You’re more likely to succeed if you plan. Put down things like name of the business, what resources you need, short and long term business and financial goals.
- Chart your way to financial success. What price do you intend to sell your product or service for? How much will it cost you to produce? Work out a roughly estimated profit remembering to factor in fixed costs like rent, energy etc.
- Check out your competitors. How much are they selling a similar product for. Can you add something to it to make yours different and hence a better price?
- Put down your Unique Selling Proposition. Also how are you going to market your product? Via newspapers, a website, through word of mouth?
- Decide what type of business you would like to be — an incorporation, LLC, etc. This is important for tax purposes.
- Think of how you’re going to finance your business initially. The bank, venture capitalists, angel investors, SBA grants(government), your own savings are all options. Remember the four F’s for invesment: founders (people who share your idea), family, friends and fools.
- Make your product(s) or service available to customers using your marketing strategy above.
- Keep a close eye on your running costs and keep them in-line with your projections.
- Learn. Find buddies, mentors, local business-related organizations, Internet forums, and especially wikis to discuss the details of running a small business. It’s much easier for everyone to perform their core businesses well and prosper when they don’t waste time and energy “reinventing the wheel” on housekeeping.
- Get your accounts in order right from the start. Saves you tedious work later.
- Get a merchant account. A merchant account is a contract under which an acquiring bank extends a line of credit to a merchant, who wishes to accept payment card transactions of a particular card association brand. Without such a contract, one cannot accept payments by any of the major credit card brands.
- Set up payment methods like credit card.
- Keep in mind to always provide VALUE to those who may be your customers.
- You probably can’t beat a big business on price in commodity items, so develop and get recognized for your expertise. Let your customers know they’ll ultimately do more (or enjoy more) with with your maybe-a-little-higher prices and superior guidance or service. Show off a few things on a wikis and make presentations to show your skills. You could even branch out into consulting.
- You might be able to beat a big business in differentiated items like services or decorative goods, too, if you can do better at replacing costly hidebound practices like creating a perception of quality and recognition with an expensive location with cheaper, better ones like making it easy for your customers to praise your quality online.
- With the advent of the internet, online businesses are probably the easiest way to start and very much less expensive in terms of start-up cost than an offline counterpart.
- You can also think of trading on eBay or Overstock.
- A franchise is also a good option if you don’t want to start from scratch.
- Don’t be afraid to experiment with prices.
- A franchise is a great idea although the start-up capital is way too high for most people.
- Find a direct selling company that will provide you the training and support. Also, find a personal mentor that you can trust.
- Most direct selling companies have low start up capital compared to a traditional brick and mortar business. You can also break even rather quickly compared to the traditional business.
- How to Come Up With a Business Idea
- How to Build Your Business Without Advertising
- How to Name Your Business
Sources and Citations
- Starting and Managing a Business, U.S. Small Business Administration – http://www.sba.gov/category/navigation-structure/starting-managing-business
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management OpenCourseWare (free business-school courses) – http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/sloan-school-of-management/
- The Autodesk File – http://www.fourmilab.ch/autofile/“The book traces the company from the first glimmer of an idea in the minds of the founders, through start-up, initial public stock offering, and growth from a loose confederation of moonlighting individuals to a leader in the industry of computer aided design.”
- http://www.getyourebook.com – For step-by-step guide to starting an internet business. Good collection of reviewed business and finance ebooks
- http://www.entrepreneur.com – All round information for small businesses.
- http://www.start-cleaning-business.com – Start a cleaning business with Suze & Ev.