Starting a new business is both exciting and stressful. It's exciting because there are so many places that a new business could take you, and so much potential for success. It's stressful because the success or failure of the business is riding on your shoulders alone. Often it can help lighten the burden a great deal to get some advice from business owners who have gone through the same thing and come out on top. Here's some advice we've collected from business owners over the years.
Get in the Know
You know you want to be your own boss, but do you have a concrete idea of how to get there? Do you know how to balance a budget, write a business plan, create invoices, and interact with customers? If the answer is no, your business stands a good chance of failing even if your product is brilliant. Studying business in university is always a good idea, but it doesn't have to take four years. You can audit one or two courses, take a year long community college course on the basics, or sign up for small business administration classes at your community center of Chamber of Commerce.
New business owners often have dreams of grandeur that lead them to overreach right out of the starting block. You don't have to be a world leader overnight. The most successful business people started out small - a little shop, an internet store, a few cars in their car service for example - to see how things worked out before they sunk all of their money into expanding the business. When you start out with your first business, you should be able to handle it all yourself.
Advertise Advertise Advertise
New businesses fail easily if they're unable to attract clients, so you need to make sure that everyone knows you exist. Buy space in the newspapers, on billboards, and online. Create TV and radio commercials. Bring your products to trade shows and community fairs. Offer special deals and discounts for new customers. Anything to generate interest and get people talking about your new business. To do it, though, you'll need to spend money.
A large portion of running a business is interacting with people. Not just clients, but potential clients, contractors, employers, friends, suppliers, vendors, etc. Even if someone doesn't want a hot tub for themselves, maybe they know someone who does, so never dismiss a person as beneath your interest. Talk to everyone, make contacts, and soon you'll have a web of people supporting you in various ways, from giving you business advice to handling your accounts to sending relatives your way with business.
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