Plenty of people would love to own their own small business, work for themselves, and make an income from home. However, few people are actually able to make it happen and become successful running their own businesses. It can be difficult to do, but if you’re serious about it, you can make it happen. First, though, you need to ask yourself some questions to ensure that you’re starting on the right track.
Do You Have a Good Idea?
A business needs to center around something that other people want or need and are willing to pay for, whether it be a product, a service, or even knowledge you have that others don’t. Many people today are able to make an income from websites where they share what they know and create revenue through ads rather than selling things. Whatever your idea is, you need to make sure that it’s useful and will be able to make you a profit without causing you to burn out or give up. Once you’ve got your great idea set and ready to go, you can move on to the next big question.
Do You Have Customers?
You can have the best idea, but if you can’t get it to a group of people that would want to buy it, it’s worthless. There are several ways to get customers, like talking to family and friends about your business, advertising locally, and getting the news out to the world online through social networking and writing or commenting on sites connected to your business concept. For best results, do all of the above. Once you have a few customers, be sure to treat them well and make them happy; word of mouth is a very powerful tool that you should get working for you whenever possible.
Do You Have the Necessary Knowledge?
Hopefully you already have knowledge about the field in which your company works, but you also need to have some knowledge about running a business. You need to be comfortable with the tax and business requirements for your state and country, as well as what common pitfalls some businesses land in when they’re getting started. To gather this information, take some classes or go to networking events where you can meet other people that own their own successful businesses, and take the time to learn from them.
Do You Have Seed Money?
It’s difficult to get most new businesses started without any cash. With the exception of running a blog, you need to buy all the various tools and pieces for the product or service you will sell, and you often need to spend some money on advertising your concept. Also, if your business takes up so much of your time that you have to quit your day job, you need reserves to live on until your profits increase enough to support you. Save up what you can, get others to sponsor your idea through donations or by becoming part-owners or investors, or you can get a loan. Whatever you do, make sure that your business won’t fail simply because you run out of cash early on.
Do You Have the Work Ethic?
Owning a business is hard and takes a lot of work. Most small business owners work much more than a traditional 9-5 work day. You may be able to eventually turn over most of the work to others, but to start out, you must be prepared to put the time and effort in to make it happen.
If you think through your plan carefully, gain the knowledge you need, and are prepared to work hard and make very little money at the outset, you can eventually create a successful business that will allow you to do something you enjoy and be your own boss. Put in the effort to make it happen, and you can find yourself happy and prosperous just a little way down the road.
Chris Brooks is an avid business blogger. If you’re interested in starting your own business, you may want to consider an MBA, such as that offered by RIT Online.