Congratulations on your decision to slough off of the traditional job for the greener pastures of business ownership. Starting a business in 2014 is not going to be easy, but it’s the best way to go if you want to carve out your own niche in the months and years ahead. If you have an idea, a plan and a little money, starting a new business might be the best New Year’s resolution you’ve ever made.
It All Starts With An Idea
If you are reading about starting a business, chances are you already have some type of business in mind. The business you choose should offer some type of product or service (value) that targeted customers will happily pay for. The idea should then be mulled over, and much critical thinking should be used. Take your idea and throw all kinds of obstacles at it. The idea is to whittle the idea down into a solid idea that can then flourish into a sustained business model. If you are confident that your idea has merit, the next step when starting a new business is to verify your idea by conducting the proper research.
Conducting the proper research is easier today than it was in the past. Today, market research for starting a business can be as easy as taking to social media and asking friends and followers if the idea is viable. Just observing others’ posts and paying attention to questions that people ask on Facebook, Twitter and on popular forums can give you amazing amounts of input that you can use to formulate your business plan.
Your Business Plan and Roadmap to Success
Having a business plan is crucial, especially if you are a new business owner. You never know when you will run into trouble, and having a business plan can keep you on track when you feel like throwing in the towel due to one of the aforementioned obstacles. Your business plan will include your mission statement, the type of business you would like to create – a sole-proprietorship, a partnership, a corporation or an LLC – information about your product or service, a description of the daily processes, a monthly and yearly cash projection flowchart, as well as any other information that is relevant to you and any potential investors.
All new business ventures require varying degrees of liquid capital in order to launch and become successful. If you are low on cash, make an appointment with a credit union or bank and have a loan manager review your business plan. You can also take to social media to get friends and family to donate or invest; or you can start a Kickstarter campaign (or campaign on a similar platform).
Insurance & Taxes
Though no one likes to think about them, death and taxes are an unfortunate part of life – and business. The death of your business or the death of you could be a problem that hinders growth, and there are insurance policies that protect against both of these instances. Business insurance is a must for the new business owner, as you never know when nature will strike or when the worst case scenario might happen.
Speaking of worst case scenarios, you never want to be audited by the IRS. For this reason, be vigilant in preparing your taxes early and being conscious of your filing efforts all year long. Separate your business and personal expenses, keep receipts and use accounting software to keep everything organized. Hiring an accountant is a better move, as doing so will allow you to focus on actually starting a new business while you let the expert do his or her thing.
Stick to the Plan and Keep Your Enthusiasm
Once you go through the process of starting a business, and you have a business plan and funding in place, it is extremely important that you remain on course and keep your attitude.
Too many business owners lose their steam weeks or months into starting a new business venture. This is usually why most businesses fail within five years. Stick to the plan and only modify it if market conditions have changed. Whatever you do, however, always keep that fire alive within you. You know the one. It’s the passion that caused you to pursue starting a business in the first place. Just follow your map, keep your eye on the prize and never lose that spark when starting a new business. It sounds easy, but you have a tough road ahead, especially if you want to join the millions of successful business owners before you. Follow the above steps and you’ll be closer to your goal than ever before.