Starting a new venture as a small business owner is easier than ever before. You have a global market at your fingertips and an industry full of helpful resources to conquer the obstacles ahead of you.
The road ahead is full of exciting challenges and, if we’re honest, a lot of restless nights and nerve-wracking decisions.
To make the journey a little less bumpy, keep these tips in mind as you begin your career as a self-employed business owner.
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1. Keep That Passion Burning
What is fueling your desire to start a business? Hold onto that why and let it carry you through the rough patches.
It might be that you’re passionate about the work you do and how it helps others, or you want to make more money to improve your quality of life.
Whatever the reason, a regular reminder of it will help you push through when struggles come your way.
2. Get to Know Your Target Market
Take a page from the bestselling books of major corporations and study your market first. Before you invest any money into advertising or building a social media following, get to know who it is that needs your product or service.
If your business is brick-and-mortar, research key questions before you choose an area. For instance, major chains will scour data to find out answers to things like:
- What’s the population of the area you’re serving?
- How many competitors are there, and how are they doing statistically?
- What percentage of the population is in your target demographic?
- What is their household income/size?
- What are their hobbies/education level/professions?
If the results aren’t what they’re looking for, they won’t expand their business to that community. You can use those same research techniques to set yourself up for success.
As an online e-commerce business owner, those questions will help you narrow your focus to target the right market, too. Rather than spending your marketing budget on ineffective advertising, choose to use it to get to know your audience first.
3. Don’t Bite Off Too Much At First
Starting a new business is going to be time-consuming enough. Don’t overextend yourself by offering too many products and services at once. Stick to the main things you’re confident will sell, and then add others a little at a time as you grow.
When you focus an inch wide and a mile deep, you can perfect how you advertise, sell, upsell, and communicate with customers. Then, take that formula and use it to add more products or services.
You’re less likely to get overwhelmed or bogged down with extra expenses if you start small and work your way to bigger and better things.
4. Organize the Legal Stuff
For many small business owners, the hardest part is dealing with the government.
You have federal, state, and local licensing, registration, permits, and taxes to figure out. If you’re not used to tackling these requirements, it can be stressful.
Create a system to help you get organized. Take a few minutes to read the helpful information on the Small Business Administration’s resource page for entrepreneurs.
You’ll learn the basics of how to set yourself up as a business entity. All the confusing stuff, like registering to get an employee identification number and how to find out what kind of licenses you need, are covered here.
This section on organization also includes the necessities of getting insurance. Some policies are required, like worker’s comp and general liability coverage.
Others are smart business sense, such as health insurance for you as a self-employed owner. Going to the doctor early when you know you’re sick or hurt means you get better faster, so you’re able to work and bring in an income.
5. Make a Business Plan
You’ll see on the SBA.gov page that they recommend writing a business plan. It’s not required unless you’re trying to get funding for a loan or grant, but it’s a smart idea.
A business plan is essentially a detailed map to get to your goals. It’s a comprehensive tool that tackles all the obstacles, from marketing to finances, and gives you the opportunity to create action steps to conquer them.
As long as you take time to establish this plan upfront, you’ll always have a guide to follow. It might need to be tweaked occasionally as your business grows, and that’s fine.
Overall, though, it will remind you where you wanted to go when you started.
Following your dream to become a small business owner is an incredible step. It won’t always be easy, yet, those challenges can be overcome if you plan ahead before you jump.
Keep these five tips in mind, and you’ll be successfully conquering obstacles and enjoying the perks of entrepreneurship.