Calling all entrepreneurs and enthusiastic creative people! It’s finally time to put all the suggestions of our last two blog posts into practice and start that business. Just to recall our advance preparation, we’ve learned to put some pretty basic, but tried and true principles into practice:
- Be 100% honest in all your dealings,
- Be frugal with credit and debit cards,
- Learn basic economics and the invaluable lessons of a successful free market, http://capitalismmagazine.com/2013/05/the-value-of-free-market-competition/ and
- Remember that all profits need to be put right back into your business at first.
Of course there are hundreds of other little hurdles to jump over but if you master the few things we’ve talked about, those hurdles may become mere speed bumps. And pick the brains of proven successful people. How did they do it? Most people love to talk about themselves and share their business prowess.
So here are a few websites you can research as you’re contemplating this new adventure as a young entrepreneur.
1. Entrepreneur.com – “Winning Strategies for Business”- Gives great advice on how to overcome obstacles of being young, how to use social media to reach millennials and other young people, etc
2. YEC-Young Entrepreneur Council- We connect the world’s most successful entrepreneurs so they can grow their businesses faster, while giving back to aspiring entrepreneurs through our virtual mentorship program StartupCollective.
3. Facebook.com/YoungEntrepreneurs – Over 50,000 young entrepreneurs meet and discuss business ideas, technology, and networking
4. www.forbes.com – How to start a business with $100 in the bank
5. www.sba.gov– Starting a business involves planning, making key financial decisions and completing a series of legal activities. These 10 easy steps can help you plan, prepare …
6. www.myownbusines.org – Learn how to write a business plan and start your own business.
7. www.directsellingopportunities.com – Also known as multi-level marketing which has gotten a bad rap in the past. Many that have survived are legit and have proven integrity. The shady ones have mostly come and gone. There are hundreds of good businesses that offer great opportunities and pay out huge money if you do it right. The advantage here is that they handle all the business headaches, bills, payroll, etc. You just share their product and collect a check. Sounds easy, but if it was, everyone would be doing it, right? You’re exceptional though. Check it out!
If you google Young Entrepreneurs, you will get a gazillion choices of where to go for help. The info I’ve given you above took me all of four minutes to research. There is also tons of information on how to patent an idea, where to go to create a prototype, and where to get legal help. One word of caution, however. Don’t get ahead of yourself and start pouring money into an idea that hasn’t been researched or somewhat proven first.
Believe me, there are plenty of people out there who would love to take your money in exchange for legal advice, or help patent your invention before there’s anything tangible to patent! And remember the cold reality is that most businesses fail within the first year. However, there’s nothing wrong with seeking advice, testing the waters with potential success of your idea. Be very careful to check credentials and their business ethics before you turn your great ideas and/or cash over to anyone. But before you dive in full speed ahead, consider the following:
I have the best idea! But what about…..
1. What is my idea? How will it make life better? Is it cheaper and more efficient? Is there an emotional attachment to it?
For instance, remember my quilting example? I get five quilting magazines per month and there’s not a darn thing I need from cover to cover in any of them. But you stack a bunch of cleverly folded fabric pieces together and tie a cute bow around it? I’ll buy it every time. No need but desperately want!! I don’t even remove the bow when I get it. I just look lovingly at it as I wipe a joyful tear.
Emotional attachment? Embarrassingly so. So why is your idea appealing? Why should I care about it? Why do I need it? Try to evaluate it from a consumer’s point of view, not your own.
2. Who is my target market? – does this appeal to a vast majority of people or is it a fairly small market?
For example. If you have a great idea for an underwater basket weave dye cut lettering system, chances are your market will be pretty small and hard to locate. How are you going to find these people? Otherwise, if you developed a broom with a pop out attachment to scrape gunk off the floor (like the guy on Shark Tank who’s made millions with this simple little idea!) that market is enormous! Everyone needs a broom, and almost everyone at one time, needs to scrape gunk off the floor. If your target market is too small, is it worth the hassle?
3. How will I market my message?
Granted, this is much easier with social media today. But what other options do you have? How will you advertise? Develop a website? Offer Groupons? Discounts? Again, several websites offer help with marketing your small business.
4. What about production? How will I handle growth? What if your production doubled or tripled overnight? Could you still handle it out of your kitchen?
Supply and demand rule the free market. You must anticipate this crucial aspect before it happens. Great problem to have though, huh? Example: a friend of mine told me of a cute mom who customizes tepees for little kids. But her business shot through the roof in a very short time and now she’s panicked and stumbling for people to help her sew and meet production. Stress city!! Plan for this in advance.
5. How about distribution? Mail? UPS? Hand deliver? What will be the most efficient way?
Don’t forget to factor shipping costs into your bottom line. Forgetting this little tidbit will eat up profits in a hurry! Be sure to research this and all your options.
6. Where will I get capital to keep business flowing efficiently?
Keep this at a minimum! Be sure to read all small print if you take out a loan or borrow from anyone! What are the expectations? Are those terms worth it to me? Check out www.sba.gov for government loans, but be super cautious. “Ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.” That’s your mantra from now on!
Hopefully, you’re not drowning in TMI (too much information). It’s surprisingly easy to start your own business but there’s a lot to consider also. In my humble opinion, this is why businesses fail quickly,
1. Idea was not well thought out, not enough demand.
2. No solid business plan or business sense to keep it running smoothly,
3. Greed. Too much capital was taken out too quickly.
4. Customer service was not a priority. Though you’re self-employed, customers are your boss. You must meet their needs almost 24/7. Especially as you’re getting started.
These, of course, are not all-encompassing, but I know many businesses that have failed because of one or more of these reasons. Master just these few and you’ll be small business master builder!
So good luck with this great adventure! Put yourself out there and dive in America! Honestly, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and even Mark Zuckerberg did not have have resources at their fingertips that you do today. Don’t let anyone talk you out of it or tell you it won’t work. Let me know how you do with your great idea or invention! In fact, tie a cute bow around it and I’ll be your first customer!