Welcome to the American Dream! You have an idea that you really think would make a great business concept, or perhaps you have a passion that you want to become your source of continued income for your family. Your very intention of moving forward on your business idea already places you in the top tier of society that makes the American Dream become reality!
Many people dream of being entrepreneurs in some fashion, beginning in the days of setting up lemonade stands or raking leaves for the neighborhood. Whether the motivation is a desire to contribute to the community in some way, or to make extra income that is steady, starting a business usually begins small and can become an international chain known the world over.
Starting a small business, if done right, takes much planning, research, preparation, and more. If these things are not done in a comprehensive manner, then you will not be prepared for the momentum needed for success.
The first step you need to go through when planning any small business, especially one that you intend to take seriously, is to develop a comprehensive business plan and lay it out in writing. This stage is of utmost importance because it will give you a track to run on. If you are planning to start something small like a hobby-style craft business or an in-home childcare center or something that already has a turnkey system in place, such as a network marketing business, you may be tempted to neglect this step. That would be a grave mistake. There is a saying that is true in almost all areas of life: If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail. That does not mean that if you start a business without a plan that you are doomed to failure, but you have certainly made the road to success a more crooked and bumpy road.
Part of writing your business plan is to determine how you will pay for the startup costs. Even if you have the startup capital sitting in your savings account, it makes good business sense to research low interest loans and grants that may be available to help you get started. This will take time and research on your part, but the pay off could change your success track to the fast track.
No matter what your business idea, know that funding that is available to all sorts of businesses from both the governmental and private sectors. A good place to start is to look into some of Matt Lesko’s books on obtaining government grants. Whatever your opinion of his zany looks and exuberant communication styles, the man is brilliant and truly has a servant’s heart.
You should also invest in the services of an experienced small business tax accountant. His professional advice may be worth more than gold to you. There are many tax laws that are written to benefit the small business owner. Your area of expertise may be providing a widget service to America, but the small business tax accountant can help you get the business end of small business set up so that you will not have to worry and fret so much over that.
As soon as you apply for a small business license or hang your shingle out for the world to see, you will be bombarded by advertising sales executives ready to give you the deal of the century if you use their advertising medium that is “sure to make you massively successful, so that the business growth you realize will make the advertising dollars seem like a drip in a pan.” Here is a word of advice: Just say, “NO!” You will need to get the word out, but if you are not careful, those advertising dollars can suck away all of your profits simply because you were too naive to know what type of marketing was worth the investment.
Before investing in any advertising, call your competitors, preferably ones that are not in your immediate area, and ask to speak to the owner. Let them know what your business idea is and ask what method of advertising has worked best for them. You will be surprised at how many of them will be more than willing to give you that and more advice.
The marketing strategy that works best is to always remember that people always prefer to do business with people they know, like, and trust. If you can tap into relationship or referral marketing, you may never need to spend a dime on advertising.