One of the great freedoms of entrepreneurship is creating a job that fits perfectly with your personal work style. If you don’t account for your own preferences before you launch a business, you are likely to lose interest in the project and have difficulty keeping yourself motivated. The most successful entrepreneurs are very self-aware and build their business ideas around their own strengths.
Your first consideration is whether to launch your business full-time, part-time, or in your spare time. Each option means different things as far as what type of business to select, how much time it will take to plan and launch, and whether you can expect significant growth. Spare-time startups are the natural result of an existing hobby or interest. If this is the case, be careful. If you take repeated deductions of business losses over several years, the IRS may re-classify your business as a hobby, leaving you on the hook for underpaid taxes.
Part-time startups are typically intended to supplement income or reduce risk in the hopes of growing the venture to a full-time endeavor. If you are looking to supplement income, then your part-time startup will have to limit growth and be a fairly flexible endeavor. Planning to grow a startup from part-time to full-time can be more difficult. Businesses tend to grow in step-change spurts, when a combination of efforts seems to pay off overnight. In these cases, it is critical to prepare yourself and your business through solid planning.
Another work style factor to consider is where you are happiest working. For some, a home office is ideal. For others, the other distractions of home life make it difficult to be productive. Some entrepreneurs prefer to always be on the move, traveling the area or the country on a regular basis. Also consider the level of interaction with others you are most comfortable with. Do you want to be chatting up strangers much of the time or do you prefer to be behind the scenes?
Develop a vision of what you want your work life to be. Define a typical day — where will you be? What will you do? Once you have a clear idea of how you do your best work, selecting the right business will be much easier, and your ability to turn your idea into success is magnified.…
Whatever the business you plan to start, you will need to line up certain external resources to keep your venture protected and managed. The Big Five professionals every entrepreneur should have on speed dial are an accountant, insurance agent, banker, real estate agent, and lawyer. Of course, any good bootstrapper will handle as many business issues on their own as possible, especially during the early stages, in order to maintain knowledge and control over the venture. But at some point your successful company will require the services of each of these outside professionals.
It is in your best interest to begin building relationships with each of these professionals as early as possible in the life of your business. Whether or not you will use their services right away, you can set yourself up for an easier road when you do need them. Often, the times you realize you need these professionals is when something bad is happening — your business gets sued, you run into a serious cash crunch, or your landlord breaks your lease. These are not the times you want to be searching for the right professional to handle your problems.
Generally, we recommend that you select your Big Five professionals during your planning and startup stages. Don’t rely on your cousin’s girlfriend’s brother-in-law to be the right guy for the job. Take the time to meet and interview several different people in each profession and do your due diligence to ensure they are the best choice for your business and where you want your company to go.
You don’t necessarily need any of these professionals to have 25 years of work experience, but you do need one who is knowledgeable about and specializes in whatever it is your business does. First and foremost, they should understand the issues in small business. Beyond that, every industry has its own particulars that your Big Five professionals should be comfortable with.
In the case of your business attorney, it can be better to go with a full-service firm than an independent boutique lawyer simply because the larger firms have partners that specialize in all different types of issues. Your banker, insurance agent, accountant, and real estate agent should all deal primarily with businesses of similar size and trajectory of yours and have more than a passing familiarity with your specific industry.
One important advantage of securing your big five professionals early in the life of your venture is the additional networking opportunities they can provide. However, if their networking skills are not up to par, they won’t be much help to you. Look for professionals who are reliable and consistent about getting back to you right away, answering your questions honestly and clearly, and are excited about your business idea.
Some bigger law firms have partners who do all the selling but very little of the work. Not only is it difficult to build a strong networking relationship if you don’t even know the guy who actually does your work, but those partners are generally focused on finding new clients, not on keeping you happy. If the professionals you are considering can’t be bothered to meet your expectations in terms of networking with you while you are looking to become their client, don’t expect them to show up when you really need them.
Take the time to find your Big Five professionals, including your business attorney early. Keep them up-to-date about your progress and build the relationship over time. As your startup grows into a thriving company, you will have built-in allies who will be looking out for your venture’s best interests along the way.…
Bootstrapping a startup means looking for every opportunity to cut expenses. Thus, it is common for first-time business owners to skip over registering their business, assuming that running it as a sole proprietor will be sufficient. While it’s true that sole proprietor status is the least complicated to manage — less paperwork, fewer filing requirements, the most flexibility — the reality is that the benefits of organizing as an LLC far outweigh the complications.
LLCs Provide Protection
The structure of an LLC or corporation exists for one primary purpose — to separate business and personal liability. With sole proprietorships, all of your personal assets, including your house, cars, and savings, are potential targets for any lawsuit or judgment against the business. Don’t assume that none of your dedicated customers would ever sue — if you make an error that costs them dearly, their attorney will turn to you for reparations.
In addition, businesses can struggle for all sorts of other reasons, such as a lagging economy, that are out of control of the owner. With the protections of limited liability, the business can take the fall without significantly impacting the owners. Sole proprietorships and partnerships can leave the owners holding the bag, and paying off the business’s debts (or worse, filing personal bankruptcy)…outcomes that will affect you for years.
LLCs Provide Opportunities for Your Business
Particularly in the case of independent contractors, securing an LLC can open doors not available to sole proprietor independent contractors. The reason for this is that many large companies secure independent contractors for months or years at a time, and hiring a individual, sole proprietor, into those positions can put the larger company at serious risk. If you have LLC or corporate status, there is no doubt that the hiring does not meet the standards of being an employee, because the presumption of independence is evident in the entity status, thus the company is more likely to hire your company over a sole proprietor.
LLCs Open the Doors to Growth
Operatinga business as a sole proprietorship not only limits your options, but also can limit your thinking. As a solo owner, there is no easy way to bring in investors for growth and expansion. With an LLC or corporations, your options are wide open for including partners as you see fit. You can build the business’s credit separately from your own, enter into contracts, and own property in the name of the business, presenting a more professional image. And, your own ideas of how far the business can go can be influenced by the formality of organizing as a limited liability entity. Something about formalizing your operations inspires a lot of folks to think bigger than just working for yourself.
Sure, there are valid arguments for selecting sole proprietorship status. Whether you organize as an LLC or corporation, there are some fees and paperwork required, usually once or twice per year. And, new business owners are often required to provide personal guarantees for bank or vendor debts even with formal organization, meaning the protection features are not always comprehensive.
But if you are starting a business with any plans for growth, organizing as a limited liability at the start will protect you from devastation down the road. Of course, not every business gets sued, but why risk all you have in exchange for a few hundred bucks and a couple of filings per year? Owning your own business is the commitment of a lifetime, so it just makes sense to protect it, and yourself, as much as possible.…
If you are looking for a change of direction in your life and considering starting a new business, here are some factors that you may care to consider.
A� Being your own boss is a dream that many people aspire to. Not being answerable to anybody other than yourself when it comes to how much you earn and how many days leave you can have is usually extremely appealing to most people, just as it was, and still is, for me. However there are certainly many factors to consider and it is advisable that you give yourself sufficient time to think through your ideas.
A� It is important that a new business owner truly believes that he or she is on the right path and that the business will bring, among other things, prosperity and pleasure into their life.
A� There are serious considerations to deal with when starting a business as your business is going to be the predominant influence in your life from now on. It will give you pride and satisfaction and along with those attributes your business will bring you hard work and more than likely, some concerns. But, isn’t that what life is about; if everything were to go along smoothly for 365 days of the year one would more than likely become bored and look for greener pastures. So if you are ready to take on the challenge, I offer you my congratulations along with some tips to help you get started.
No business will succeed unless it is built on and around passion. Those who are successful in business are operating or trading in a product or service that they are totally passionate about. Prime examples of how passion works in business can be seen just by spending a few minutes viewing television programmes where well-known successful business people are demonstrating their products or services, especially in the areas of cooking, farming, fruit-growing, dog training to mention a few.These people glow with pride and success and are absolute proof that great passion is behind every successful business. Therefore make sure that you build you business on your passion and not the passion of someone else who may want to lead you in a different direction.
Once you’ve established what your passion is it is essential that you research extensively to establish whether or not there is a demand for your product or service. If you intend targeting a certain locality be sure that there is a need in that locality for your forthcoming business. For instance, if you are hoping to start a business selling plants, seeds and garden tools you would look for premises in a locality that is not currently serviced for those products. In view of this you may need to travel a little further from your home to your business each day, but wouldn’t that be worthwhile if your business had the monopoly in a particular area?
Of course there will be capital input required to fund your business be it cost of leasing premises, purchase or lease of computers and electronic equipment, furniture, cost of stock, plus staff expenses and other costs. The importance of a formal meeting with your accountant to discuss these matters cannot be stressed enough. Ensure that you understand, in detail, what your financial obligations will be when you become a business owner.
4. Home Based Business:
Depending on the product or service you decide to market it may be convenient for you to work from your home. Should you have an aptitude for internet marketing you may wish to set your business up in your home. You would still need to work with a product that is your passion but it would keep your initial costs to a minimum, as well as ongoing costs.
Do be aware that Internet Marketing is a specialised field and for the first year or two it takes a lot of time and ongoing learning. However it can be a lucrative business for those who are dedicated to working on the internet.…
This is a very good question to ask as many people think that we only need one mentor. I would disagree with that. I believe we need a mentor for every different area. Let’s look at a golfer. A professional golfer may have a mentor for their golf swing, another on the fitness side of the game and a third mentor may be a psychologist to help them with mental preparations.
Recently I was listening to an interview with the broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby, son of Richard Dimbleby and brother of David. In the introduction we were told that throughout his life Jonathan had at least two mentors. His first mentor was while he was a show jumper; and many people thought he would go on to represent Great Britain in the Olympics. He had another mentor when he entered broadcasting at the BBC. Jonathan’s first mentor was brilliant while he was show jumping, but when he started working at the BBC he needed a different type of mentor. He needed someone who was a broadcaster, a person already doing the job, to help him as he started his broadcasting career.
A mentor is someone who you learn from; they have been involved in that field for some time, whether it is sport or business. They will help and guide you along the way, giving you the support you need at every stage. You can have a mentor in many different subjects. I have mentioned golf, show jumping and broadcasting and this is just the tip of the iceberg. The Quakers have promoted mentoring for many years for business. George Cadbury was mentored by Joseph Rowntree and both men are famous British chocolatiers. The Business Secretary Vince Cable recently promoted mentoring for those setting up in business, “Mentoring is a very effective way of promoting start ups, with high productivity amongst established businesses”.
Many people when they are looking to start a business now look for an opportunity that includes mentoring. Recently when we were looking at a business idea, we looked for an opportunity in which we were able to learn from a mentor.…
Most business owners who are new to the world of email marketing are not familiar with the appropriate etiquette they should use. It is possible to use email marketing as an effective way to communicate with customers. Continue reading for more email marketing tips regarding email etiquette.
Identify and appeal to your audience. After you have gotten a few readers subscribed, come up with ways to induce them to get their friends signed up. Always make sure there is “subscribe” link in the emails you send so that those who receive forwarded copies can easily sign themselves up if they are interested. You can use this method to make your list grow organically.
Always have one clear message in each email. You don’t want your consumers to be overwhelmed or bored by the content in your email. Create a message, keep it short and make your point. Your consumers will like it when they are not bombarded with unnecessary information.
Don’t over use words like “Buy now!” the way you go about it. People may view your emails as being spam-like and not want to purchase from your company any longer. They understand you want sales, but build a solid relationship and stay professional. Your customers will be thankful for this, and there’s a good chance they’ll make a purchase.
Try using different techniques when you are email marketing. You could look for reading material in a library or online. You may also be able to find local seminars or workshops to attend; pay attention to the classifieds and bulletin boards.
Try out new formats with your email. Put your important information and any new offers near the beginning of your messages. Try out different approaches to see what gives you the best reaction. Once you find what works, continue to use it. This way your readers know exactly what to expect and where they can find what they would like to read.
Make sure you only email subscribers who give you permission to do so. If your emails are considered spam, you won’t be taken seriously. You could lose customers and get reported for sending unwanted emails.
Don’t use a lot of graphics in the emails that you send. Many email clients don’t allow images to load, so sending a highly graphic-dependent message is useless, as many of your subscribers will be unable to make sense of it. Also, your email is likely to end up being sent to junk mail if it contains too many graphics.
Always have a link for people to easily unsubscribe or opt out of your email list. Don’t fail to provide an unsubscribe link and don’t bury it so deep in the text that it cannot be found. You want each of your users to feel like everything is their choice, and you are not forcing them into anything.
As the article above advises, it is highly recommended that business owners practice proper protocol in their email marketing program. Being rude to your customers will quickly cut down on the amount of subscribers you have. Remember this advice to make sure your client base grows.…Read more
You should consider Facebook if you need a new campaign to promote your brand. This site is a great way to promote your business and products quickly and successfully. This article will show you the ropes.
Your fans should be interacted with on a regular basis so you can cater to their needs. Take everything that is posted into consideration. There are a lot of popular businesses that get marketing tips from their fans. Never ignore your fans since they are the reason that you have gotten as successful as you are up to this point.
Consider holding online contests as a means of your Facebook marketing plan. Provide discounts and prizes to those who give your page a “like.” Be sure that you come through in awarding your prize, or no one will trust you again.
A simple way to start a conversation with your Facebook fans is to respond to the feedback they leave on your page. Keep an eye on your all and any twitter messages that contain your company handle. Reply back, particularly if it is a complaint or someone who needs service immediately.
Avoid letting your Facebook page overwhelmed with spam. There are some filters that can be used when editing your page that help monitor the page, even if you are not around. Your administrators can update the filters as new spam is added to your page.
Consider creating a Facebook group rather than just a page. The group can lead to a community on Facebook, where your customers can exchange comments and ideas. Don’t hesitate using a group and a page as a mean for your subscribers to get your updates and also share their content with your group.
When you utilize Facebook Offers, you are able to promote freebies and contests you’re running on your site. Create the offer and then make sure to post it on the wall. You may find yourself with new followers if its a great offer.
Don’t forget about your existing audience. There are people that just want likes and then they forget about existing fans. For a great marketing campaign, you should respect and appreciate your followers. This will boost engagement and build your relationships.
When a follower asks you a question on your wall or makes a comment, always respond. If someone goes to the effort to contact your business, you should take the time to talk with them. Facebook is similar in a lot of ways to making a phone call. You answer any questions that are asked of you about the business you’re running.
Everything you put up on Facebook needs to have value. Stated otherwise, all followers ought to gain something from your postings, even if it is just a helpful hint or a bit of advice. However, avoid “selling” too much to prevent your followers from getting tired of having your name popping up on the news feed.
The weight on your shoulders to build profits can be huge. Creating a stellar Facebook marketing campaign is one way to engineer positive change in a relatively short period of time. Use the tips here to gain an advantage over your competition.…Read more