Small Business Pt 1: Tips on Starting

Are you an entrepreneur at heart? If you’re like many people and want to reach for the dream, how do you decide what type of small business you’d like to start?

  1. “Choose something you’re passionate about.” We’ve all heard that mantra, but experts suggest this is not enough. Ask yourself: Do people actually want to buy the product or service you’re passionate about? Is there a market for it? Having a small piece of a large market that is already there is usually more feasible than a large part of a nonexistent market.
  2. Don’t jump in before doing some research. Take some time to figure out the costs involved in your new business venture, the profit margin and what the competition is doing. Google “how to make a business plan”. You’ll find several template examples to follow, each one a little bit different. Select one template you like, and answer the questions they prompt. You’ll have a much better understanding of your goals and how you’re going to achieve them. You don’t have to show anyone your business plan. This is just for you.
  3. Make a plan on how you’re going to do your banking and accounting, and how you will handle any legal questions that may arise. You may not need to hire an accountant right away, but it’s wise to research some names of people you might use when you need them. Research business insurance providers and phone them for a free estimate.
  4. Cash flow is key. How will your business be funded?
  5. What is your brand? We’ve all heard the term “branding” and briefly, it means what image and expectations does your product or business promise? Do you sell sexy bathing suits, adventurous kayaking trips, sturdy farm machinery, or do you intend to open a luxurious spa? If you’re stuck deciding how to brand yourself, think of a few descriptive words for your business and this will trigger what your branding might be. In the examples I gave, notice that I used the words sexy, adventurous, sturdy or luxurious. These adjectives are a good start in knowing how to brand a business.
  6. Convert your branding “words” and “adjectives” into images so that everything about your business gives the same message. For example, if you’d like to take people on adventurous kayaking trips, choose appropriate colors on your website that convey what a person might experience while rushing down some river rapids (greens, blues, whites or maybe desert colors if those are the mountain colors in your area), design business cards that look adventurous, use an energetic font choice, and stock photos of rivers, waterfalls, kayaks and the thrill of adventure.

For more tips on branding, refer to our blog Small Business Start-Up and Promoting Your Brand.

Go to Small Business Pt 2: Staying Creative.

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