By Veronica Pembleton
Running your own business is a challenging but rewarding pursuit. As much as potential business owners might like to think they are prepared for the challenges ahead, they won’t know how well they handle the new experiences until they take the plunge. Most people dream of giving up the day job, but before you make the leap, there are a few myths to dispel and harsh realities to face. Not everyone has the right personality to handle the pressures, but it’s worth investigating if this is a path that interests you.
4 Essential Things You Need to Know Before Going Alone in Business
1). Drive is everything
There are a few character traits that are essential for business owners, and the good news is that they don’t require any talent or specialist training. Having the right motivation, mindset, and willpower will serve you well in the cutthroat world of owning a business.
There will be tough challenges ahead, so you need to make sure you are prepared to pull out all the stops to make your business successful. This could mean long hours, rarely seeing your friends and family and learning new skills that you struggle to pick up. Further down the line, you will have the chance to reap the benefits of running your own business, but before you reach that stage, you’ll have some hard work ahead of you.
2). Plan for everything
The best defense is a good offence. In business terms, this means having a strong plan of attack in place is the most important step to take to ensure success. Spend a good amount of time writing a business plan, researching your competition and learning as much as you can about your market and potential customers.
Once you’ve created your plan, ask business owners that you know and trust to share their thoughts. The more eyes you can get on your business plan the better. Even if it’s difficult to hear people point out the flaws, take their feedback on board to help improve your business plan. Even when your business is established, you should continue to refine and revise your business plan based on changes in your industry.
3). Money doesn’t grow on trees
Securing funding in the early stages of starting a business can be a considerable challenge. Setting and sticking to a budget in the early stages will help you find your feet and establish a strong foundation. If your budget won’t stretch to an accountant, or if you prefer to take a hands-on approach to your accounts, invest in accounting software to keep track of your spending.
You might need an initial boost to launch your business and cover costs such as finding premises and getting set up with a website and branding. There are business loans available, but as with any lending, you will have to take into consideration the interest on the loan which could make it less worthwhile. If this is the case, make cutbacks wherever you can and put aside every penny possible to create a buffer of funds.
Read Also: 7 Easy Steps to Starting a Small Business
4). Get your name out there
Starting a business is only half of the struggle, next you have to work hard to get your name out there. Although you might not have a huge budget for marketing, there are plenty of free marketing techniques that will help you to get your name out there and drum up some interest. Word of mouth is the best possible way to give your business a boost in those early days.
A professional, SEO-optimized website will help prospective customers to find you and build your reputation. Consider starting a blog or guest posting on other influential sites to get your name out there. If you prefer to network in the real world, networking events, seminars and conferences are a great way to meet new customers and learn more about your industry. Make sure you have business cards printed before you start networking, as this is a low-cost way to get your name out there.
No matter how big or small the venture, setting up a business is hard work and will throw up new challenges you have never had to face before. The good news is, countless others have done it before you, so you’re not alone in your struggle. With a bit of planning, hard work and determination, you could build a strong business. Just don’t let those first few challenges set you back or make you feel like you’re incapable of succeeding.
Veronica is a research journalist and freelance writer. She often writes on current trends especially on fashion, style and design.