Owning a business is a goal for many professionals. Being self-employed and having final say over business decisions can give people a sense of satisfaction and professional accomplishment.
The small business landscape continues to evolve and expand. The Small Business Administration says that more than 50 percent of the working population is employed in a small business. There are almost 30 million small businesses in the United States, with roughly 540,000 new startups each month.
While owning a small business can be rewarding, it’s important that prospective business owners recognize that only around one-quarter of such businesses survive 15 years or more.
Taking heed of certain factors and educating themselves about entrepreneurship can help prospective small business owners prepare for and overcome some of the ups and downs of owning their own business.
• Explore the nature of the business and if there is room in the industry/market for something of its type. Is industry oversaturated? Is there a need for this product or service?
• Understand who might be your target customer. Identify the people who will be drawn to your product or service, even if it is a small, niche market.
• Identify the best possible locations for the business. This is true whether the business will be brick and mortar or strictly an online business. Explore ways to position the company so it will attract as many potential customers as possible.
• Conduct an analysis of potential competitors to get an idea of the strategies they are employing. It also is helpful to know the other people providing similar products and services so you’ll understand what is necessary to set your business apart.
• Devise a plan for funding and establish a budget. You will need to properly identify your sources of capital to get the business up and running. If you are not good with numbers, establish who will help you with bookkeeping and accounting to ensure the business stays on track.
• No business is complete without an effective business plan. A plan puts all thoughts on paper and provides direction. Such plans spell out which steps you will take and when you will take them.
• Assess your expertise in the field. If this is something new to you, consider an apprenticeship or continuing education to obtain the skills necessary to help your business thrive.
Starting a new business can be an exciting venture. However, it should not begin without forethought and research.