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Owning your own business

Not just a dream…you can make it happen!

When thinking about career possibilities, do you ever think about owning your own business? A lot of people do. They look at self-employment as a chance to advance professionally and to earn more money. Some feel that owning a business allows them more flexibility to set their own hours or work from their home. Others like the idea of specializing in a business involving activities they enjoy.

No business can be guaranteed success, but there are some things you can do to increase your chances for success.

Tips for starting a successful business

1. When choosing a business to start or buying a business that is already established, think long and hard about how much appeal the business has for you. Are you willing to invest a substantial amount of time and money to make it work?

2. When making your entrepreneurial choice, be sure you have some experience, skills or education in the field of business you’re considering. Look at your personality, background and preferences when making your choice.

3. Evaluate your work and other life experiences to see which experiences you can use to start a business. Take a good hard look at your personal strengths and weakness. Be honest about them.

4. When you’ve chosen a business that you’re interested in, learn as much as you can about it. Read as much as you can about small business. Read magazines and trade journals, talk to successful business people and spend time surfing the `Net. Get as much information as possible about the costs of employees, rental space, materials, equipment and other necessary items for you chosen business.

5. Enlist the aid of experts. It might cost you a little money, but it will save you heartaches and headaches in the long run. Invest in a good accountant or financial advisor and a reputable advertising person to assist you with your marketing strategy.

6. Remember to budget for start-up costs. Some of these are one-time only costs such as major equipment, licenses and permits, utility deposits, beginning inventory and down payments.

7. Don’t forget your operating budget. Determine the continuing expenses you will incur and how much money you need to make to meet those expenses. A good rule of thumb is to allocate enough money to operate for the first three to six months without steady revenue.

8. Find out as much as you can about your potential customers. Get to know their likes and their dislikes. Know what their expectations are. Figure out if you can get them to buy your product or service rather than buying it from a competitor. When gathering this information, be realistic about your expected share of the market.

9. Determine how much you can charge for your product or service and whether your prices will be competitive.

10. Identify your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses and compare them to your business.