The fastest way to change your life and build a better future for yourself is to launch a startup business. It's been seen over and over again that business owners typically have the most consistent path to wealth of any type of employment.
Furthermore, it will teach you everything you need to know about how to be disciplined, organized, outgoing, smart and successful in life. Harold S. Geneen, who used to be president of ITT Corporation, once made an interesting observation about business: “You read a book from beginning to end. You run a business the opposite way. You start with the end, and then you do everything you must to reach it.”
If you're considering launching a business, here's what you need to know.
Creating Your Business Plan
You need a business plan, whether or not you plan to fund your business with your own money or get a business loan. Many people think that a business plan as to be a “formal” document, that follows a specific outline and covers specific topics. However, most people don't do that and just focus on the simple things they need to do to get their business going.
Here are some basic ideas to point you in the right direction.
- Brainstorm business ideas, and then research the market. Your goal is not to invent an industry because that would mean that you would have to educate your audience. Usually, pioneers don’t make much money, but the fast followers instead. Google and Microsoft, for example, may appear to be pioneers, but they were fast followers of a previously developed business model. Instead, look for proven business ideas.
- Find out the most effective marketing techniques. What do you need to do to get the word out, drive traffic to your website or store, and convert warm prospects into buyers? To find out, see what your competitors are doing to promote their business. You may discover that investing in a custom tent and attending trade shows is the fastest way to grow your business, or you may discover that they consider networking at business conferences the best way to build their brand.
- Differentiate your business. Now that you’ve found your business idea and researched how to market it, see what you can do to differentiate your business model. Perhaps, others in your space are selling too many products. This is what Steve Jobs discovered when he went back to take charge of Apple. He scrapped the long list of projects and simplified the product line so that he could differentiate his computers by placing an emphasis on design and user-friendliness.
Now, let’s fast forward to the future to give you a perspective of some of the things you should be thinking about as you build your business.
Growing Your Business
Imagine that you have now created your business. Your lovely boutique store is in the mall and your beautiful website receives thousands of visitors a week. What should you focus on now?
Here are a few suggestions.
- Go back to school. You’ve gained a lot of real-world experience, but it’s what you don’t know that may be holding you back from making your business even more successful. For instance, a business administration degree will teach you how to communicate more effectively, how to be a better leader, and how to manage resources like time, money, and employees far more efficiently. You’ll also learn strategic planning, the best business computer applications to use, financial management, and business ethics. If you’re reluctant to go back to school because you haven’t paid your previous student loans, there are many ways to work out a manageable repayment plan.
- Connect with your community.When you’re busy building a business, it’s easy to get a little too insular, to lose touch with how other people are managing their lives. By participating in community events, let us say, joining a service club like Rotary International or Kiwanis, you’ll get to network with other business leaders, share your business knowledge with others, and find ways to contribute to the community. You may even get in touch with a new customer base or come up with unique business ideas.
- Learn more about outsourcing. The more your business grows, the more expert help you will need. If you have a brick-and-mortar business, you will need employees, some working part-time and others full-time. However, you might also be able to benefit from the specialized services of independent contractors. For instance, you may find that using the services of a direct-mail copywriter can dramatically improve your bottom line.
In closing, it’s important to get into business for the right reason. You should do something that you find interesting because you will need to love the work well enough to weather the difficult times. So, don’t just start your own business because it’s one of the best ways to make money; also, consider things like passion and how you can make a positive difference in the world.