It’s more than a notion to launch your own business. Nowadays it’s common for folks to leave a job via layoff or early retirement and jump right into starting a small business. Some become small business owners because they always wanted to do it…and others are hanging their shingle out of necessity. Regardless of how you found your path to entrepreneurship, you need to keep these 8 tips in mind as you Become Your Own Boss.
1. Figure Out What You Want Out Of Life. It’s just like when you are driving a car – places are so much easier reach when you know the route. Take the time to map out a plan for a successful life. Get clear about what will make you happy. In order to have a successful business, you need a life plan before you ever write a business plan.
2. Get Your Money Straight. Many businesses do not get off the ground because of too many financial obligations in a business owner’s personal life. You need to be prepared financially to go without a paycheck for a year or two in order to make your business dream a reality. Then you’re going to need money to run your new business. You must consider whether you can afford to become an entrepreneur.
3. Evaluate Your Business Concept. Many people who are struck by the entrepreneurial bug have more than one business idea. Make sure that you don’t just follow the idea you love the most. Make sure there’s a real market for your product or service. There’s a big difference between need, want and willing to pay for. I’m all for finding your passion and making it a business, just make sure your passion has a profit center.
4. Get Yourself a Kitchen Cabinet of Advisors. I think you need a fan club of people who believe in you and will tell you the truth about your business ideas. This should be a 3 to 4 people, including an existing entrepreneur, a friend who’s a potential customer, a retired executive who has a rolodex that can assist you and a lawyer or accountant that can give you advice that you otherwise probably couldn’t pay for. I call this group a kitchen cabinet of advisors because they will usually work for food.
5. Spend Time Building Your Network. In business your network is your net worth. People do business with people they like and know. If you are known more internally at your job, you must get out there and start networking at least six months before you start your business. Your first customers will be people who know you or referrals from those same people.
6. Know Your Niche Customer. In this new economy, it’s more important than ever to have a niche target market. Niche to get Rich is a saying, but it is true. The more specialized your target market, the better for your business. You should be able to see the face of your customer and write a story about him or her. Even if you’re using social media you need to know who you want to talk to before jumping out there.
7. You Need a Marketing Plan. Use your marketing plan to clearly identify that there’s a market for your product or service that you can actually reach. You need to figure out who’s buying and why. You also need to develop a signature move or signature service as you are developing your marketing plan. If you can answer those simple those questions you should move forward with your business plans.
8. You Must Have a Business Plan. You must plan for success, it will not just happen to you. You need a business plan to give yourself a road map to run your business. Do not treat your business plan like a historical document. Your first business plan is your hypothesis of what you think will happen in your business. Your assumptions will change once your business is exposed to the market place. In the early years of your business, you should review and update your business plan every 2-3 months to make sure your business is on the right track.
Do you have any more tips on How to Become Your Own Boss?
Melinda Emerson “SmallBizLady” is a Veteran Entrepreneur, Small Business Coach and Social Media Marketing Expert who hosts #SmallBizChat on Twitter. #SmallBizChat is the trusted resource on Twitter to discuss everything entrepreneurs need to know about launching and running a profitable small business. Melinda also publishes a resource blog on small business best practices at www.succeedasyourownboss.com Her first book, Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months was released by Adams Media in March 2010.