Every week as SmallBizLady, I conduct interviews with experts on my Twitter talk show #SmallBizChat. The show takes place every Wed on Twitter from 8-9pm ET. This is excerpted from my recent interview with Kim Beasley is the owner of two small businesses, and the author of Your Passionate Business, @passionatebiz or @KimBeasley on Twitter. Kim knew at an early age that she wanted to run her own business and, after earning two degrees and working in Corporate American for almost 15 years, Kim decided it was time for her to start her own business, one is Your Passionate Business which helps others start their own business. The second is Pro Membership Services, specializing in developing business or membership websites using WordPress or Drupal. For more information: http://kimbeasley.com/about/
Smallbizlady: What are some important things that a startup business owner need to keep in mind when starting their business?
Kim Beasley: Be open to change, which means that you should be flexible when developing your business.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions to those who are experts or leaders in your chosen industry.
- Use social media to grow your network of business associates and clients.
- Develop a solid financial plan that you continuously follow.
- Always have a marketing/advertising plan in place to help grow your business.
Smallbizlady: How much time should be invested in researching a chosen business industry?
Kim Beasley: However much time is needed for you to become comfortable with your choice for an industry. Don’t be too hasty when determining which industry will be your niche. Make sure that you are not only comfortable with your choice but also ready to do what it takes to be successful in your industry.
Smallbizlady: What is your philosophy about starting a business?
Kim Beasley: Your skill + your passion = your passionate business. When starting a business, it is important that you center it on a skill you are passionate. Understanding that your passion for your business is what will help keep it going.
Smallbizlady: How do people know if their passion is profitable?
Kim Beasley: Research, research, research! Starting with research to see if your passion can become a viable business is the first step in determining if it can be profitable. If you find that it is not, see if you can combine it with another skill you are passionate about to see if the combination can be profitable. For example, writing can be combined with research or cooking with writing a cookbook and so forth.
Smallbizlady: What are the top mistakes unemployed people make when starting a business?
Kim Beasley: Not doing their due diligence regarding research, not setting up a firm financial foundation and not having a business mentor. It is very important that at least these three things are in place in order to create a solid start to your business.
Smallbizlady: What are some of the marketing avenues that are good for startup business owners?
- Sharing information about your business via social media websites like Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.
- Trading links with others to build a solid “backlinks” process and placement.
- Applying good SEO (Search Engine Optimization) techniques to your website such as research what keywords will help drive traffic to your website.
- Research websites such as Craigslist.org to see if sharing information about your products or services will be beneficial.
Smallbizlady: What advice would you give to other startup business owners?
- Stay focused on the important matters.
- Don’t let issues stop you from reaching your goals.
- Constantly improve processes.
- Build a virtual team that is strong, understands your business, and meets your needs.
- Outsource those tasks that you can delegate for someone to do.
Smallbizlady: How important is it to have a strategy plan in place?
Kim Beasley: A business without a plan is planning to fail. A strategy plan is important because it gives you a guideline for where you have been, where you are and where you want to go. Business owners should always have a living strategy plan that will guide them as they manage their business.
Smallbizlady: How do you know where to locate your office (in-home or office building)?
Kim Beasley: It is important that you determine your location immediately when developing your business. If you find that you will have customers visiting your office on a regular basis then it might be better to have an office that is away from your home. But if most of your work can be down from your home then save yourself the overhead cost of having an external office and just setup an office in your home. Make sure that your home office is a dedicated space that is not shared. This is important for tax purposes.
Smallbizlady: Is it important to have a business mentor?
Kim Beasley: Yes it is important to have a business member because they can help guide you around the “hiccups” that business owners can experience when in the “startup phrase”. When determine who will be your business mentor, make sure that you hire someone who is knowledgeable about your industry. Don’t be afraid to ask them for references so that you can check to see how they have helped others to become successful.
Smallbizlady: What type of people do you need to have on your business support team?
Kim Beasley: The type of people you have on your business support team can vary. Just make sure that as soon as you can, hire a Virtual Assistant (a VA can help mange your business), graphic design (for branding), web design (online presence), or bookkeeper/accountant (manage finances). If you feel comfortable outsourcing these services, do so because it can help free up your time so that you can spend more time developing your business.
Melinda Emerson, known to many as “SmallBizLady,” is a Veteran Entrepreneur, Small Business Coach and Social Media Strategist who hosts #SmallBizChat weekly on Twitter for emerging entrepreneurs. Her first book Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months is out in March 2010.