So you want to start your own business? Congratulations on wanting to become your own boss. In addition to giving you the ability to make your own decisions, business ownership also offers financial independence, creative freedom, the chance to fully use your skills and knowledge, and more free time to spend with your family and friends. Of course, with those perks of business ownership also comes a host of pitfalls, including risk, liability, and mounds and mounds of paperwork. Luckily, you’ve come to the right place to help you navigate the first phase of business ownership—startup. In the startup phase, you’ll figure out whether you have what it takes to run a business, determine what kind of business you’d like to open, write a business plan, conduct initial market research, secure funding, decide on a business structure, meet with accountants, advisers and lawyers, and the list goes on.Starting a business isn’t easy. It takes a lot of motivation, discipline, talent, research, planning and good old-fashioned hard work—before you can even hang your “open for business” sign. But ask any successful business owner, and they'll verify that working hard in the beginning will pay off in the end.
Getting started: The self assessment
In business, there are no guarantees. There is simply no way to eliminate all the risks associated with starting a small business. But you can improve your chances of success with good planning, preparation and insight. And that starts by looking at yourself. Take some time to answer the following questions about yourself before starting a business:
Spend a good amount of time on this exercise. This might be best done with a friend, colleague or business mentor. When you’re finished, take a look at the list and note any gaps. Your lacking some of the traits of a successful small business owner, for example, doesn’t mean your business will fail, but it will give you a good idea of your strengths and weaknesses—and any partners, employees or advisers you may need to help you fill the gaps.
Alternatives to starting a business from scratch
Instead of starting a business, you may consider one of these options:
Buy a franchise
Becoming a franchisee of a successful franchising company can increase the odds a business will succeed, but there are many factors which a potential business owner should consider.
Buy an existing business
Purchasing a business that is already operating can help a potential business owner succeed. But like acquiring the rights to a franchise, the buyer must beware.
Developing a business plan
Every successful business plan should include something about each of the following areas, since these are what make up the essentials of a good business plan:
- Executive Summary
- Market Analysis
- Company Description
- Organization & Management
- Marketing & Sales Management
- Service or Product Line
- Funding Request
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