At last count, nearly 30 million working-age Americans are either starting or running their own businesses. But this is just the percentage of people that act on their dreams. According to the same studies, more than 50 percent “believes there exist good opportunities” for doing so. What this should say to the hopeful entrepreneur is that opportunity does exist and that success is possible. However, with any venture comes risk, so it’s wise to take some precautions. And while there are many things you can do before you start any business, these three are an absolute necessity.
Choose Your Business Model
Starting your own business isn’t usually as easy as just picking one and starting. There’s a lot that goes into the planning and decision-making process. For one thing, you need to know yourself well. If you’re not a people person, you’ll most likely want to steer clear of things like party-planning or wedding photography. Consider your strengths, weaknesses, and preferences before you ever begin.
Once you’ve chosen the type of business you’ll start, you’ll need to choose a platform or a business model from which to operate it. For example, if you’re doing something in sales, you will either sell products online, in a physical location or both. But that’s not the only consideration. You’ll have to decide how much inventory to buy, where to store it, and how to ship it.
Or you can choose to have your products dropshipped like a lot of other savvy entrepreneurs. In this business model, you can simply set up an online store with a wholesaler’s products and let the wholesaler do all the work. For example, let’s say you’ve decided to sell shoes online. You could set up your store using Shopify dropshipping, only paying for the products you sell. Once the customer has made the purchase, the wholesaler then processes the order and ships it out for you. With this business model, you have no inventory to store and no shipping hassle.
Don’t Forget The Legal Intricacies
It’s extremely important to find out what legal matters need to be taken care of before you begin your business. These will vary quite a bit between businesses, but they should never be neglected. For one thing, every city has its own regulations regarding business licenses. This is sometimes even relevant for online companies that are run out of a home.
It’s important to check with your local authorities to find out what you need to do to register yours. A good place to start is the city hall or your county courthouse. They can usually point you in the right direction. Additionally, the US Small Business Administration (SBA) provides excellent resources for entrepreneurs. They provide guides and a learning center, but you can also contact them with any questions you might have.
Develop A Marketing Strategy
Marketing can seem intimidating if you’ve never done it before. But it’s really just a matter of keeping your name in front of people who might buy your product or use your services. You can put a ton of research into it, and this may be necessary when you start to scale your business later. But in the beginning, simple tools can help. For one thing, use social media. It’s free and almost everyone in the world is on it daily.
Secondly, use promotional items. Contrary to what some people think, these still work. People tend to hang on to these, especially if they’re useful. Pens, t-shirts, and mugs are usually passed on rather than thrown away until they’re no longer functional. But also, use items that reflect your particular business. For example, if your business is bookkeeping or accounting, use customized tax return folders to present your clients’ paperwork in. A professional, unique touch like personalized tax return folders can assure your people that you are serious about your work.