Do you want to start 2020 with a bang? The beginning of the year is the perfect time to finally take the leap and open the business that you’ve always dreamed about starting. To make it a little easier for you, we’ve put together a list of our best business-building tips to help you stop dreaming and start doing.
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Pick the right time to start
With winter descending on much of the U.S., curling up on the couch with a good book or movie might seem like a far more inviting prospect than working on your business. But don’t be swayed. Starting a business requires a lot of hard work, and the sooner you get started, the better. Plus, starting your business after the holiday rush gives you time to settle into your niche market, grow organically and work out the kinks before the next holiday season rolls around.
Know your motivation
If you look at most successful startups, they usually have one thing in common: a commitment to a specific goal or objective. Defining this goal for your business is more than just a way to improve your chances of long-term success. It’s also a way to help you take the leap and finally start up. When you consider why you want to start a business, you’re forced to answer questions about how you might actually go about starting up.
- How will you acquire startup capital?
- What kind of brand best represents you?
- Where will you find suppliers?
- How will you market to customers?
Beginning to answer these questions, even if it’s just subconsciously, works to make starting up seem far less scary.
Create a business plan
As you start to plan your business, you need to write a business plan. Most banks won’t give out small business loans without one. Think of your business plan as the blueprint for your business. It should include your market research, estimated startup costs, monthly operating budget and forecasted revenue projections.
A thorough business plan shows lenders and investors that you’ve done your homework. Similar to our first piece of advice, creating a business plan brings your overall strategy into focus, and in doing so, eliminates the fear and uncertainty that can hold back so many promising entrepreneurs.
Set a deadline
The best time to start working on your business is now, and you don’t necessarily need to quit your current job just yet. Many experts advocate starting your business as a side hustle first, and then transitioning to it full time when you’re confident you can earn a living wage from it.
If you’re committed to jumping in head first, take an honest look at your personal finances (you might have to live off your savings for a while) and the amount of time you have to set up your new business. Many people cite being their own boss and the ability to control their earning potential as major reasons why they launched their own small businesses. But in order to achieve those goals, you’re going to need to ensure you have enough financial runway first.
Whichever path you take, we highly recommend setting a deadline. There’s no better way to overcome inaction than by giving yourself a hard timeline that you need to hit.
Choose the right tools and technology
Choosing the right software and tools can make a huge difference when it comes to starting your business. The more you can rely on your software to handle the tedious tasks you need to complete in order to be successful, the more time you have to focus on strategy and the big picture. Automating tasks like accounting, payroll and business reporting can take a lot of the headaches out of a new entrepreneur’s day.
Some of the tools and technology you might want to consider include:
- Accounting platform: This tool can help you get your employees paid on time, reconcile your invoices and ensure that you have cash on hand for payroll.
- Point of sale software: This tool is more than a cash register replacement. It helps retail and food service businesses process sales transactions, manage customer relations and understand their business through analytics and reports.
- Marketing platforms: These tools help you manage all aspects of your marketing strategy, whether that includes email, digital advertising, social media or all of the above.
As far as selecting specific brands and products, our best advice is to understand your goals and budget for a specific tool, and then go out and find the one that offers the best balance of functionality and cost. Lastly, make sure to read customer reviews so you can avoid picking a low quality product.
Making the decision to start your own business can be intimidating, but with knowledge, passion and a set plan, the sky’s the limit for your dreams. It’s time to stop spinning your wheels in a cubicle and start letting yourself shine as an entrepreneur.