Experiencing career setbacks can be frustrating and unexpected.  Instead of deeming yourself a failure or wallowing in disappointment, why not think about being your own boss?  Starting your own business is not an easy undertaking but can be an extremely rewarding one.  

If you have no idea what kind of business to start, you might want to keep putting in applications elsewhere until you can come up with a solid idea.  Your business idea must be something you are passionate about and have some knowledge of. Lack of excitement for your business plan could be a sign that the idea will lose traction down the road.  

Your idea will need to fill a market need or want and have some sort of edge on current competition.  Then you will need the right tools, or access to them, to bring your idea to life. Identifying your target market will help you figure out which direction to head in to obtain assistance with your business plan.  

Writing out your business plan is a good way to make it concrete.  Creating a strategy around your idea will bring the business closer to being a reality.  Office supplies, technology needs, and all business financials and concepts need to be addressed in the plan.  Your plan should be useful and include detailed information on your business goals for the one, three, and five year marks.  This will help you think about what you will need for growth and long-term objectives.  

Coming up with a budget is the next important step.  A six, twelve, and twenty-four month budget would be optimal to help your business keep its course.  Knowing what type of budget you will have available can help prioritize where big spending should go and where you may need to find cheaper resources for certain items or marketing.  Bartering with other small businesses is always a feasible option.  

Make your business official by giving it a name.  It will be needed for you to proceed with documentation and marketing.  The name could be extremely valuable to making your business successful.  Take time to think about how to leverage your business against any competition to make it stand out and draw attention to your niche.  Then make sure the name is not already in use by checking the internet and the trademark electronic search system.  

After you decide on a name, register it through your county clerk’s office and state government.  Make sure you check exactly what type of documentation you need for your particular business as it can vary from state to state depending on the services you are offering.  Also check for permit and licensing requirements.  

Manage finances by arranging a banking account for your business.  Record every business expense and continually balance the checkbook so that your business finances do not get away from you, and to keep them organized for tax time.  Meet with an accountant for any questions you might have and to make sure all bases are covered.  

Your business may also need certain types of insurance.  There are different liability levels for your products, business, and home or office, so thoroughly check into what you need to be covered properly.  

A website is extremely important for any successful business to thrive.  It is one of the most common ways people learn about or search for businesses to fill their needs and determine a business’s legitimacy.  It can also be a big part of marketing along with business cards, flyers, and ads. 

Last, but not least, always remember to provide excellent customer service to everyone you come in contact with.  Leaving the best impression possible will help your business grow. Word of mouth and positive customer reviews online can have tremendous impact on a business’ growth and success.  So keep pushing forward with your dream and be your own boss!

Photo via Pixabay by Stuartlimedigital

Are you ready to jump into a new role?  If it’s time to start your own business venture, the sharing economy is a terrific vehicle for engaging success.  Here is how to put this platform to work for you.

Ready to roll.  Developing your own small business is a wonderful adventure and now is a terrific time.  Before you jump in, make sure it’s what you really want and a good fit for your skills, lifestyle and personality.  Do some self-introspection to determine if you were born to run your own business. For instance, are you a risk-taker?  Leading your own business can leave you open to downfalls when the economy dips or other issues impact your income. You need to be the sort of person who can see how to make improvements.  Whether it’s scheduling, bookkeeping, marketing or simply how you conduct phone calls, recognizing where there is room for improvement or opportunities for capitalizing can make a world of difference in growing your business.  You also need to be disciplined and tenacious, ready to work harder than ever to meet deadlines and goals.

The sharing economy explained.  If you’re ready to be your own boss, the sharing economy offers a wealth of opportunities for developing a small business.  Generally speaking, the sharing economy refers to peer-to-peer activities, meaning businesses or individuals offering services or goods to each other via a platform.  There is no one route for pursuing success. In recent years, the sharing economy evolved to embrace a variety of options:

  • Peer-to-peer lending programs.  These companies offer funds to individuals at lower rates than traditional lenders.
  • Co-working platforms.  In metropolitan areas, companies offer workspaces to entrepreneurs, freelancers and remote workers.
  • Business-to-business platforms.  Businesses offer goods or services directly to other businesses.  There are also business-to-consumer platforms and business-to-government platforms.  
  • Freelancing platforms.  These platforms connect freelance workers with clients; services are broad with everything from dog walkers to personal organizers and handymen to bookkeepers.  
  • Fashion platforms.  Just like it sounds, these platforms offer clothing for rent or for sale.

Nitty gritty.  To prosper, you need to handle your money well.  As a small business owner, you need to be smart with your funds to survive economic ups and downs.  You also must manage your bookkeeping carefully, staying ahead of invoicing, bills and taxes. Inc. recommends developing a sound budget.  You need to track how much income is required cover costs, how much you have available should unforeseen expenses arise and how much you can use toward your business-related “wants” versus your business-related “needs.”  A budget can provide validity if you apply for a loan as well.  

Advertising.  Word-of-mouth can be a key marketing tool, especially when you’re starting out.  As Entrepreneur notes, you will get people talking about your business by not just meeting their expectations, and not just exceeding their expectations.  It’s when you go noticeably beyond the call of duty that you’ll truly make a mark. Go the extra mile for your clients, be polite, be timely and be helpful.  The other way to generate word-of-mouth is by being remarkable in other ways. For instance, if your business offers cupcakes delivered to people’s doors, driving around town in a van painted to look like a giant cupcake will get you noticed and get people talking.

Mistakes to avoid.  There are a number of common mistakes new business owners make.  First and foremost, you should do something you are good at.  Pursuing a business in which you lack skill or knowledge is a set up for failure.  You also need to be aware of your competition. For example, if you’re selling a product at one price and a business across town offers the same item for half, you’ll probably price yourself out of work.  

Dive in!  Jumping into the sharing economy isn’t for everyone.  If you are ready to be your own boss, do a personal inventory and explore your options.  Develop a vision and a budget, get noticed and be aware of common errors. With these strategies you can assure success!

Image courtesy of Pixabay