WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SMALL BUSINESS SUCCESS
The common challenge among would be entrepreneurs is that you must determine whether entrepreneurship is for you. So you think you want to be an entrepreneur?
We will consider whether or not you have what it takes and are ready to begin the journey.
New parents are often told that the first five years are the toughest, your baby is dependent on you from the moment of conception to the day you put him or her on that yellow school bus headed for kindergarten.
Your job doesn't end once your child goes to school full time. But at that point, your child can do some things for themselves, making your job a little easier. The same is true for a small business. If you think you work hard now, just wait until you become your own boss.
As an entrepreneur, you wear many hats, including sales and marketing guru. Your number one job as a business owner is to generate leads and convert sales.
You're also going to be the secretary.
You get to write the letters, put them in the envelope and take them to the post office.
Oh, you're also shipping and receiving, too.
You're going to be your own business planner.
You will be developing the strategic direction for your business and you will be writing your business plan yourself.
You're also going to be the market researcher.
You are the research and development department.
You'll decide when and if it's time to bring out a new product.
You're going to be the inventory manager. You'll need to order and stay on top of any inventory needed in your business.
You're also going to be the bookkeeper and CFO. You will sign all the checks, issue all the invoices, and you're going to keep your accounting records up to date.
You're also going to be the payroll manager. Even if you use a payroll service, someone still has to track everyone's hours and report them to the payroll service so that everyone can be issued their paycheck on time.
Then you've got to be the H.R. manager if you already manage people, you kind of know about this one, you've got them and it's hiring, training, reviews, dismissals and retaining your employees and independent contractors.
Contract administrator, you're the one who will prepare and review all of the business contracts. You're also going to be your own technology expert. If the printer breaks down, you're going to have to troubleshoot it yourself or call someone who can fix it.
You're going to be the sales and marketing expert too. You're going to be the social media expert. Social media is required for marketing these days. So until you can pay someone to help you with it, you're going to be doing that, too.
But your most important job as a business owner will be to be your bill collector. Everyone thinks they can pay a small business owner late or last. So you must stay vigilant with collections.
You will come to know what the word sacrifice means, you'll scale back on eating out, buying the latest gadgets and shopping whenever you feel like it, you're going to cook more at home and be forced to eliminate all unnecessary expenses.
Yes, that well-deserved surf and turf dinner at your favorite restaurant is now an unnecessary expense.
Small businesses typically take 12 to 18 months to break even and three years to generate enough profits to replace your corporate salary. Your father is typically when a small business blossoms into a self-sustaining entity, starting a successful business is a long road.
It will take every bit of enthusiasm and energy you have to grow your idea into a viable business.
The first step is to decide whether you have the entrepreneurial mindset, does this describe you?
You always think there's a better way to do things, you sit around thinking about the money you're making for your company and you think you could be making that money for yourself.
You prefer to be in charge? You think that managers are generally clueless, you feel underutilized in your career, you are dissatisfied generally with your job.
You know, you would think to do things differently if it were your company. And you're ready for a new adventure. Entrepreneurs are natural leaders, self-motivated and creative thinkers, they can make decisions quickly and focus on accomplishing their goals.
Entrepreneurs are visionaries, hard workers and extremely perceptive. They typically have demanding personalities and are extroverted, they're risk takers.
One of the flip side, sometimes these people are stubborn, demanding and impatient. Entrepreneurs are not always good listeners or coachable and can be a little bit territorial and paranoid.
If any of these qualities sound familiar, then entrepreneurship may be for you.
But before you go into business, there are six steps that you must go through to really make sure you have all the information about starting a business and this "How To Become Your Own Boss" course will help you accomplish them.
Number one, you need a life plan. You also need a solid business idea. You need exceptional credit, a business plan, a supportive family, your spouse and faith.
I'm Melinda Emerson, small business lady, author of "Becoming Your Boss in 12 Months and creator of the How to Become Your Own Boss?, because I created the Emerson Planning System to help you think through all the things you need to know before you start your business.
The Emerson planning system is a six stage process to help you transition successfully from small business ownership to starting your dream business.
THE SIX STEPS TO SMALL BUSINESS SUCCESS
Step one: Life plan. You need to figure out what you want out of life and why you want it, and then start a business that will allow you to eventually live your dream life.
Step two: Financial plan. Banks do not loan money to start businesses, the money to start your business will come from your right or your left pocket. So it's important to get your personal finances in order before starting any business.
Step three: Validating your business concept. You must evaluate your new business idea based on what skills you have and what skills you need to run your particular business.
Don't be tempted to start a business just because you heard those kind of businesses make a lot of money. Make sure you have experience and know what you're doing.
Step four: Marketing plan. It's critical that you understand the market the size of your opportunity and the niche target customer you will serve up front. Otherwise you need to go back to the drawing board and come up with a new business concept.
Step five: Business plan. You need a business plan because it's your roadmap to success, the business planning process will help you design how your business will operate, identify your marketing strategy, clarify your revenue model and who you need on your team. It will also help you understand your costs and how to develop sales projections.
Step six: Launch your business. Once you have your plan, it's time to launch your business. But only fools rush in. It's best to launch your business as a side hustle first to test the market. Everyone has ideas, but few people know how to run a business.
Your business venture should be something in which you have experience or professional training. If you don't have the experience, then you should go work for a business like the one you want to start so that you can learn the business.
You'll see expensive mistakes to avoid and hopefully you'll identify a unique value proposition for your company.
Well, you're just starting out, there will be little money and plenty of work to do. You must love what you do as it will be the only thing that keeps you going.
At times, you must never let a customer down. Savvy business owners figure out how to do what they love and how to get paid for it. Starting a business is expensive. That's why before you start, you need to make sure you're on solid financial ground.
You'll need exceptional credit and enough savings to support yourself and launch the business. Without a financial cushion, things could be really lean and unsupportive.
Spouses can kill a business faster than a bad marketing plan. Your spouse or partner must be behind your decision to start your business. If not, your dream can turn into a nightmare.
Your business will be tough enough without constant negativity and lack of support at home. Make sure there's good communication between you and your partner and honored them as your number one customer once you complete your life plan.
Look at your personal finances, evaluate your business idea and identify your target customer, you must determine whether or not you've got the time, money and experience to pursue this business.
Even if you decide that you can be an entrepreneur, you must decide if you should be one, do you have a solid business idea?
If the answer is yes, then it's time to formulate your revenue model. Who will be your target customer and how will you reach them?
You must evaluate the competition and determine if there's a viable market or profit margin for your product or service. Then you can make your go/no-go decision. Consider business education, great small business owners are lifelong learners.
If you have the opportunity to re-train, to pursue a second or third career and you think you want to be an entrepreneur, take a business planning course.
If you're ready to go back to school to get an MBA, take the entrepreneurship electives.
If you're just starting out in college, double major in business or at least mine or in business or marketing, or you can always take my "How to become your own boss" course with the small business, the university...
As a business owner, you should consider looking for ways to improve your leadership, marketing knowledge and your general business skills. You must plan for success, it will not just happen to you, a lot of people fear fear around starting a business because they don't have a plan.
Think of your business plan as a GPS to get your business going. A good business plan guide you through each stage of starting and managing your business.
Everyone has great ideas, but ideas don't become a business. And do you have a written plan? Faith is key if you think of your business as a recipe, I believe faith is a key ingredient. Your faith will give you the confidence to bet on yourself and it will give you the courage.
Even if you're afraid to press forward, your faith will help you make day to day decisions, trust your intuition, learn from your mistakes. And we'll also give you the strength to lick your wounds and fight another day.
Religious or not, you can always meditate and pray. If after all this information, you decide this is not the right time to become an entrepreneur, don't feel bad. Not everyone is cut out to be a business owner.
But on the other hand, if you've listened to all that I've shared and at this point you're ready to move forward, let's do this.