Friday, January 1, 2016

Leave corporate, start your own

     Free daily tips, information, advice and ideas
     to help you better manage your small business

     Many people dream of leaving the corporate world to start a small business of their own. It's a big move, and it takes careful planning.

     Before you jump, do your homework. Jane simply resigned her position at a big corporation, rented a store and began selling chocolates. It was a hard lesson learned--she failed. In her second business, Jane did lots of careful planning before she began selling chocolates using her website and social media--without a shop. She had better luck.

     Home in on your interest. A small business can be built around any interest you might have--collectibles, food, clothing, artworks, consulting, design, wellness, the list is endless. Any interest represents a market.

     Study the market. No business survives without clients/customers. Who are they? How many can you attract? Why will they spend with you? What is your competition--and how can you beat it? How can you use social media to promote and build your business? 

     Get a part time job. Target the industry where you'll be starting your business. Get some experience in the trenches. Study eBay and Amazon before opening a store. Help out at a greenhouse before you begin growing plants for sale.

     Write up a plan. You can plan in your head, but writing it down forces you to create a step-by-step process. A written plan gets your priorities sorted out. Then, reduce everything to bottom line numbers. Numbers force reality. Total sales less expenses tells you if you are healthy.

     Get a handle on funding. No matter what you do, you will need money--to get started, to get the business off the ground, and to survive for a year or two. Do you self-fund? Borrow from Aunt Sallie? Get a loan from a bank? Go for crowd funding? Will the business generate enough bottom line cash to pay your salary AND support future growth? 

     Longer term planning. Look ahead to future retirement and fit your business into this thinking. Can you eventually sell the business? Can you keep the business running in your golden years? Are you planning to establish the first of many franchised operations? 

     Leaving corporate and starting your own business is a big move. Corporate America and Small Business America occupy different planets, speak different languages, require different attitudes. Do your homework upfront and you can avoid some pitfalls later. 

     In small business, you are the juggler of...everything. And the most important thing you juggle is planning ahead. Neglect planning and you are flying blind.  


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