Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Tips for Starting Your Own Business

You saw a need in the community, you came up with an idea and you are now determined to start your own business. With a firm idea in your mind of your new business, you need to keep in mind a few tips along the way to make sure your dream can become a reality. It is easy to get overwhelmed on this journey to owning a new start up company, but the reward is unparalleled in both accomplishment and potentially financial security. With some additional attention to basic tips, you can help reduce some of the uncertainty you’ll have as you begin on your journey and get off on the right foot. 

Creating a Business Plan

One of your earliest steps to starting a new business is to create a business plan. You need to work out what type of market you’re going to be entering into and how to make your company fit into that market. Your business plan should detail what you’re going to offer, who you’re targeting, price ranges and most importantly, how you’re going to make it all happen. Keeping this business model simple at the start is key. Detailing a business plan that is incredibly specific seems like it would be helpful, but in reality, will only make it more challenging for you to adapt and change as you learn more about your market and business. A simpler business model will allow you the flexibility to alter and change components of your business without throwing off other aspects of your plan, while still giving you the structure you need to run a successful business. 

Determining Your Target Audience 

One of the most overlooked aspect of starting a business is the need to specify exactly who you’re targeting. If you try to target everyone, you will be targeting no one. As a new business, it is important that you choose a very specific customer. This allows you to have more direction when deciding your pricing and packaging. Different marketing techniques work for different demographics and you will have a much stronger business if you know who you are reaching out to. A more specific audience allows for more effective marketing. 

Financing Your Business

Starting a business is challenging and costly, but there are some ways to help you keep costs down while you are getting up on your feet. Until you have begun to bring in sales, it is incredibly important to keep as many costs down as possible. This can come in different ways, depending on your business. Paying for services up front gives you money immediately, especially if you need to purchase supplies for the services themselves. Ask friends and family to donate time to training interns or volunteering themselves. Government grants and different types of funding may also be available in your area. Be sure to check these out while planning your budget.  

About the Author: Jamie is a guest contributor from the Executive Education Program at Michigan State University, a program dedicated to enhancing professional and leadership skills.

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