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Your New Year’s Resolution: Start a Business

Open for BusinessAccording to a survey conducted by Intuit (the guys behind Quickbooks and Mint), 72% of Americans want to own their own company. And 84% believe they would be more passionate about their work if they owned their own business. We certainly are.

If you’re among those dreamers, there’s never been a better time to start your business.

But before you quit your job and open your own company, make sure you have everything lined up for your success.

First, make sure you have an idea that will work. It doesn’t have to be original—in fact, you’re more likely to succeed if there is a proven demand for your product. Boring businesses like car washes, carpet cleaners, and caterers will never have the flash and notoriety of startups like Facebook or AirBNB, but you’re more likely to succeed with something customers know they need.

Second, make sure you can make enough money from your product or service. No doubt you’ve heard the advice to “follow your passion”. Don’t. At least, don’t follow a passion that no one will pay you to pursue. You need passion for your business, but that’s not the same thing as building a business from your passion. Your goal is to build a business, not a hobby.

Third, do your homework. You may want to jump in and get started, but you’d be wise to at least think through some of the challenges faced by other entrepreneurs and heed some of their advice. Read a book or two about starting a business. Check out an online course that walks through the stuff you need to know. Or talk to someone who’s done it before. Get into the details. Do your homework.

Having said that, don’t get stuck in the learning trap—thinking you need to read everything, earn your MBA, and figure out all the answers. You’ll never learn it all. Once you’ve got the basics, its time to get to work.

Fourth, make sure you have enough money. We’re not talking about raising venture funding here. This is about having enough to pay the mortgage or make your car payment in the months while you struggle to earn enough money to pay for equipment, advertising, and other business expenses (let alone a salary). Plan on at least six months without income, probably double that.

Fifth, think twice before starting an MLM-style “home-based business.” If you’re required to make monthly minimum purchases in order to have your business, you’re a customer, not a business owner.

In the coming weeks, we’ll take a look at some of the basics (in more detail) that you need to consider as you work to complete your resolution to start a business. Until then, you might want to think about creating a logo design as the first step to getting started.

Photo credit: mag3737 via photopin cc

Amber Ooley
Amber Ooley
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