Starting Your Own Business -- Tips For Getting Started
The Pure Empathy Marketing Group
Starting Your Own Business -- Tips For Getting Started
Once you have graduated from college, starting your own business is an option in lieu of pursuing an employer. An ambitious individual with a strong work ethic and passion to create their own business can be a great career path. Below are some beginner steps to get started on creating your own business.
College Grads Starting Their Own Business
1. Register your company. Apply with your state government to become an LLC or Corporation. LLCs are much simpler and cheaper to set up, and they save you big on taxes.
2. Define specific goals for year one. It is crucial to map out 2-3 milestones fixed to defined calendar dates. This can include desired revenue, number of clients, and workforce size.
3. Specialize in one product or service. By perfecting a niche, your reputation and customer base will become rock solid and growth will follow. Remember, if you try to reach everyone in the beginning, you will reach no one.
4. Build a website. This is a must for your credibility. I recommend hiring a web developer who can send samples of their previous work. Around $500-1000 should be enough to get you a really nice site.
5. Network. Cold calling and aggressive marketing techniques are of the past. The smartest way to grow your company is to attend local events and join organizations (like your chamber of commerce). The new contacts you make will lead you to opportunities.
6. Learn from others. Read books, talk to friends and family, meet with professors, and visit Small Business Administration free counselors. To have a successful company, you must constantly seek feedback and increase knowledge of your industry.
7. Recruit part-time employees and interns from local universities. Universities are a great talent pool, and cheap too. Sometimes students will even intern for free. Their fresh perspective and classroom knowledge will add to your business.
8. Stick with it during the ups and downs. The first year of owning a business is the toughest. But if you hold on, word-of-mouth will cause your business to catapult in years two and three. It’s called the snowball effect.
A College Grad's Guide to Self-Employment and Entrepreneurship
Today’s job market is still pretty tough, and it can be hard to find a job in some fields. Luckily, college not only equips students for a specific career but with a number of skills that can help in almost every area of life, like communication, responsibility, persistence, and problem solving. Using these skills to overcome the struggling job market, many recent college graduates are creating their own jobs. And these innovative businesses aren’t just a means to an end; they can even change the world.
Is there really a market for entrepreneurs?
So, how much of a market is there really for entrepreneurs? A number of surveys have been taken over the last decades to measure how much of a market there really is for entrepreneurship. For example, according to the most recent data of the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 28.2 million small businesses in existence in 2011, and, believe it or not, small businesses make up 99.7% of all United States employer firms. Additionally, over half (52%) of U.S. businesses are home-based without additional employees. It’s not that surprising, then, that students are taking to entrepreneurship. In fact, according to a 2005 poll from Junior Achievement, more than two-thirds of teens said that they wanted to eventually live a life of entrepreneurship.
Starting on the path toward entrepreneurship
Equipping students with the right knowledge of how to pursue their entrepreneurial interests may help further bolster the economy. Although students may not hear about starting their own businesses as a career option as often as they hear about more “traditional” career paths, a number of colleges are starting to offer extracurriculars and programs that can help any self-starter. For example, colleges like Babson College in Massachusetts, which was ranked #1 by the Princeton Review as the top U.S. entrepreneurship programs in 2015, offers 55 courses at the undergraduate level that allow students to hone their entrepreneurial skills and knowledge. With 118 companies started by alumni and an entire faculty with a history in owning and running businesses, programs like these can provide the right tools to launch a career of self-employment.
Other schools, like Tufts University and Rice University, hold a number of competitions that let students develop some of their best business plans and even win resources to help make their ideas a reality. For example, the Tufts 100k Business Plan Competition is open to anyone in the Tufts community and gives away $100,000 in prizes. And Rice University’s Business Plan Competition (held by the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship) awards a total of $1.3 million to teams competing across the globe.
Get your feet wet as a freelancer
For students with an entrepreneurial spirit but who are not interested in starting a full-fledged company, freelancing is another option on the road to self-employment. As“independent contractor,” college graduates can work at their own pace on a variety of The sky is the limit with such jobs, like writing computer code for companies or creating compelling articles for magazines. However, the key to a successful freelance career is networking—spending a decent amount of time meeting people in a certain field and keeping the relationships going. Starting these relationships in college, whether it’s working on the campus newspaper or mingling with others of the same major, is a great first start.
Any discouraging talk of today’s job market isn’t holding college graduates back. With the variety of resources that colleges offer, plus their own plucky determination, students can live successful lives of self-employment.
Be Your Own Boss! The 8 Key Steps to Starting Your Own Business
People who think about starting their own business usually find themselves intimidated by all the big names from the entrepreneurial world. However, it need not be that way. You must remember that the big names began from scratch. Rather, they began with just an idea. Persevering with that idea and making the necessary adjustments led them to where they are today. Therefore, you could start an online store. All you need is a robust e-commerce software and a website. You could even consider becoming an event planner if you enjoyed organizing meetings and events at the workplace. Alternatively, you could start a home-based catering service if cooking is your forte. The possibilities are endless.
The Steps to Success: Eight Steps for Starting Your Own Business
For making your business succeed, follow the eight steps given below.
1.) START WITH A FEASIBLE IDEA
Mostly everyone comes up with several ideas. However, you would need to sift the credible ones from the worthless. Do you have something new to offer? Do you have something better than the current alternative that people are purchasing?
For example, Reed Hastings returned a DVD well past its due date. That DVD cost him a $40 fine. It also gave him a venture called Netflix. Netflix became a company that offered flat-fee unlimited rentals with no due dates, late fees, shipping or handling fees or per-title rental fees.
2.) DO A DETAILED PERSONAL EVALUATION
Consider why you want to start a business. Is it for freedom? Is it for expressing your creativity? Or, is it because of the money? Examine your skills. Would they give you a solid footing into the industry you’re planning to enter? Do you want to provide a business product or a service? How much capital do you have? These questions would help you set the foundation for starting your business.
3.) ANALYZE THE MARKET
The question to answer here is whether the market needs your offering or not. The more you understand your target audience, the more you would be able to offer them products and services that they would willingly pay for.
For example, Paul Orfalea began by selling stationery items. He positioned his network of stores near college campuses. He also staffed them with part-time students. Later, job seekers and business users also became a part of his clientele. Eventually, his organization—Kinko’s—spread to over 1,200 locations, before Federal Express acquired it in 2004.
4.) DOCUMENT YOUR BUSINESS PLAN
Starting a new venture is a project in itself. Therefore, you need to capture all the details in a business plan. This plan should include all aspects of running a business. This would include doing research for assessing market factors to determining job responsibilities and the operating structure. Setting up a business always takes longer and costs more than initially thought. Therefore, your business plan could help you map your route to success.
5.) MANAGE THE FINANCES
Many entrepreneurs underestimate their expenses. They are also over-optimistic when it comes to estimating how quickly they would make money. Therefore, you need to create a realistic budget first. Maintain realistic cash flows to ensure that you manage your funds well. List all your possible expenses in your initial expense budget—including your own remuneration. Estimate the cash you need to set aside in the bank for supporting your venture in its initial days.
6.) SOURCE THE FUNDING
Starting a business requires capital. You could do this through bootstrapping or by taking a loan from the bank. Alternatively, you could approach friends or family, angel investors or venture capitalists—depending on the size of your venture and its inherent value. Grants are another way through which you could fund your business.
7.) LEGALIZE YOUR VENTURE
Engage a good business attorney and an accountant to help you get started. Your attorney could guide you about matters like drafting contracts and determining the right ownership structure etc. Ownership structures could include sole proprietorship, partnerships, corporations, “S” corporations or limited liability corporations (LLCs). Obtain a business license and the other necessary permits. You might need licenses for manufacturing certain products. Purchase the necessary insurance too. This would help you safeguard your business from the various kinds of risks it faces.
8.) PLAN YOUR MARKETING STRATEGY
Know your customer well. Understand the demography of your target market. For example, their ages, their genders, their jobs etc. Plan your message according to your audience. Create a focused marketing plan that would complement your offering. Knowing how people would market and sell your product could be critical to its success.
Starting your own business is all about following an idea that strikes you. Thereafter, you have the choice of ignoring it altogether or of chasing it down. By chasing it, you give yourself the opportunity of realizing your potential. After all, not everyone has the courage to follow their dreams. What do you think is the hardest part about starting your own business? Share with us in the comment section below?
How to Start Your Own Business Straight Out of College
Come up with a business plan. The first thing you’ll need to do for your business is ask yourself several pertinent questions that may make or break your idea for a company.
While you probably won’t need to sketch out a 10-page business plan, it is good to have some idea of what running a successful business will entail.
For example, where will you operate? What will your start-up expenses be? How much money will it cost you to provide your services or create your products? How much money will you sell them for? How much time will you allot yourself to begin making a profit?
For the new entrepreneurs who are chomping at the bit, taking the time to write plan that answers these questions in a page or two will do the trick.
Do research while you are simultaneously developing your business plan, and this means more than just searching the Internet. Some of the most valuable sources you will find are live people who have been where you are about to go.
Your biggest liability as a new graduate is a lack of business experience, so once you decide what your product or service will be, seek out a reliable, well-established business owner in your industry who can mentor you.
If you can learn from the mistakes that a professional has already made on the way to success, you can save time, money and yourself from disappointment.
Surround yourself with success. This saying is useful advice for a fledgling business owner. In addition to having at least one mentor, align yourself with well-established businesses related to yours.
For example, if you are a freelance writer, network with graphic designers who can refer you to clients or who are willing to provide services as a team. Study what these people do to make their own companies so great, and then emulate them.
Set up shop. Whether you run your business from your bedroom or from a newly renovated office, you will need a space that is dedicated solely to your productivity.
One of the biggest challenges of starting a business is knowing when to turn your entrepreneurial brain on and off, and creating a space where you can conduct business can help you train yourself in this aspect.
Keep in mind you’ll need resources like Internet and electricity, so try to find the best deal that you can on these services to keep overhead costs low. You can use a site like uswitchforbusiness.com.
Start slowly. If you plan on starting your own catering business, take on just a couple of events a week until you know how many ingredients you should keep in stock.
If you plan to put your Web design degree to use, provide your services to a couple of clients for free to build up your portfolio and get an idea of how long each site will take to produce and how much you should charge.
Market yourself. It doesn’t matter how great your talents are if no one ever knows you are in business. Use a mix of traditional marketing channels, such as newspaper adverts and business cards, but try to mix it up with a unique marketing approach.
For example, conduct a social media raffle via Twitter or Facebook in which the prize is a package that includes your product or a redeemable coupon for a free service from your company.
The more innovative you are about getting the word out, the faster the news of your new business will spread.
Do what you love. This is the most important advice of all. One of the greatest advantages of being an entrepreneur is choosing a career that you absolutely love.
It’s also important to remember that many new business owners put in a lot of overtime in the beginning to provide a strong foundation for the growth of their companies.
Since you’ll be devoting your life to your job, it’s important that you genuinely enjoy what you do
- Outline a high-level plan and a schedule (Which started out on a napkin for them!)
- Develop a business plan (Remember, it’s never real until it’s in writing.)
- Gather advice from mentors, peers and contacts (Don’t be scared to ask others for advice!)
- Prepare financially during the launch phase (Prepare for times with little or no income while you build your business.)
- Utilize partnerships and business relationships (You have to be willing to ask for the business – if you don’t ask you won’t receive!)
6 Ingredients to starting a business:
- Confidence – If you don’t believe in your business, who will?
- Partnerships – Connect with your existing connections.
- Ability to face challenges – It’s not easy but it’s worth it.
- Willingness to take chances and learn from mistakes – Staring your business is a risk and you will make mistakes – just learn from them and move on.
- Support network – Be sure to have encouraging people supporting you – eliminate the negative people.
- Beer and coffee – Most business meetings (and the best ones) happen over a happy hour or coffee.