Your Own Business - Deciding what is Right for You
In an earlier article, entitled "Your Own Business: The First Steps," I
discussed what the initial nuts-and-bolts steps are in starting a business. In
it, I made the assumption that the soon-to-be entrepreneur had already decided
on a business but needed some direction on what to do next.
The response to that article has been positive, but the most common question
asked of me is "Okay... but how do I actually decide what business is right for
me?" So I now want to take a step back and see if I can offer a little direction
in helping the anxious entrepreneur make an educated choice.
Most businesses are basically selling a product or a service. My focus will be
on products for the most part, but much of what follows can easily be applied to
services. The main thing to remember is that if you are offering a service, then
you are expected to be an expert in that service. If you are not a good plumber,
accountant or massage therapist, then do not choose that as your business! That
is, unless you take the time to learn and study first.
Whether your business is a product or service, always be sure you are offering
the best you possibly can. Excellence creates value and value creates repeat
business and positive word-of-mouth.
I also wish to address another issue that I get questions about. Many people
have said to me that I don't talk about business plans, business models, complex
marketing plans and such things that are in all the other books or articles. My
answer is that such things eventually need to be done, especially if you plan is
to take out a huge loan just to get started. If your particular business idea
dictates such formalities upfront or if you personally feel more comfortable
doing them first, then by all means do so.
But I believe many people are trying to start small businesses using whatever
limited capital and time they already have. That is to whom I am addressing my
suggestions. I feel that if you spend all of your time writing business plans
and feeling everything needs to be perfect then you'll never get the business
actually launched. Spend your time getting the business started small and
perfect it as you grow. The following steps will help you build towards all that
other stuff, but will get you the important information you need to know faster.
That being said, be sure you have enough time and capital to get it started and
ready for growth. Keep your overhead low so you can compete until you are
established. I should say keep overhead low for you, but spend what is needed
for customer satisfaction. Be sure you set it up according to the local, state
and national regulations. Seek support from professionals as needed, including
accountants and attorneys.