Women In Business

Starting a successful business from scratch takes smarts, strategy — and courage

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Running your own business can be a liberating and personally fulfilling experience. You’ll finally be able to become to your own boss, set your own schedule and do work that you’re truly passionate about. Striking out on your own takes a huge amount of courage that might earn you a lot of respect too. Below are a few tips to help you bring it all together and turn your passion into a financially and personally gratifying career.

Really develop your idea

You might have a vague idea of what you want to do. The problem? You might be having trouble coming up with ways to commercialize or market an idea. In other words, your idea needs a bit of fleshing out. Make sure that your idea is based around something that you get personal fulfillment doing. Also check to ensure that there’s a market for your idea, invention, shop, or innovation. Really think in terms of value. Do you have an idea that you can turn into a business concept and that also has a positive impact on other people’s’ lives? If the answer is yes, then you might have a winner.

Draw up a business plan

You’ll likely need a business plan for obtaining a private business loan (more on that later), but a business plan is also useful for refining your ideas and really getting down to the details. A business plan should include an executive summary that provides a broad overview of your future company’s business model, goals, and likely profitability. A business plan should also include a summary of market analysis. Lenders and other people that you do business with one day are going to be reassured when they see that you’ve taken a look at the market and the kinds of customers that you’ll likely be providing goods and services to shortly. By studying the market beforehand you can get a richer feel for your future profitability, challenges, and what kinds of marketing campaigns you might need to reel in new customers. Speaking of marketing, one portion of your business plan should also include a marketing and sales summary as well as the management structure that your future business will run on. Listing names of prospective suppliers and distributors can show future investors that you’ve really taken the time to understand the market and its interconnected supply chains. It’s a step that definitely gives investors confidence.

Get creative with funding

Once you establish your budget and get down to details on how much it will cost to bring your product or service to market, then you can start looking into finding the right investors for your business. Savings as well as help from family and friends are two popular routes, but small business association (SBA) loans, private loans from a commercial bank, and even crowdsourcing are a few other creative funding ideas worth pursuing. There are people out there who really do want to help you get your idea off of the ground.

Proactively network your idea

You can plan for making a great first impression by concisely summarizing your business’ mission and its goals. You should ideally be ready to give a thirty-second elevator pitch to people who want to know more about your business, your personal goals for your business, and why the current market is ripe for your business idea. Network anywhere and whenever you can. Sign up for trade shows, networking groups in your industry, and professional organizations that can connect you with other entrepreneurs like yourself. Getting out there in the real world can connect you to an evolving web of partners, mentors, and potential sources of funding that can help you achieve independence or expand your business further.

Keep planning for tomorrow

The business models that succeed over the long term are constantly striving to reinvent themselves and bring something new to the market. To do that you’ll need to be constantly reading new information from trade journals, getting information from your peers in the industry, and immersing yourself in online news about the market.

About Emily Burton

Emily Burton is a freelance writer interested in business topics and blogs. She has previously worked as an interior designer for several years before becoming a full-time stay-at-home mom. She has had first-hand experience with managing her own business as an interior designer, as well as working as a freelance writer from home.

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