6 Things You Need Before Starting a Small Business
Starting a small business is a smart, bold thing to do, regardless of the economic climate. The conventional wisdom may be to wait and kick off your venture when times are flush, credit is flowing, and consumers are eager, but there are actually a number of very convincing reasons why starting your business in a down economy can benefit you. Whether times are tough or not, though, before you get out of the starting gate and launch your venture there are several critical things you're going to need. To help make your journey easier and hopefully more prosperous, read on for the essentials.
1. A Good Idea
All successful small businesses start with a good idea - but how do you come up with one? Instead of using past methods of idea generation, like developing a product or service and then creating or establishing a foothold in a market, try the opposite approach. Identify a need or a desire that a large demographic of society currently has and build your idea around a solution.
You won't get very far if you're not organized, and luckily this is a skill that can be acquired. There are plenty of online resources at your disposal - find them with a quick Internet search. Organization is key not only to your business but to your personal life as well, and maintaining the balance between the two is essential. Going paperless with your monthly bills is one easy way to stay more organized since you won't have as many documents and statements to file. Creating task lists and setting up deadlines for yourself helps as well.
Time is a limited asset when starting a small business but it may be the most important. Unfortunately there are only 24 hours in a day and you can't do anything to change that. What you can do, however, is get more out of each day. If you've never investigated time management techniques, you may be stunned by how much more productive you can be once you put them in place. Even something as simple as creating a daily to-do list frees up significant time, and identifying and eliminating interruptions can help, too.
4. Some Capital
Notice I didn't say a ton of capital. If you choose your venture wisely and start out with a simple, contained idea, you won't need huge sums of funding. For example, if you begin as an independent consultant - instead of starting a full-blown consulting agency with staff members, office space, and other costly expenses - you can start off slow and evaluate your progress. For the money you do need, try to save up as much as you can during the preparation stage by fine-tuning your own finances. Another option is to crowdfund your business idea. Sign up at a website like KickStarter, present a detailed description with a well-defined mission, and don't set your funding goal too high. If you don't reach it, you don't receive anything.
You won't get far unless you're passionate about your idea. It may not be all wine and roses along the way, and sometimes your passion is going to be all you have to fall back on - but, if genuine, it can be the fuel that keeps you going when times are tough. Think this part through before committing to your idea.
6. Solid Work Ethic
You're going to be hard-pressed to succeed if you're not willing to bust your tail in the beginning, especially if you're still working a traditional job to bring in a paycheck. Small business ownership is hard work, there's no doubt about it. However, if you're willing to put in the sweat equity in the beginning, once things are up and running you can kick back and relax a bit. Identify what time of day you're at your most productive and plan to get your most difficult work done during those hours. Incorporate exercise into your daily regimen so you get a consistent good night's sleep and be sure to hit the ground running each and every morning.
Once you have all of these prerequisites in place, you have to decide when to launch. Your best bet is to do so while still working your day job – if you quit first the stakes are raised significantly since you're relying on profits to pay your bills. Plus, if you have all of the above measures in place, doing the two jobs simultaneously becomes that much easier. Eliminate the pressure of creating revenues from day one and you can concentrate more on building and growing your business for the long haul.