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Top 5 Things Everyone Should Know Before Starting a Business

The nature of business has changed over the years, and the idea of going out alone is much more prevalent. With this shift in mindset, it seems as if people tend to paint a fairly rosy picture of entrepreneurship. Most do so because they truly believe it is the right answer for a lot of people who are not happy at work, and for others who might be but could still be more fulfilled, happier, and make more money working for themselves.

While it may an incredibly rewarding experience, if this is a path you are considering, there are indeed things people may not tell you about. With this in mind, here are our top five things you need to know, but may not, before starting a business.

1. More money will be needed than you think
One of the main issues any entrepreneur faces when creating a startup is that it does indeed take money to make money. The question of course is – where do I get that money? The usual suspects are yourself (savings, cashing out), friends and family, and SBA loans. Lately other ways have arisen too – microfinance and crowdfunding to name just two.

But an equally vexing issue is the amount of money you will need. The short answer is that you will need enough to launch the venture, buy product, get inventory, market the business, and pay yourself – for at least 6 months, because that is the minimum amount of time it takes to start, get the word out, get business, and start the money cycle.

And also, things will go wrong, mistakes will be made, and unforeseen problems will arise. That is why it will cost you more than you think, for probably longer than you anticipate.

2. Start with a robust e-presence from the get-go.
This is not something that can wait for later, or be done poorly. Right from the start you simply must have a good website, and a decent social media presence. Nab the Twitter and Facebook domain names for your business as soon as you know what that name is. Get a good-looking website up and running before you have your grand opening party. You may even want to get some videos done to post on the site and have an e-newsletter ready to go from the start.

People today will find you as much online as they will offline, maybe more so, so your online offering has to be top-notch. You really do not get a second chance to make a great first impression.

3. Your skill set will be heavily relied upon.
Whatever skills you have learned along the way, whatever your specialty at work today, it will likely be true that you will need to bring those to bear in your startup right from the very beginning.

When you start, your resources and help are limited. You will wear a lot of hats. If you are good at accounting, great! That is one less thing you will need to pay for. If you have marketing skills, those will be vital to your startup. Sure you will be doing other new and fun and interesting things, but do not discount how important those old tried and true things will be as well.

4. You will need to bring in customers.
Right now, no one knows about your new business. No one. Zero. Zilch. Where will these new customers come from? You will need to let people know you are there, so before you ever open the doors to your new business, you better have a great plan in place.

Start by contacting everyone you know. That is one source. Your website, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn? That’s two. Marketing and PR is three. Pay-per-click is four. I suggest you come up with at least five different ways to bring in customers before you begin.

5. You will need lots of patience.
As you can see, it all takes time. Neither Rome, nor your new startup, was or will be built in a day. So creating that new enterprise takes faith and perseverance. Keep at it every day. Plug away. Follow your plan. It almost always pays off, especially if you were ready right from the start.

 
What business are you considering starting? Let’s talk about in the comments area below!

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About Steve Strauss

Senior small business columnist at USA TODAY and author of 15 books, including The Small Business Bible, Steve is your host here at TheSelfEmployed.com.


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