Advice Starting Small Businesses

Are you considering starting a new business? Looking for small business advice? Before rushing into any business endeavor it's important you go into the situation with your eyes wide open. 

When starting any new business, it's important it's a business you are passionate about. Business owners spend so much time planning and managing their business, it's imperative your business is one that excites you. 

business startup

So, what if you are considering a new business venture, but you really don't know a lot about the business? In this situation it is critical that you fully educate yourself about the business. One of the best ways to learn about a business is to talk to someone who is already in the business or has recently retired from the business.  

Understand upfront that your potential competitor may or may not be willing to share their wisdom with you. For example, some local companies may be hesitant to share information with you since you may be perceived as a future competitive threat.

However, if you travel outside your immediate geographic area, people in the same line of business will often provide you with a wealth of information and insight. They remember how it was when they started out and most likely they received help and advice in those early stages. Also, they have egos and business owners love to tell others about their success. 

If you are buying an existing business then you should be able to learn a great deal from the seller. However, you'll need to verify everything the seller tells you since they are seeking to sell their business and as a result, might not disclose the full scope of the challenges involved in the business. 

"Chase the vision, not the money; the money will end up following you."

- Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO

In some businesses, such as wine growers or craft beer makers, the industry is highly competitive but is also very supportive of each other.  These types of industries understand that there is plenty of money to be made for everyone. They compete fiercely, but they also enjoy a camaraderie among the group, which helps them all to become better at their craft. 

In the next section, we'll get you started with key questions you'll want to answer when considering a new business startup.

"The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something. It’s as simple as that. A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today. The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer."

- Nolan Bushnell, Entrepreneur

Advice Starting Small Businesses
Key Startup Questions

Regardless of the method or resource you use to gain knowledge about starting a small business, make sure you understand everything you can about the business and industry you are considering.

Below is a comprehensive list of questions that will get you started in assessing a new business. Answers to these important questions will help you decide if the business you are considering is the right one for you.

  • What special skills are necessary for this type of business?
  • What special knowledge is needed?
  • What is the most difficult thing about this type of business?
  • What are the important skills required for success?
  • What does a business owner like most about this type of business?
  • What does a business owner like least about this type of business?
  • How much should I expect to make my first year?
  • How much can I expect to make after five years?
  • How much money should I set aside to start this business?
  • What is the expected break-even point for this business?
  • How seasonal is the business? Do the revenues vary from month-to-month?
  • What does the future look like for this type of business?
  • Is there any proposed local, state, or federal legislation that may have an impact on the business - positive or negative?
  • What available resources are available to assist in my research of this business? E.g. trade journals, industry groups, etc. 

After learning about the business, are you excited? Do you want to learn even more? Are you already thinking of ways you can improve upon the products and services already being offered in the business?  If the answer is yes, then this may be a great business for you. Any business that fuels your passion has a higher chance for success so pay attention to your inner voice.

Too often most business ideas simply never get off the ground for lack of initiative, energy and enthusiasm. If you are hesitant to get started, this may be a sign you haven't found the right business idea yet, so keep looking for that one thing that really motivated you to get out of bed every day. 

Don't just talk about your idea. Actively search and you the best business idea will come your way. Only when you seek it out, will you find it.

Use our many leadership tools and resources and take steps daily toward realizing your dream and making your vision a profitable reality.

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