Starting your own business takes guts. For many, it remains a lifelong dream. Handled well, owning your own business can be incredibly exciting and fulfilling—you have the chance to make something where there was nothing, to create a space for yourself and your work to thrive. And the best part? You get to do it on your own terms. But starting a business is a major undertaking—for better or worse, it will change your life. Take these steps to arm yourself for the challenge, and when you have all the necessary tools in place, act!
Here are some tips to starting your own business:
- Explore The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) website for advice on getting started. You will find articles on everything from how to write a business plan, where to locate your business, how to find financing, and how to deal with taxes and permits. The SBA also provides a wealth of information for women-owned companies, and on ways for economically disadvantaged women to go into business for themselves.
- Take the time and come up with a business plan. This will force you to think about your goals and how you plan to achieve them. Some of the things you will need to produce to make your plan successful are an executive summary, a market analysis, a company description, plans for marketing and sales, and financial projections. Is this starting to sound like a lot of work? This is just the beginning. Plenty of resources are out there to support you as you do this research, but putting together a tight business plan is a serious endeavor, and will take time to get right.
- Talk to a financial advisor. Their advice in the beginning stages can really be helpful. Be sure to have your business plan along and listen carefully to their advice, even if it is painful to hear. They have seen and heard a lot of business plans and know what they are talking about.
- Many people get so excited that they can’t wait to quit their job. The problem there is that it adds a tremendous financial burden to your fledgling project, upping the pressure and making your life more stressful than necessary. Many businesses do not make enough money for several months (or even years). If you do not have enough in your savings account to take care of yourself and your family, try to work and start your business part-time, until you see that your company can bring in enough money.
- Be sure to look into any permits and licenses that you might be required to have. Again, the SBA has a lot of helpful information.
For inspiration, check out the spotlight interview with Nely Galan.