Starting a business can evoke a lot of emotions be it fear, anxiety, excitement, or sense of satisfaction. The intent and uttermost important goal is to make money and be successful. No one goes into business expecting to fail. It takes a lot of planning and arranging to get things going. While there are factors that will be out of your control, those that you can handle must be dealt with accordingly. Some people think that because they have a good idea or products that people want it guarantees success. However, they did not go beyond to think of how to advertise and promote their idea or products. Another overlooked factor is start-up costs. How are they going to pay for the expenses of the business until they get customers? Would you buy a vehicle with a bad engine even though it looks good? Just like a beautiful car with a bad engine, a business without good planning, sufficient capital, and other necessities for business works the same. The idea and products are great but the marketing, capital, search engine optimization for the website, and other factors(the engine) are not so well. A business(the vehicle) like this does not last long before you are fed up, in debt, out of money trying to fix problems, and ready to quit. That’s why a good start-up is necessary for business.

A good start-up consists of:

FIGURE IT OUT

Take time to think about what you would like to do. What are you good at and how could others benefit from it. Use your hobbies, interests, experience, and skills to your advantage. I am pretty sure more than a few business ideas will come to mind. When your mind begins to stream ideas, be sure to write them down. You may have a few ideas you find suitable for a business but I encourage you to stick to one. Take on one project at a time.

PLANNING

Once you are set on an idea, it is time to plan. A small business does not only have to get up and running, it has to compete with other well-known, maybe bigger, businesses within its industry. Planning is essential. A business plan is a directional compass. A good business plan could show both opportunity and opposition depending on how detailed it is. You can minimize risk monetarily and legally as well. Business planning will help you decide whether proceeding with your idea(s) are even worth it. A plan answers these questions too, “Is there a market for the product or service?” “Who is the competition?” “How much capital is needed?” Creating a business plan will be to your benefit most importantly because helps to get financing from investors. Business plans shows you have taken time to consider all or most of the aspects of owning a business and are serious about becoming an entrepreneur.

DO IT

You have the money to get started so, do it. If you have a testable product, do not be afraid to let people try it. Ask for feedback on services and product quality. For the duration of being in business especially while building a name for yourself, always look for ways to improve. Refer to your plan as needed. Execute your plan and you should be fine.

BE LEGIT

Whether your business is online or a storefront, you have to be legit. That means have ALL your paperwork in order. Make sure you have your licenses and permits before you begin business. For those that choose to start without it, get it ASAP. Not registering your business could result in fines or having your establishment shut down. Business filing is important. This is not to be overlooked or put off.

MARKETING

Promote your brand. The more people who know what you have to sell and who you are, the better. In my opinion, most small businesses fail because they do not advertise enough. Traditional forms of advertisement–newspaper ads, local phonebook, flyers, and handouts are okay. Advertising those ways are usually time consuming, costly, and bring minimal results. I believe the best way to market your products and services is online marketing. Internet marketing reaches thousands to millions of people a day. What I consider to be awesome is that you can target the market in which you wish to sell to. Target marketing brings to customers that are interested to what you have to offer, not those that are not looking to purchase or not in need of your service. Online marketing makes your service/products visible locally and regionally. That is a far wider range of exposure than what traditional advertising can bring and often times less expensive.

WEB DESIGN

Having a website is a must have for any business. When you are sleeping, it is working and advertising for you. No matter what time of day it is you could still make money. To setup a website is fairly cheap. You can do it yourself or have it professionally done for an affordable price. Most people, when they are looking for services and especially products, go to the web. The internet has become the most used source for information. Think about it. The phonebook is not extinct but the least used. Search engines–Google, Bing, Yahoo, Ask are what is most popular and often used. Your business website should be listed there. Websites provide flexibility and convenience. People who do not have means of transportation to come to your physical location, work late, or live miles away have a way to still benefit from your product or service via your website. From your website, millions can get to know who you are, what you sell, what you do, compare, spread the word about you, and support your brand if they like you.

PAYMENT FLEXIBILITY

Make ways to get paid. Sure, you could accept cash only but what about credit card payments. How many people walk around with cash these days? Most purchases are made with a credit card because it is convenient, fast, and flexible for customers ( Accept Cards ). Yes, there are fees involved when accepting credit cards but it is well worth it. When a customer walks into your business they automatically assume you accept credit cards as a form payment. That assumption is acceptable because what credible business doesn’t… There is no place that I know that does not accept cards. SCENARIO: Customers come in and they look around and find something they like. The customer comes to the register to pay but only has a card. What then? The customer will either leave and you lose a sale(money) or walk around to find an ATM which would be a bad first impression for your business. If you do not want to accept cards, okay. Give your customers options though. At least have an ATM in the store for them to go to so that they are not too inconvenienced or compelled to walk away. You are in business to make money. The more ways for you to get paid, the better.