Many people find the idea of starting their business exciting and adventurous. Maybe it’s because they are independent-minded by nature or after years of being an employee, are eager for a change.
Although the thought of being your own boss can be inspiring, it’s important to remember that many startup businesses fail. Running a business takes a lot of work, but with the right preparation you can be successful.
How to be Successful with your New Business
It may seem obvious, but the first key action a new business should take is to have a great idea. If only a few people want what you have to offer, or if the market for your idea is saturated, you’re unlikely to succeed no matter how hard you try.
Having a viable plan is one of the next important steps after having a good idea. You may have a great idea for a killer widget that will change the world, but without a good plan, the whole thing is nothing but an idea.
As the saying goes, the devil is in the details. How are you going to market and sell the widget? Is it something you can manufacture domestically or is it better to do so abroad? How will the widget be marketed, sold, and distributed?
Keeping expenses to a minimum in the startup phase is also another important action when it comes to staying in business. There’s no point in renting out expensive office space, going to costly trade shows, printing up business cards and letterhead, and hiring a bunch of people if your business does not take off first. Profitability has just as much to do with keeping costs down as it does generating revenue.
As the business grows, managing all these tasks becomes overwhelming. This is where enterprise resource planning (ERP) software can be helpful.
With ERP software, you are managing the lifecycle of taking that great idea, determining the logistics and materials (if applicable) to make that idea into a product, how it’s going to be marketed, how you are paying vendors and employees, tracking all the costs along the way. Since ERP software is so comprehensive in what it tracks, it is critical to do an ERP comparison to find the solution that best fits your business needs.
Another important step in building your business is to put together a great team. A commonly repeated concept in business texts is that each person on the team should be a clone, or another ‘right hand’ of the founder. That’s a good start, but it has limitations. In a perfect world, each employee would be better at performing their role than a clone of the founder would be.
Benefits of Starting Your Own Business
A business owner can enjoy certain tax deductions that are not available to regular employees. According to IRS Publication 535, business use of your automobile may qualify for a deduction. The same goes for your home, equipment, and furniture. It’s a good idea to consult a tax professional to see if any such deductions apply to you.
Work-life balance is another benefit of having your own business because you have a lot of factors under your control within your working environment. You can decide how many or how few customers you want to have, and therefore establish a workload that allows you to make a good living, yet still spend your time on family and other personal interests.
Office politics is one aspect of being an employee that drives many people to the edge of insanity and makes them eager to go into business for themselves. Having your own business won’t eliminate all things political from your business life, since your interactions with customers and vendors could involve politics themselves.
It can, however, drastically reduce them in some areas. As a business owner, you get to make many decisions the way you want to, without needing a supervisor’s approval or having to run them through a committee or board of directors. It gives you agility to take action that larger companies don’t have.
You also tend to have a bigger sense of pride in the work that you do. Since you are on the front line with your customers, you have to own your actions. On the one hand, that might keep you up some nights, but on the other, when things go well, you get to enjoy the rewards.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of dreaming about all the great things that come with owning a business without knowing the work and risks that go with it. That should not discourage any entrepreneur, however. By gaining a lot of knowledge, planning carefully, and good execution, your business can avoid the boneyard of failed startups.