You don’t have a background in business, or maybe you don’t even have a college degree. You don’t know any venture capitalists or how people get hooked up with angel investors. You aren’t connected, and you don’t have any money. What you have is a lot of drive and a great idea. Can you still start a business? Absolutely, and the tips below will help you get started.
You don’t need a formal degree to start a business although at some point you may decide to get one. However, you do need to educate yourself about business and common terms and concepts. Even if you see yourself as a maverick, you need to understand the world before you can upend it. You can learn more in a variety of different ways. You can read books, listen to podcasts, and take classes online or at a local community college. This will give you the foundation you need to do such things as testing the viability of your business idea or forecasting your profits.
You may not need much money to get started, but if you need more than you have, there are several options for getting funding. You could apply for grants, or you could take out a personal loan from a private lender. The latter be a quick process that you can complete online. You could also look for investors, but be sure that you are comfortable with the amount of control they would have over your company.
Write a Business Plan
One of the main items on your checklist for starting a business has to be creating your business plan. This will serve several purposes. You’ll need it if you are applying for a grant or trying to get investors. However, it is also a useful document for you because it can often highlight areas you need to think through more carefully. While writing your plan, you might realize that you do not know much about the competition and how you will distinguish yourself from them, or you might see that you don’t have much of a marketing plan. Spend some time on this document, and be as thorough and concrete as possible.
It’s a good idea to start getting to know people in the field where you want to start your business. You may be able to do this locally, possibly by joining your Chamber of Commerce. You can also connect over social media and by attending seminars and talks either online or in person. In addition, simply talk to everyone that you know about your new business. Of course, you shouldn’t share proprietary information, but you may be surprised at how many connections you can make by doing this. Someone’s cousin or neighbor or friend may know someone they can connect you to.
Keeping Your Job
If the terms of your employment allow it and it does not interfere with your ability to get your business up and running, it’s not a bad idea to get your company going while still employed elsewhere. This can mean that you don’t have to worry about drawing a certain salary right away. You may be able to make better decisions for the long run when you are not under pressure to start making money immediately.
Common obstacles to starting a business include lack of finances, lack of knowledge or experience, lack of mentorship, lack of access to resources, fear of failure, and difficulties with legal and paperwork issues.
To overcome the fear of failure, take the time to do your research and come up with a plan of action. Make sure you understand the risks involved and be prepared for them ahead of time. Talk with a mentor or another entrepreneur for guidance. Stay positive and focus on the end goal.
Begin by determining exactly how much money you need and then look for ways to finance your start-up costs. Look into getting a loan from a bank or other financial institution, apply for grants, or seek out investors. Consider crowdfunding platforms or utilizing your own savings to get started.
Take advantage of online or local classes, or research resources that can help you gain the knowledge and experience necessary to start your business. Utilize mentorship programs or seek out experienced entrepreneurs who can provide insight and advice.
Be sure to familiarize yourself with local, state, and federal laws, applicable tax codes, and industry regulations pertaining to your business. It may be beneficial to consult with a lawyer when setting up your business.
Invest in good accounting software to help you keep track of your finances and maintain records. Get advice and tips on organizing paperwork from other entrepreneurs or industry professionals.
Create a clear plan of action and timeline. Break down big projects into smaller goals and prioritize tasks. Utilize tools like to-do lists and organizational charts to help you stay organized.
Developing a strong network of mentors, advisors, and other entrepreneurs can be invaluable. Utilize online resources, workshops, and events to help you connect and get advice.
Setting clear and achievable goals and focusing on your end goal can help you stay motivated. Take time to celebrate your successes and share them with your network.
Utilize stress-reducing techniques like meditation, exercise, and taking time for yourself. Reach out for help from your network if you need additional support.