Even in the best of times, becoming an entrepreneur can be intimidating. In a year of economic turmoil, it can be downright daunting. Still, times of uncertainty breed opportunity. The success of a business often rests on the skill and drive of the person in charge. That success isn’t just a matter of will, though. There are definite steps that you can take to help ensure that your venture will be a win. Here are five simple things to keep in mind when starting a new business.
1. Master the Technology
Yes, that’s right. One of the most important qualities that a modern entrepreneur can have is to be tech-savvy. That’s not just because many of the most lucrative business fields involve technology directly. Nowadays, almost all business is aided by sophisticated technology, especially digital tools. Online time-tracking software can help a team leader keep track of hours worked and tasks accomplished right from their smartphone. A digital paystub generator can automatically calculate and record paid wages. Do your research and find out what tools are out there for your organization to leverage.
2. Have a Business Plan
Far too many entrepreneurs try to build a business without a solid plan in place. A business plan is all but necessary to secure a bank loan for your startup. Even if you’re entirely self-funded, having a formal plan written down can help keep your future plans on track. This plan can range in size from a single page to an entire portfolio, but it should include the fundamentals of what your business is designed to accomplish, an analysis of your potential customer base along with your strategy for marketing to them, and also a rundown of the current financing and future sales projections of your business. Having this in place will help investors and customers see that your venture is legitimate and has a course already plotted.
3. Find a Mentor
You may feel rather alone in getting your startup off the ground, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Various mentor programs exist for new business owners, from general networking and confidential advice to programs specifically for women or at-risk people. A recent survey by The UPS Store shows that small businesses that have mentors survive longer than ones that don’t. Never be too proud to take advice from someone who’s been doing this longer than you have. Everyone starts somewhere in the business world, and the learning process is something that we must never stop engaging in. Keep your mind open and if you need help, ask for it.
4. Think in Terms of Vision
Speaking of direction, it’s vital that your business is centered around a clear vision. This is more than just a business statement; it’s a clear and vivid mental image of what your business is supposed to be about. An important part of this is considering the culture of your organization. Be able to articulate why your business is dedicated to the mission it intends to accomplish. Surveys show that authenticity is very much in demand among consumers. If yours is not a solo operation, make sure that you gather people around you who share in whatever collective ideals make your business matter.
5. Be Financially Prepared
As an entrepreneur, your business is a newcomer in a very competitive world. Make sure before you even start that you are complying with local, state and federal requirements for filing to set up your business. Have the necessary insurance in place and choose carefully which legal form (sole proprietorship, limited liability company, partnership, corporation, etc.) you want your operation to take. Resist the urge to grow your infrastructure beyond your current or at least your conservatively projected ability to pay for it. Above all else, make sure that your ledgers are accurate and up to date so you know exactly where your capital is going.
Becoming an entrepreneur is, at its heart, about bringing your passion into the real world in a way that makes you financially secure. By remembering these few key steps, you’ll be ready when it’s time to turn your business dream into a reality.