You’ve figured out your passion (and possibly found your niche).
You’ve got to make sure you can make money with it. Just because you like to bake doesn’t mean that you would enjoy (or be successful at) owning a bakery. Research, and then research some more. A business owner has many hats to wear. You’ve got to manage and market your business, all while taking care of customer service, sales and invoices. After you get started, it will be easier to hire people to help you, but you’ve got to be able to afford to pay yourself before you hire other people.
I would suggest that you save enough money for 6 months’ living expenses. That might take a little sacrifice, but it will help keep your sanity in check later. It will take some time for your business to generate revenue, and you don’t want to have to quit right when your business is ready to soar.
Your business is not a hobby. The US government considers your venture a hobby if you are not actively trying to make money or if your profits are $400 or less. You want to make more than $400 a year.
So, let’s turn your idea into a business.
Developing a Business Plan
You know what you want to do and you’ve got some great ideas. Now you need to make sure you get those ideas down on paper. If you need a loan, a well-developed business plan is essential. Many ideas that I’ve written about don’t require many, if any, start-up costs. Eventually you may want to expand, but you probably want to start a business now, without having to raise or borrow capital. Even if you don’t need a loan, a business plan will help keep you and your business on track. Without a business plan, you will wander around aimlessly, doing whatever sounds good at the moment. You can visit score.org (more about them later) for great information on how to write one. Have a plan for your business. Set it up for success and you will be successful.
Naming Your Business
Think of a name for your business. This may be a little harder than you first imagine. You have to make sure no one else has the same name that you do, otherwise getting a website for your business will be a little harder than it should be. A quick Google search will let you know if your perfect business name is already someone else’s perfect business name.
If you want to appear higher in search results, try incorporating what your business does into your business name. For instance, a copywriter might want a name like, “Quality Writing,” instead of using just their first and last name. People will search the Internet for “quality writing,” but until you’re well known, people aren’t going to be searching for you by your first and last name. If you’re only marketing your local area, this isn’t quite as important because you won’t have as much competition as an online store. However, if you plan to conduct all business on the Internet, a search engine-friendly name will help people find you.
I’ve given you quite a bit of material to digest. You might want to take some time to think about your savings account, your business name, and your business plan. The first steps are very important and shouldn’t be rushed or hurried. A successful business begins with a strong foundation.
Continue reading Part II of this blog for the final steps of becoming a business owner.