Break Out of the Ordinary and Into Entrepreneurship
By Chelsea Lamb
Starting your own business is a labor of love — one that pays off in more ways than one. You have a chance to control your own financial fate, showcase your talents, and enjoy the flexibility that goes along with being the boss. But it takes dedication, laser focus, and, most of all, patience. If you’re spending 40 or more hours each week making someone else a success, keep reading these tips to find out how to make it your own.
Know your niche.
You may be good at many things, but there are hundreds to thousands of other people out there marketing to a broad audience. If you want to achieve success as a small business, you have to find your niche. Not only does focusing on one area (at least in the beginning) help you market to people who are ready to buy, but it also makes it easier to describe your product or service accurately.
Time to get bona fide.
If you've made it this far in your research to start a new business, you've likely read about the importance of registering a legal business entity. Business entities are controlled by the state, so the requirements will vary. When forming your business, you should always file your Articles of Organization with the Secretary of State in Wisconsin. There are many options for establishing your business, but we recommend that you form a LLC because of its flexibility and protection for your personal assets. Another very attractive quality of forming an LLC is that it typically can be set up in just a few easy steps.
Once you’ve filed your business entity, the next step is to reach out to the IRS and get your FEIN so you can open a business checking account. After that, register your business with the Department of Revenue if you’re planning on exchanging any physical goods with your clients so you can pay your sales tax.
Gather seed money.
If you don’t have the cash-in-hand to get started, it’s time to take a look at a small business loan. There are a variety of loans to consider based on your business and your ability for repayment. Short-term loans and business lines of credit can be ideal for a new business. Other options for funding your business include seeking angel investors, cashing out savings and 401(k) accounts, and finding a partner that has the assets to help you launch.
You also need to ensure you spend your money in a way that best benefits your business. Your priorities will likely be products and marketing, but you should also invest in tools that help you reach a profit faster. And remember, you can always barter with other companies if money is short. This is one of the best ways to get what you need without running to the bank.
Put together a professional portfolio.
As a small business owner, each new project you bid for becomes a job interview. For this reason, you should be prepared with a killer resume. Having this on hand and in a visually ap
pealing format is one of the best ways to catch the attention of a potential client. Work with an expert and professional resume writing service to give it the extra oomph that is sure to dazzle.
If you’ve been in your industry for a while, talk to some of your previous clients to see if they would be willing to give you a testimonial, and build a portfolio website to showcase your work. Having your accomplishments accessible online makes it easy for your future clients to gauge your abilities and quickly determine if you are the right person for their needs.
Slow and steady does it.
The vast majority of business owners didn’t start out as moguls. Instead, they paid their dues by making mistakes, failing, and refining their strategies. Chances are, you’ll follow in their footsteps, and that’s a good thing — even if it gets disheartening at times. Make it easier on yourself by taking it slow and building your client base one project at a time.
Network with everyone you know, and don’t be afraid to ask an associate to introduce you to people you want to meet. However, avoid the temptation to accept every gig that crosses your path and keep your focus on those jobs for which you are best suited.
Starting your business takes time, money, and persistence. Fortunately, today’s technology means you have access to information and opportunities to find work that our parents and grandparents could have only dreamed of. You don’t have to stay stuck in the grind, but be smart, go slow, and spend your money where it makes the most sense.