by Nic Jones from MarketMe
This is the second post in a five part series. You can read part one here.
Finding your passion – does the idea fit? ‘If you love what you do, you’ll never work another day in your life’.
The first step to starting a small business is to consider whether a small business is right for you – not your friend, your sister or anyone else that might be telling you that you should start your own business. The basic attribute required to start your own business is a burning desire to do it. It has to be a passion that you are willing to sacrifice for. If you are not passionate about it, then you will stumble at the first hurdle and your motivation will melt away.
Once you’ve decided to start a business there will be a host of options and ideas going round and round in your head. Where do you start? A good idea is to get a pen and a notebook and start to list your ideas on the first page. Even if you have just one ‘fantastic’ idea, write it down. Putting ideas on paper is beneficial as it gets it out of your head so you can think things through more clearly. If you are still looking for ideas, consider your past experience, your current skills and any needs in your community that you see. Run your ideas past family and friends and listen carefully to their feedback.
After a few days, review your list. Read the first idea out loud. Can you see yourself doing this? What would your work environment look like? What would your husband be doing? What would the children be doing? What happens when the baby cries? Do you feel excited about this idea? Take some time to envision a day in your life in this role. If this idea doesn’t seem to fit you or your family, cross it off the list. If you feel excited or positive about it, leave it there. Continue with each idea. Do this even if you have just one idea as it will help you to get a feel for some of the demands your new business will place on you and your family.
Now write each business idea on a new page in your notebook. Leave 3 or 4 pages between each one. You might like to place a tag on the pages at the start of each new idea. Under each idea begin to list the requirements of each one. Some questions to consider at this point include:
1) Type of business: Wholesale, retail or service?
2) Marketing: How will I promote my business? Will I need to invest in advertising or pay for a website?
3) Space: Can my business run from home? Will I need a storefront, an office or a production area?
4) Experience: Have I done this before or will I have to invest time and money to learn?
5) Costs: How much will I have to invest to get my business up and running? What equipment will I need?
6) Time: How much time each week can I dedicate to my business?
7) Turnover: How quickly can I fill orders if I have to make/sew/create my product?
Just like marriage or a new baby, running a business will change your life. If you want to succeed you will have to work hard and be prepared for the unexpected. This raises more questions like: How will I keep track of income and expenditure and determine whether I am making a profit? Do I have the necessary accounting skills or will I need to pay someone to do this for me? How will I manage time off if the children or myself are sick? What will I do when school or family holidays come around?
Once you have decided to develop an idea, the next step is market research. This is important to determine whether there is room for your business and if it will be profitable. There are various ways to research a market but the quickest is to do a Google search. Search on key words relevant to your product or business and see what is already around. This is a good way to learn about your competition and get a feel for pricing of similar products or services as your business needs to be competitive. Other sources for research include trade publications, the business ads in your local paper, the local telephone directory and others in your industry. Gather as much information as you can and put all of your research findings into your business plan.
As you can see starting a small business is no small matter. But if you are dedicated and passionate with a solid plan, working at your own business can be very satisfying, exciting and enjoyable.
www.business.gov.au has a huge array of subjects on the matter of starting a business including business support, financial and taxation matters, legal processes and marketing.
Although this is a Canadian site, it has some very good articles on starting a small business. http://sbinfocanada.about.com/and http://sbinfocanada.about.com/od/startup/a/businesstype.htm
Do you work from home? How did you choose which direction to take?
Nic Jones is the Director of Market Me, a business which started just over 2 years ago on Facebook and has grown to produce a fulltime income. She is a mum of twin boys (3yrs old), and a 6yr old daughter. She juggles 2 businesses and her family responsibilities and loves being able to set her own schedules and be able to create an income around her family. She loves helping businesses grow ‘the smart way’, and Market Me’s services are based on this concept. To see all Nic’s articles, click here.