Turning a promising idea into a viable business isn’t as risky as it seems. Before you venture down the road of entrepreneurship, bear in mind the fact that you are not alone in your endeavor. The United States is projected to be growing approximately 550,000 small businesses per month, many of which go on to enjoy large scale success. Fox small business author Greg S. Reid cited perseverance as the number one attribute in successful entrepreneurs. Some claim there is no blueprint for success, but the vast number of successful individuals willing to share their stories with you is proof that there are actually many blueprints to choose from. Below are five ways to get serious about your new life as a future business owner.
Number One: Quit Your Day Job
Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics urged entrepreneurs to “go that extra mile that failures refuse to travel”. Quitting your day job is vital to executing your plan because it forces you into a position where execution becomes necessary for survival. There are twenty-four hours in a day. If eight to twelve of those are being dedicated to the prosperity of a business that isn’t your own, you’ve already exhausted your options and yourself. Three hours for meals plus six hours for sleep only leaves you with fifteen hours to build and plan. If you’re serious about your business’s future, you will cling desperately to each of those hours until your vision has been realized.
Number Two: Study the History of Failure
The best part about the available blueprints is that they aren’t limited to success stories. Other people’s failures can give you a clear idea of what not to do, which is half the battle. With this in mind, you have the unique opportunity to learn from other people’s mistakes without having to actually make the mistakes on your own. Seek out information pertaining to failure in a business similar to your startup. This will give you a nice grasp on techniques you should probably avoid.
Number Three: Write Up a Business Plan
When writing up your business plan, it’s important to be concise. This plan should cover your revenue goals and startup costs for the next five years. Even if you’re not preparing a pitch for the Small Business Administration, it is best to make use of their template. The template they provide is extremely demanding and it will require you to scrutinize every possible shortfall. Clearly, the government is serious about who they will and will not approve for a loan. You should be even more serious than them. Go the extra mile by drafting up charts and familiarizing yourself with the terminology. Study the difference between fixed expenses and variable expenses as well as profit and profit margin.
Number Four: Throw Away Everything You Own that’s Outdated
Relieve yourself of the inclination that anything outdated isn’t over. It is over. Every book you have on business should fit into this day and age as should your marketing plans. You also need to take note of marketing trends as they are coming and going at a faster rate due to the acceleration of technological advancement. Only look to the past when deciding what not to do or determining where to lightly tread the waters.
A good example here is the history of MySpace. There was a time when MySpace was king of the social media landscape and businesses invested tons of energy into marketing their MySpace Pages. Then, rather suddenly, MySpace fell off the map and many marketing dollars went down the drain. This is not to say that Facebook is the new MySpace but it is a good example of a place to tread lightly. An overall internet marketing plan that covers a wide range of social media platforms is much safer than one that relies too heavily on Facebook. This is particularly true if your target audience is teens or young adults. Trends are showing that this age group is already branching out. If you are an aspiring author that is excellent news because it means the demand for unique content is on the rise. If you are selling t-shirts on the other hand, you might need to verse yourself in Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Ask.fm, Kik and more.
Number Five: Simplify your Approach
Don’t over think your creative concept, especially in the beginning. The best way to ruin a great idea is to make it so complicated it can’t be achieved. For example, if you want to open an upscale theme restaurant, don’t attempt multiple themes right away. Pick out one theme you think might attract people, like Island Oasis or The Golden Age. Build your whole menu around your favorite theme and remember that expanding is always an option. The same is true for selling clothing, making jewelry and everything in between. Build your empire one theme at a time and your vision will come together more smoothly.
Once you’ve devised a plan, ditched the nine to five and focused in on a theme, not only will you know you’re serious, others will take notice of the change. If ever you find yourself doubting your abilities, remember that every business mogul from Russell Simmons to Steve Jobs to Cornelius Vanderbilt was a human being. Now is the time to persevere so that tomorrow you can reap the benefits of your accomplishments.
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