So you want to be the boss huh? You have some awesome idea that could be the next big thing? Ok first thing to do is email me and tell me about it so if it truly is that good of an idea I can steal it. Kidding, Kidding. Owning your own business can be very fulfilling. Hopefully the purpose of your business is to address a concept that needs fixing or a demand that people want or need. It is nice to be your own boss and make your own hours and work from where you want and work on what you want but it’s not as simple as sometimes perceived. To build a successful business requires tremendous work ethic, discipline and passion. Business owners often work many 15 hour days just to ensure the business’s survival. But I will not be that typical person who will try to talk you out of it. No No No. Because this great country and our great firm is all about small business. And I’m as much an entrepreneur as anyone. So to celebrate small business week, here are 5 tips for new small business owners:
1. Control Costs. This can’t be stressed enough. While a big, beautiful office complete with executive desks and chairs and brand new Macbook Pros and space shuttles as ceiling art may be what you desire to walk into every day, it is expensive. In the beginning, it is especially important to be frugal because money can run out very easily and quickly. With technology now, some new businesses can be run from your bedroom. Remote access can save you the cost of paying rent or purchasing a space for your business. Computers can be purchased refurbished. Desks can be purchased on amazon for 100 bucks. Satellite offices are available at a fraction of what you would pay in rent. When your business becomes the next Facebook, then you can hang a space shuttle from your ceiling.
2. Market yourself and use Social Media. Marketing is very important. Without it, your business will most likely remain stagnant with very little growth. Jeez, commercials, radio spots, websites; that all sounds awfully expensive. You are right. They are expensive. But wait I thought you said I need to control expenses in the first tip? You do. Marketing doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive. A Facebook page for your business is free. An Instagram profile is free. A YouTube channel is free. Let’s say Brenda owns a cookie business. Brenda could go into town and offer free samples to people and ask those people to follow her on the various social media outlets. It builds her brand and gets the word out there while not having a huge cost attached to it.
3. Consider Outsourcing. You would be amazed how much time you can spend responding to emails or telephone calls. And time, as they say, is money. The average person can spend 2 hours a day on email alone. Let’s say your hourly rate is $75 an hour. That’s $150 dollars for email. While customer service is important, it’s usually not imperative the owner or CEO handle customer service. You would also be amazed how much the everyday person can outsource the chores of their lives. You can even hire a personal assistant at $10 an hour that responds to emails and phone call and does online shopping for you. This point goes back to original tip of controlling costs. Hiring an abundance of employees in the very beginning will get expensive even at minimum wage. Outsourcing some of your work could be a viable option. I am a patriot and believe in “Made in the USA” so I will say that their is outsourcing made available by US businesses with employees stateside as well.
4. Streamline your Processes. The beginning of a business can become chaotic. You are still trying to figure EVERYTHING out. It’s easy to become disorganize and adopt processes that are the epitome of inefficiency. There are so many amazing apps out there that help us to stay on top of our lives. Mint.com is a great way to monitor finances. Evernote is an amazing application for keeping track of everything from ideas to receipts to articles you found on the web that you want to keep for later. I am actually using Evernote right now to write this post. It’s awesome. But it is important to take the time to identify inefficiencies and disorganization and streamline your processes as much as you can.
5. Keep good accounting methods. Oh boy. Taxes. For a business it’s a whole new animal. That’s why it is important to keep up-to-date books and control your finances. Keep receipts of tax deductible expenses. It is pretty imperative to consult a tax professional or CPA on proper accounting methods for your business. So I won’t get into tremendous detail here. Simply understand that failure to keep good accounting practices or hire a professional to do it for you can result in bad news for your business. Very bad news.
So there it is. The 5 tips for a new small business owner. I am going to go against the grain and say if there is an entrepreneur inside of you, embrace it. Don’t tell people about your idea because many people may try to discourage you. “Whoa you want to open your own business?! Are you nuts?! You could lose everything!” Don’t listen to them. Of course there is a risk. But take the risk, because risk is so important. Without risk, there is no reward. Good day.