Starting Your Own Small Business

Starting your own business is not a difficult process. Just follow a few well thought out and organized steps and you can be well on your way to success.

Starting your own business is not a difficult process. Just follow a few well thought out and organized steps and you can be well on your way to success. Starting your own business can be challenging as well as fun.

How to go about starting your own business? First you must decide what you want to do. Make a list of of all the skills you possess. Anything from work experience to every day tasks that you do, yet take for granted. Tasks such as driving a car, shopping, cleaning, cooking, job experience such as secretarial proceedures, office management or healthcare. Then decide what you enjoy doing and is it something that you can offer the community as a service? Once that's decided the rest is strictly by the book. So, if you happen to choose a cleaning service or a day care then you would concentrate in that area of interest and start from there. Following is a list of steps that should start you in the right direction to follow your dream of owning your own business.

1. Decide what service you will offer.

2. Research the area you live in/near and find out if it's a service that is needed.

3. Work out a budget listing start up costs. Some expense will be licensing, office supplies, phone service, book-keeping services and a fax machine.

4. How much money can you live off of until you get your first income from your business? Where can you cut corners to stretch you money?

5. Will you need to hire staff for your business or can you work solo?

6. Make a list and keep checking items off or adding items in. Frequently check your list.

7. Will you continue working full time or will you quit your job and devote your time to your new business? More specifically ask yourself if you can afford to quit your job and work full time at your new business. Many people decide to work part-time at a new business and stay with thier full time job so they can keep a steady income coming in while the new business gets off the ground.

8. Apply to your State for a Trade Name. This will cost apprximately fifty to one hundred dollars.

9. Once you've decided on what type of business you are creating then you'll have to apply for your licensing. For food service of any type, bakery, sub shop, pizza shop, etc., apply with the Department of Food Protection. Follow these guidelines for any type of business whether it be food service, cleaning service, marketing and so on. Call your appropriate State Office. If you get the wrong office don't fret, they will guide you to the correct one.

10. Decide whether your business will be in-home or out of home. In-home is much less expensive and you can still claim part of it on your year end taxes. Factor in the costs carefully.

11. Decide whether you want to incorporate or be a sole-proprietor. Incorporating costs money. Staying a sole proprietor costs nothing and it only means that you individually own your business.

12. Once you've applied for a licence with the appropriate State Agency you will be assinged an EIN number. This will be used for tax and identification purposes. Also it will be used to open up a business checking account. At this point finding a book-keeping service is recommended. A book-keeping service is fairly inexpensive and you'll find, one of your greatest resources. They will be the one's to assist you with the many tax questions you will have and with your payroll should you need to hire employees.

13. Decide whether you will be applying for a start-up loan or not. Most small businesses use savings to fund the new business or they use thier weekly paychecks.

14. Keep every purchase as low cost as possible. Be frugal, be cheap. Money is the name of the game here and don't spend any that you don't have to. Instead of purchasing new, buy used. Have friends and family buy you supplies for birthdays and Christmas. Be frugal.

15. Advertising. The big worry right? Wrong. If you have access to a phone, a photocopier and a fax you have a world of advertising at your fingertips. Make flyers on your computer and have friends, family and everyone you know post flyers up all over the area you are targetting. Use the local markets, post offices, telephone booths, telephone poles, libraries, shopping malls to your benefit. It's free and just takes a little energy and time. Have all your friends spread the great news! Word of mouth is the greatest advertisment of all and it's free.

16. Begin building a customer base through the telephone and the fax machine. Cold calling is hard when you first try it but it does get easier each and every time. Fax your flyers out to all the business's in the telephone book and follow up with a phone call. "Hi, my name is ....and I work for I am offering this...for this price.... Can I interest you in the services I am offering?" Simple eh? Keep your pricing comperable to the competition. Offer introductory specials. Call other companies of similar services and check out thier pricing. Keep a running list of who you've contacted and follow up. Be persistant. It will pay off. Follow up with a Thank You note. Customers and potential customers appreciate this. Even if they haven't yet agreed to using your services a quick note will remind them that you are out there in case they are dissatisfied with thier current vendor. You may not get their business on the first try but eventually you will.

17. Set up your office. You only need a few basic peices of equipment. A desk, chair, fax and phone, some paper supplies and a phone book. If you have a computer it would be helpful. Keep you space organized and neat. There's nothing worse than being on the phone with a customer and not being able to find what your looking for. If you have a computer start setting up your files, if not use a spare desk in the drawer. Keep strict record of telephone numbers, addrs, contact names and services performed or requested.

18. Set your hours and stick to them. Let your family know that these are the hours you have to work and that it is important to you. Customers hate nothing worse than to call you during business hours only to find you are closed. This will cost you business.

Starting your own business is rewarding and fun. But it is also very hard work. You must approach it as you would a career and you must be persistent. Plan on spending most of your free time devoting yourself to making your business work. It takes time but in the long run it is well worth it. If you are serious then it will work for you.

Following is a list of ideas for business:

Bakery, Cleaning Service, Home Based Typing Service, Health Care Agency -Temporary Staffing, Coffee/Sandwich Shop, Shopping Service, Day Care, Ghost Writing Service, Resume Writing Service, Research Specialist, Novelty Items such as bath oils, soaps, handmade sweaters and clothing. The list goes on and on and on.

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