If you're an entrepreneur at heart, turning your passion into a business is likely high on your list of life goals. Obtaining that goal, however, will not be easy. Running a business is hard work, and there will be challenges to face and hurdles to overcome along the way – especially if you lack first-hand experience in the business world. So what does the average budding entrepreneur need to know about how to run a successful business? Here, we've assembled some tips that can help smooth your path as you work to establish your new enterprise.
Evaluate and develop your entrepreneurship skills
Successful entrepreneurs have some basic characteristics in common. An honest evaluation of where you stand in terms of these factors is important to achieving your goal of joining their ranks. According to the US Small Business Administration (SBA), those characteristics include:
Chances are that you will be strong in some of these characteristics and weaker in others. Pinpointing those weaker areas provides an opportunity for improvement. For instance, if persuasion isn't your strong point, investing in a marketing/communications course can help hone your skills and boost your confidence as you work to build and promote your fledgling business. Perhaps your negotiation skills need a little work or you haven't built the strong support system you need for success. Finding and working with a good business mentor can help with these issues.
Evaluate your business knowledge and skills
Running a business requires business owners to wear many hats – especially in the start-up phase. Before you get your business up and running, ask yourself what hats you can expect to don as the owner of your business and just how confident you are with your ability to wear them well. A good business mentor can help you flesh out that list, as can attending business seminars and talking to other business owners in your area. Then, you will have the information you need to address any gaps in your knowledge base and/or skill set – perhaps you could benefit from accounting classes, business training courses or sales training programs, for instance, to help you build a solid foundation for business success
Choose your business type and structure
Once you have laid the groundwork for your business by honing your own abilities, among the first decisions you will have to make is the type of business you will launch. Will it be a home-based business, a green business or an online business? Will it be a woman-owned, veteran-owned or minority-owned business? Perhaps you'll be investing in a franchise, will be a disabled business owner, or will be selling services as an independent, self-employed contractor. In some cases, there are special business certifications you can get that will aid in your success.
The structure of your business is also important. Will you structure your business as a sole proprietorship, a Limited Liability Company, a cooperative, a corporation or a partnership? These differing classifications can have an impact on many aspects of your business, including grant and loan opportunities, tax implications, rules and regulations your business is subject to and the licenses, permits and certifications that are required for legal operation or available to benefit the standing of your brand or enterprise.
Once these key steps have been taken, you'll be ready to choose and register your business name, obtain a tax number and registering your fledgling business with the necessary agencies in your state. Then you'll want to be sure you have a working knowledge of the business laws in your state that are relevant to your enterprise before you proceed with that all-important and long-awaited step – launching your new business.