5 Things You Need to Start a Small Business

Owning your own business may seem like the epitome of the American Dream. You can be your own boss, keep your own schedule, and answer to nobody but yourself – no wonder so many people idealize being a small business owner.

However, while working for yourself can seem ideal, most people are not prepared for the amount of time, money, patience, and research that starting a business entails.

To determine whether starting a small business is right for you, it’s essential to know what will be required of you to start and maintain your endeavor.

Having sufficient time is one of the biggest stumbling blocks for many people who want to start their own business. One of the most important skills you need when balancing a day job with running a small side business is good time management skills. Learning to prioritize tasks is difficult, but if you fail to do so, you may end up alienating customers and vendors that you need to work with. Learn to take care of jobs that must be done immediately as soon as possible, and delay doing the projects that you know can wait.

Prioritizing business tasks is key, but it doesn’t stop there. Prioritize personal tasks as well to make sure you can carve out sufficient time in your busy day to devote to your startup.

Starting a business requires cash (or credit) up front, and buying an existing business often requires a large lump sum payment. Unfortunately, many people want to start a business precisely because they don’t have any money. This can lead such unprepared entrepreneurs to bury themselves in debt.

It’s simply a fact that your business will need capital, and while investing more money in a business can’t guarantee its success, you can pretty much guarantee the failure of a business that doesn’t have enough. To avoid this situation, thoroughly assess how much you need to start your business and maintain operations. Then, treat that as your baseline, knowing that you will likely encounter several unexpected expenses along the way.

A few basic business expenses include:

successful married couple counting cash home

Drive and ambition aren’t enough – sometimes the early bird gets the worm, and other times slow and steady wins the race. Be patient, and don’t fall prey to these common misconceptions:

An idea doesn’t need to be unique to be profitable – as long as there’s sufficient demand for your product. In fact, a unique idea won’t necessarily translate into big sales. There’s often a reason nobody sells a product like yours, and that reason may be that nobody wants one.

However, researching and developing your business idea is only the first step – you need to do additional research to find out how to make your idea a reality.

businessman having coffee doing his work

Creating a basic business plan can be tedious, but it is very important, especially if you seek financial backing from investors or a bank. It’s also a great litmus test of sorts to see if you’re really interested in running a business – if you can’t take the time to write a basic business plan, even if it’s just a single page, you probably are not prepared to undertake the running of a real business.

Starting and running a businesses can provide a lot of satisfaction, but it’s not for everyone. It can be expensive and time-consuming, and many people don’t understand the vast amount of effort that it takes to create and maintain a successful enterprise. Furthermore, enthusiasm for your product and a willingness to sell can’t be bought or learned. However, if you’re up to the task, you may find years of joy and monetary gains by launching your own small business.

Have you ever thought about opening your own business? What other tips do you have for new startups?

(photo credit: Bigstock)

Categories: Small Business

Kira is a longtime blogger and serial entrepreneur who enjoys gardening, garage sales, and finding stray animals. She lives in Columbus, Ohio, where football is a distinct season, and by day runs a research study for people with multiple sclerosis. She hopes that the MoneyCrashers team can help you achieve your goals and live a great life.

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5 Things You Need to Start a Small Business

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