Starting your own business can be scary, but it can also be the best decision you’ll ever make. After all, 62 percent of all US billionaires are self-made. Reaching those kinds of financial goals aren’t usually done by working for someone else. Plus, owning your own company can give you a lot of independence, more control over your time, and for some––a greater sense of self-worth. Furthermore, there’s probably never been a better time to become an entrepreneur. That’s because there are currently more opportunities, resources, and technological advances available than ever before. If you’re planning to conduct your business online, or partially online, then your potential is almost limitless.
Of course, there’s no arguing that starting a business of your own can be challenging. There are a lot of things to consider before making the leap. You’ll have to first decide if the risk is worth the reward, and then do your due diligence to make sure your reasoning is sound. All good business ideas start with market research and some self-reflection. Here are a few things to consider along the way.
Think about your finances.
You may have a great product or a bestselling service to offer potential customers, but if you don’t have enough money to get it out there, you won’t be as successful as you think. Before you start life as a business owner, consider whether you have the financial ability to set up your own company. This doesn’t mean that you have to come up with all the cash on your own. There are plenty of resources available to help budding entrepreneurs get started. The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers a lot of tools and advice for new companies. And if you don’t feel like you have the capital or desire to go through a traditional lender, you still have a lot of non-traditional options. Just like Loanpal provides quick and easy financing and approval for home loans online, many financing marketplaces do the same for businesses.
Think about your location.
One, often overlooked, factor when drumming up new business ideas is location. Consider the consumers within your local community. If you live in a rural area, for example, selling retail merchandise may not be your best option. The best business to start in a small town could be a coffee shop, ice cream shop, hair salon, food truck, thrift store, barbershop, boutique, computer repair store, or flower shop.
You can sometimes figure out what business would do well within your area by talking to other locals. What type of business has done well there previously and what are people willing to travel elsewhere to get? Will they drive to the next town for baked goods or to get a haircut? What skills do you have that could meet their current needs? What products could you bring to the town that would keep them buying local?
Think about marketing.
Once you’ve decided on a business, you’ll need to think about how you’ll market it. There are many ways to increase your customer base. The key is figuring out which ones will work for you. One of those is social media. Most businesses nowadays utilize one social media platform or another, and if done right, it can help you build a loyal and lucrative customer base. For online businesses, you can use social media for customer outreach. You can broaden your sales area as wide as you want. This will work for most small-town companies as well, but you may have to use a different approach to reach those customers. For example, you might already know everyone who interacts on your page so the dialogue will probably be a lot more personal. You can also choose to market your business with newsletters, emails, flyers, and newspaper ads.
Another element that markets you before you say a word is the aesthetics of your business. The first impression your customers get of your business is more important than you may realize. This applies to both any building or area you conduct business in, as well as any marketing materials you might send out. Your branding is everything and should be outsourced if you’re not comfortable with design.
Think outside the box.
Aside from the more traditional businesses that you can start, you can think a little outside of the norm on what it is you can offer. For example, you can purchase liquidation pallets at a huge discount and sell those items for profit. These pallets usually contain general merchandise that is either overstocked or returned. Many buyers sell these products online on digital marketplaces like eBay or Amazon. Others might take them to local flea markets or sell them out of their homes by using Craigslist or having yard sales. With Facebook selling pages becoming so successful, a lot of sellers are able to make a profit just from using social media alone.
Weigh the pros and cons.
While you may have a fantastic idea or product for your new business, you still have a lot to consider. The pros might be pretty obvious for you. You can design your own life around your schedule. You’ll have more control over where and when you work. You may be able to achieve a better work/life balance, have unlimited growth potential, more control over who you work with––and you might find more fulfillment and joy.
However, don’t get so distracted by those happy thoughts that you fail to see some of the disadvantages. For one thing, unless you’re building a passive income stream, you won’t get paid if you don’t work. Simply put––you can kiss paid vacation and sick days goodbye, at least for now. You’ll also have to be a self-starter every day and have to hustle for every penny you earn. This means you’re not getting paid while you’re hanging out by the water cooler or taking a break. Additionally, you’ll have to pay for your own benefits, like health insurance and you’ll have to do everything yourself until you can afford to hire help. This means you are your own bookkeeper, errand runner, correspondent, and worker combined.