Small business owners and entrepreneurs are quickly
becoming the dominant business species. Small
businesses create thousands of new jobs each year,
while floundering large companies lay off scores
Starting a new business venture can be an exciting
yet risky project. Our survival guide details the
steps to take to ensure your business not only
survives but indeed thrives.
1. Determination – “ARE YOU INSANE?”
Implement your plans with total commitment. Don’t
give up even when obstacles seem overwhelming.
Starting your business will instantly make you an
outcast. People whom you love will openly question
your sanity. The anticipated competition will be the
least of your worries, you’ll be fighting your friends
and family to get your business going. They will sit
and wait expecting you to fail. Now that doesn’t mean
they don’t love you, but there’s no way to prevent
this, it just happens. So be forewarned.
2. Devotion -“THE LOVE AFFAIR”
Your business should be something that you love to
do, It’s this love that will sustain you when the
going gets tough. And it’s the love of your product
or service that will make you effective at selling it.
Don’t attempt to become an affiliate or sell a product
that you have not used or assessed for its merits. At
best you will be unable to answer legitimate concerns
of purchasers and the worse case scenario is that you
will appear to be a fraud.
Now this does not discount the fact that the only
business idea that will ever succeed is one that
fulfills a need…preferably a *considerable* need.
Therefore if no one wants your product your business
will never get off the ground.
3. Dollars- “OOOOH SWEET MONEY”
Getting rich should NOT be your PRIME motivating
factor. Persons who have that mindset will inevitably
make short term decisions for immediate financial
gain at the expense of the long term health of their
venture. You will also have a difficulty motivating
employees who don’t stand to profit as much as you do.
Invest all that you can in your business, but be frugal
with what you have at your disposal. Keep in mind that
your business could either triple in size or go belly
up within six months. So it would REALLY be wise to
avoid that TEN year lease you’ve been considering.
If you are running an Internet based business you may
even dispense with expending money on office space.
Several online businesses are operated successfully
from a spare room or basement.
4. Dedication- “100 HOUR WEEKS?”
You will have to make some adjustments to your life
when starting up your business. You’ll need to work
tirelessly just to keep up with the competition.
Twelve hour days and seven day work weeks are not
uncommon when an entrepreneur is striving to get a
business off the ground.
5. Doers- “THE BIG MISCONCEPTION”
Perhaps the biggest misconception about an idea
for a new business is that the idea must be unique.
Chances are that almost any ideas you can think of
also occurred to others. When Einstein was developing
his theory of relativity, another scientist, Poincare’
formulated a similar theory around the same time.
History is full of examples like these.
It’s not the idea which is important, they are really
a dime a dozen. What is important is the ability to
take the idea, implement it and build a successful it.
Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin by chance
but never developed it as a useful drug.
TEN years later, two scientists unearthed Flemings
*mold* , SAW ITS POTENTIAL, and started treating
patients in wartime England. This was a dramatic
medical advancement and saved thousands of lives.
So don’t wait around trying to develop a unique IDEA.
Instead you should identify a Unique Selling Position
(USP) in order to distinguish your product from your
6. Critical Mass – “SIZE MATTERS”
For online businesses which operate from your basement
or from a motor home, it certainly helps to look bigger
than you really are. There’s a certain comfort in
dealing with a business that seems established.
You should try to establish 24 hour customer service.
Even if it means answering the phone at your favorite
watering hole. Just try to get away from the
Having a separate business line is critical. Attempt
to inform your family that if the business line rings
it should be answered in a professional manner.
You really don’t want your loved one picking up the
line in the middle of closing a deal to remind you
to take out the garbage.
Have a logo developed for your business, there are
several sites available that will create a logo for
you. Or find a student from a good graphic design
school to create one. Use your logo consistently,
on all your stationery, packaging and other
Take advantage of any local business incubators,
these operations offer affordable, flexible leases
for start ups. They will provide anything from
office furniture and equipment to business plans
and high speed Internet access. Historically
businesses in an incubator stand significantly
higher chances of surviving.
You can get free publicity for your business by
contacting local news media and selling your company
as a human interest story. There are many
periodicals looking for businesses to profile.
Get your name on TV. We have all seen those morning
shows with live outside feeds. A poster board you hold
up in front of the camera may get you more publicity
than a 30 second commercial.
And finally, if you have a web site, ensure you
have the ability to process credit cards.
Most Internet transactions use credit cards
to complete a purchase.
The preceding list just scratches the surface of
an entrepreneurs “to do list”. The Internet is awash
with information and you can drown yourself in web
sites, magazines and secret membership sites, and still
not learn anything. Why? The Internet is a new and
ever changing phenomenon. Advice that seems fundamentally
sound today can be completely wrong the next day.
However, you can learn from both the successes and
failures of others and be guided by their experiences.
Remember that no matter what you do, you will never
achieve much success unless you have happy customers,
happy workers and happy suppliers. That means you must
have a company that is perceived as friendly, especially
in the area of customer service.
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