Practical Steps to Starting a Business Online

I’ve written this not to scare or deter you from chasing your dreams but rather in an attempt to make this leap as successful as possible by sharing what I’ve learned over the years and having gone through it personally.

1. Begin by considering what it is in life that you’ve always wanted to do.

Now if your forty years old and always wanted to be an astronaut that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m asking you to consider what you truly enjoy doing such as helping people or providing a unique service, physically building something just what you believe would make you happy and that you are passionate about. Don’t think about the money yet brainstorming ideas about starting a business begins with passion first we will be determining the commerciality of your choice later.

Preliminary Checklist of Your Readiness to Start a Business

I am willing to accept the risks and initial instability that comes with starting a business
I am able to rely on myself 100% I can make decisions that make or break my new business.
I work effectively on my own motivating myself without supervision. I do not rely on others.
I am goal oriented and will work at completing my goals everyday without exception.
I can visualise opportunities and have the confidence to go after them.
I can handle the stress and pressures that are inherently apart of starting a new business. Even when things do not go as planned I believe I can overcome any problem.
I posses the drive, determination and willingness to work long hours to make my business a success.

2. Determine The Business Ownership That’s Right For You

The Three Main Ownership Options when Starting a Business are:

Buy a Business that already exists.

Traditionally buying a business will be more expensive but does have its advantages. Start up can be the most gruelling part and establishing a customer base is no easy task. This may interest those who want to hit the ground running and have the budget to do so. Do your due diligence with any business you consider buying. Why does the current owner want to sell? What is the market conditions like for the business? Will there be new competition just around the corner that the current owner failed to disclose. Make it you priority to research everything before jumping in.

Franchise

Purchasing a franchise is a great way to lower the risk of business ownership but it has its pros & cons. A franchise is established providing a track record and the ability to review other stores profitability. You are buying a brand that already has customer awareness so there are fees for this. Start up fees and ongoing royalties are part of the deal when it comes to owning a franchise.

Start Your Own Business

This is for the true entrepreneur. Where you are the boss and your vision comes into reality. You will decide what’s right for the business how fast to grow it and what direction it will take. This is not always the cheapest option as is sometimes suggested. Sure there are thousands of cases where someone started with $500 and turned it into a thriving business but this is all dependent on the type business you decide to start what skills and resources you already have etc.

3. Zero in on the Business you want to start

Consider these three different options

Start a business in a high growth market or new up and coming trend,

This business plan takes a bit more guts but in many cases that’s where you get the glory. If you consider yourself good at spotting new trends this can be your ace in business. Setting up shop in front of an up and coming trend will help to position you as a leader and an authority within the space. This allows you to grow at an explosive rate if things really catch on. Choose it wrong though and you go down with the ship so do your research there may be a reason why other businesses are not in the space. Some say to focus on where the completion is already the reasoning behind it being that if others are making money there chances are you can to. Just be cautious and as always do you research thoroughly.

Starting Multiple Businesses

A few years ago I was reading through a book called Growing a Business by Paul Hawken. This book was one of the first influences that started me thinking about going into business. It’s a good read, and one concept in particular that has stayed with me has been to start only one business at a time.

Multiple businesses

Entrepreneurs have to find an idea that they can do better than the existing competition. They will often look to existing companies and try to offer something better, or perhaps combine services to offer something unique. As a result, fresh startup ideas often incorporate multiple businesses in their pitch. The entrepreneurs often don’t even realize that that’s what they’re doing, but when it happens the result is very difficult to get off the ground.

The example that Growing a Business used was that of a farmer who wanted to slaughter his animals himself to save money and sell the meat at a stand by the road. This is actually opening three businesses at once: A farm, an abattoir and a retail butcher shop. All of these businesses require very different skills and capabilities and could easily overwhelm the farmer. I’ve seen my own examples too, including:

Authors who self-publish their book
Coffee shops that also sell crafts on consignment
Restaurants that also do catering

Just recently I met someone on the Internet who had programmed a database with details on old computer games. He wanted to make a business that offered access to this database, a portal that allowed people to access multiple online communities to discuss the games, and an auction function like eBay but with a different auction feedback system. Talk about biting off too much at once!

Why is starting multiple businesses a problem?

Running a business is about matching resources and capabilities that a business has to customer needs in the marketplace. When a business starts up, it has zero capabilities and very limited resources. The entrepreneur has to develop everything from scratch and that takes a lot of effort. In addition, having multiple businesses start at one time increases the amount of competition the business faces.

To put this in perspective, imagine a startup magazine that wants to open their own magazine stands to sell directly to customers. The idea is that they don’t have to pay a distributor and can get a higher percentage of the profits. The capabilities required to produce a magazine include:

Stories and journalism
Photography and graphics
Layout and typesetting
Administration
Marketing
Printing
Distribution

But to open retail stands requires very different capabilities including:

Finding locations
Hiring vendors (HR)
Constructing kiosks
Supply chain management
Processing payments

And this list is not exhaustive. This is a mountain of work that would take dump trucks full of money to get going. In addition, now instead of competing with other magazines for sales, the company is also competing with other magazine sellers as well, all of whom are more established than the magazine startup. A venture like this would likely not last very long at all.

Business Cash Flowing or Cash No Showing?

Do you have a blueprint for success for your business? Got cash? Cash is King in Business. When cash is flowing in a business, it gives the business an opportunity for expansion, such hiring new team members to take the business to the next level, or maybe expanding the business to an international market. Many first – time business owners fail at properly managing cash flow, instead of reinvesting back into their business they take the cash and spend on it on personal use. I have seen this happen many of times with people who make that transition from being an employee to an entrepreneur. They’re used to having a paycheck coming in on consistent basis that when their business starts to cash flow they eat the first fruits from the tree instead of planting the seeds to grow a bigger tree.

Cash flow management is essential for businesses that succeed. Cash flow is one of the key elements to taking your business to the next level. A business that does not cash flow can cause a great deal of stress to first time business owners. Now with some businesses it may take some time to start generating a cash flow, and this is okay. But you must determine how much time you are willing to invest in a business that is not cash flowing? Is your team willing to stick and stay? If you are interested in laying a foundation for a profitable business currently and into the future, you must inspect what you expect. Put it all in writing so you can have it before you. If you need help analyzing the number seek counsel from someone who has experience in running a successful business. The objective for your business is to track your income and expenses so that you put your business in a position to prosper. And you do want to prosper, correct?

You must realize that your business is an asset that will thrive when you analyze where your business is currently and then move into the mode of creating a cash flow projection, Savvy business owners know how to create and come within the constraints of a cash flow analysis based on a weekly, monthly, yearly and long-term (5 year, 10 year etc.) projections. This will help you to retain modes of doing your business that are lucrative. It will also empower you to take action in your business to create innovative solutions to needs for your products and services in the marketplace. When you have been in business for a few years a review of your company cash flow patterns will help you to evaluate any areas that need to be amplified so your business can go to the next level. For more knowledge in the area of taking the capital that your business gains seek the advice of leaders in your industry, business bankers, and business financial planners that have attained high levels of success and are willing to empower you to reach your goals.