I recently started my own small candle making business. It really came on a whim, but in reality was fostered from years and years of schooling, research, and a hobby. I have been looking for a job for quite a while and i just cannot seem to find something suitable. Something that pays well enough to compensate me for daycare and travel. Of course, being broke sucks! And that is why I said to myself, "Hey, I am not getting any younger, my options are semi limited, and I love candles - WHY NOT???" Even if I fail (**hopefully not**), at least I tried. I love marketing and social media. I love to talk to random people. I am always thinking of ways to market OTHER people and THEIR skills, so why not take the PLUNGE and market myself instead? But I did not just jump into this overnight. I did my leg work BEFORE I decided to invest my time and money (what VERY little I have right now).
So, if you are thinking about starting a business and venturing out into Entrepreneurship here are a few things that I feel you should know:
MOST IMPORTANT!!! - Make a BUSINESS PLAN. This is imperative. If you do not write down your ideas and goals it is impossible to even start a business. Business plans can take a long time, even years to perfect, but don't let that daunt you. To start, just write out the basics.
- What is your business/product?
- Who is your target market?
- Who is your competition?
- What type of funding do you need to start?
- What is your projected financial outlook?
- What is your marketing strategy?
- How will your business be set up (will you be a sole proprietor, LLC?)
- Are you the only employee or do you have to hire on additional hands (focus on NOW and the FUTURE)
- What are the regulations/laws that pertain to your business (Are you required to have insurance?)
These are some very important questions to ask yourself before you EVEN THINK of starting a business. I use the website SBA.gov, which is the Small Business Administration. It has a lot of really great advice and information.
Other sources that are good for start up help and information are:
- Local Colleges - I know that one of the local colleges around me offers FREE business plan preparation classes as well as other resources for start up ideas.
- A Mentor - Do you know somebody who has started their own successful business? Ask them for tips and tricks that would help you on your journey.
- Your local Chamber of Commerce - They should have some information on starting a business and also be able to direct you to places that can help.
- SCORE - Free Small business advice - another great site
These are just some initial questions and resources. And remember - a business plan has to be FLEXIBLE! You may initially have one idea of how you would like to see things go but as you research and learn more your thoughts will shift and change. As your business grows, your plan will change. Nothing is set in stone. And that is really great because it just means that anything is possible!
So, I hope I have offered some good tips for you to start a business! Thanks for reading :-)