Have you had it with your paycheck job? If you think you are ready to become your own boss, this is a perfect time to start moving toward what you really want to do with the rest of your life.
1. Develop a Life Plan
Regardless of your business idea, you must first figure out what you want out of life. By developing a life plan, you can build a business that aligns with your long-term goals. Too many people start businesses not good for them and their families. Your life plan should outline your financial, personal, learning and retirement goals. For example, you need to figure out upfront how much money you need to earn to be happy.
Then settle on the best fit for a new business venture. Is day-to-day variety important to you? Do you want to open one great pizza shop or a chain of franchises? Will you take on a partner? All of these decisions must be measured against the big-picture goals for your life. You need a life plan before you ever write a business plan.
2. Develop a Financial Plan
- 1 Local contractors starved of jobs as foreign firms reap big
- 2 Over 100 parastatal heads to lose jobs
- 3 Managing your career in uncertain times
- 4 Pandemic fills ranks of extreme poverty worldwide
Can you go without a paycheck for a year or two? Your ability to save has everything to do with your ability to start a business. The money you use to start your business will come from you. Start developing a financial plan by calculating your net worth.
Over the next 12 months, try saving 20 to 40 percent of every paycheck. Start using a household budget to watch every penny you spend. Launching a business while carrying credit card debt will put a lot of pressure on you. You’ll need your credit capacity to support your business, too.
3. Examine Your Skills
Look at the skills you have and the skills you need to run your business. Be honest when making your list. If you are not sure about your strengths, ask three close friends to name your best skills. Be sure to evaluate your tech skills, too.
You may need to learn computer programs such as accounting software or Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software and basic graphics and website programs such as WordPress and Adobe Photoshop. And don’t forget about the latest social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
4. Develop Your Marketing Plan
The most important questions about your business idea are: Who is buying? Why will they buy from you? The new economy is all about niche marketing.
I suggest you develop a marketing plan before the business plan to make sure there is a viable market for your product or service. If you can’t answer these questions, then you need to go back to the drawing board and come up with another business idea.
5. Every small business needs a plan
You must plan for success; it will not just happen. You need to write a business plan to run your enterprise. It is helpful to think through how you are going to get sales, what happens when a sale is made and how many sales you will generate each quarter and year.
Don’t be one of those new business owners who spends more time working on a logo and stationery than you spend working on your business plan.
6. Start your business while you are still working
It’s best to be a moonlighter at first. Join the 5-9 team. Use your evenings and weekends to launch your business. You can find more time in the day if you start working flex hours, stop watching TV, scale back on volunteer work and sleep less.