A Guide to Starting a Successful Business

The journey to a successful business starts with an idea or concept. It is then refined to suit the purpose of the concept. At this time, your concept is the seed you are about to plant. Metaphorically speaking, every business is a life – It can live or die. Your concept should focus mainly on what the end users want. This is because these end users are the life of your business, the ocean in which your fish swims. Just as seed planted needs extra care, so it is with every business. Your drive should be consumer-centric, not after what you gain in return. However, remember, “You can have everything in life you want, if you’ll just help enough other people get what they want.” – Zig Ziglar. It is interesting to note that nature has endowed everyone with all he needs to think and succeed in life. So how can you discover yours? The following questions would assist.

. What do you find most interesting to do?

. Does what you find interest in doing appeal to people?

. How well can you do it?

. What means do you use to let people know what you have?

. What do you do to keep people’s interest?

Now let me explain what I mean by listing the points above.

What Do You Find Most Interesting to Do?

If you can find what interests you most, then you have proffered a solution to one of the barriers to your success in life. You will always love to do it. Of course, every endeavor comes with its own challenges. Fired with burning determination to succeed this time, you do not see challenges but success ahead. The inspiration to do it better and circumvent challenges will always flow. If you ask any successful individual who started from grass-to-grace level how he came about being successful, what he finds most interesting to do may likely be his answer. Now, you have to look inward and figure out what interests you to do. What is it? Oh yes, you know now! Now that you have found your area of interest, what is next?

Does What You Find Interest In Doing Appeal to People?

A tree, they say, cannot make a forest. Therefore, there should be many trees assembled in an area before forest can appear. No doubt, your brilliant ideas will end up with you if not supported by people. In the political world, majority vote is needed before a contestant is declared winner. In the same vein, you will need people before you can win or succeed. In addition, your being successful is a function of giving people what they want. The rule is to give to people what they want and in return, they will give you what you want in excessive measure. You should go into researching how what you are interested in doing appeals to people. You then provide the way to meet their demands. If people are hungry and you give them clothes instead of bread, they may not appreciate or even collect them. This is because your offer does not meet their immediate needs. Have you now figured out areas where your offer can fill people’s needs? If yes, you are indeed moving closer to your success. You have now known people’s taste. But do you know the next hurdle to cross over? The quality of the product or service you render readily comes to mind at this time. The skills to things well will tell if people will love what you offer or not.

How Well Can You Do It?

It is common that some people find interest in doing something in life but do not know how to do it well. This stage is very important. How? Because it is a determinant factor if people will support you or not. However, you may want to ask: Of what benefit it is to cook a dinner that the invitees would not eat simply because it was poorly prepared? It is your interest to make people happy with your meal but you cannot cook well. At this point, it is good to examine the areas of your weakness and seek improvement or strength. Improvement can be acquired by education – Formal or informal. Formal education will require you to take up your field of interest and immerse yourself in it until you graduate. Then you will be awarded a certificate detailing your performance. On the other hand informal education will require your learning handwork or a trade like carpentry, bricklaying etc. Improvement can be acquired through exposure too. Seminars and workshops are exposure window through which you get a glimpse to the world of experience. Some of these are free while some come at a cost. You should do your utmost to engage in constant practice of what you learn. This will refine and polish your skills. Whichever way, you can be confident that experience is the best teacher and you should do your utmost best to get it. Have you now gotten enough experience? Then go ahead and put you skills to work and let the whole world know what you have to offer.

What Means Do You Use to Let People Know What You Have?

Now that you have achieved the breakthroughs above, how can you let people know what you have to offer? At this point, just rest assured that you have achieved greatly in your journey to success. The best way to go about this is to start with the known. Sure, the known will inform the unknown if they have good experiences. In a sense, your good quality product or service is doing advertising work you. To hasten your advertising, you may think of Radio and Television jingles, newspaper adverts and so on. For more global reach, you will need social media to connect your business. If people now connect to your business, how do you keep their goodwill?

What Do You Do to Keep People’s Interest?

The concept behind business and customer loyalty is hinged upon making good promises and fulfilling them. If this area is managed well, it boosts your reputation. Reputation Management Expert, Anthony Johndrow, put it this way: “Building a strong reputation takes time. To earn trust and respect you need to consistently show that you will live up to your promises. To build a strong reputation companies need to deliver on these expectations through everyday work. But this is proving to be more and more difficult.” This is a very crucial aspect of your business. It is dependent on your relationship with your customers. Be honest in all you do. Let integrity be your guide and you will earn trust. One of the pillars of every successful business is trust. It is earned overtime. If you are in business for product or service, clearly state your brand, product information, warranty, quality assurance, shipping and return policy, means of payment, and so on as each case may apply. Good customer relationship is key, as every customer is KING. Timely response to inquiries and quick resolution of dispute will save your reputation. Do your utmost to have a list of all your customers, listen to their inputs and update them regularly of every development.

Your business will keep living successfully if you give it a meaningful life.

Your Mind And Your Enthusiasm Will Enable You To Build a Successful Business – No Doubt!

Do you know the secret of success? Do you know what to do to build a successful business? Do you know why many people out there fail to succeed in their businesses and in their life? One of the reasons is having a poor MIND coupled with lack of ENTHUSIASM. Your mind and your enthusiasm contribute 100% to the success of your business regardless of the level of your education.

The question now is “How do you use your mind to succeed in your business?” One thing you need to know is that everything you see around us had to be first an idea in the mind. Your mind is a storehouse of wisdom, understanding, intelligence and a source of ideas. What you store in your mind is what you get. If you practice success for your business, your mind will provide you with ways to succeed. It will give you ways to market your business to success.

If you think you can do your home business and succeed, then you can. That’s the principle you need to adopt. But if you think you can’t, the chances are that you cannot. We all have the same mind to start a business but the question is “How can we make full use of it to build successful businesses?” The answer is in having a lot of ENTHUSIASM to do our business. This is what separates winners from ordinary people.

ENTHUSIASM is the eagerness about doing or achieving something. It acts as a catalyst and motivator to do things. You MUST BE ENTHUSIASTIC about your business to get the energy and the wisdom to turn it into a successful business. Your mind is a success machine, which ordinary people never learn to use to succeed in their businesses. The day they learn to use it, they are no longer ordinary people and success becomes their trade name.

Whatever you program your mind to do, it will accomplish. Mentally think about your business succeeding, your mind will figure out ways for you to make it successful. Mentally think about your business failing, your mind will get for you a way to fail. This is why you need to be careful with what you set your heart on. It surely becomes yours.

Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve. One famous criminologist stated that “When men first come into contact with crime, they abhor it (hate it). If they remain in contact with crime, they become accustomed to it, and endure it. If they remain in contact with it long enough, they finally embrace it, and become influenced by it”. This explains how the mind works.

If you want to do a successful business, spend your time working on it every day. Focus your mind to attain your desires through VISUALISATION, which is a practice of seeing your desires in your imagination day and night. Your subconscious mind works on your desires, picks facts and gives you answers through creativity.

As I conclude, I would like to remind you that enthusiasm is a key to building a successful business. Be enthusiastic about whatever task you do. Focus your mind on ideas and actions that will help you to succeed in your home business. You will obviously succeed and be counted among the highly successful people.

10 Extremely Important Tips for a Successful Business Launch

What’s Your Passion? If you are thinking about starting a business, it should be something you enjoy. Since a lot of time and energy goes into running a business, it is smart to look at your hobby or professional experience as a potential business idea. For example, if you are good at sewing, consider a tailoring shop; or an accountant could look at bookkeeping or tax service. Now, imagine what your life would be like if you spent the majority of your day actually doing what you love. Do you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur? To improve your chances, here are 10 Extremely Important Tips for a Successful Business Launch.

Tip 1: The Name Game

Now that you’ve narrowed it down to ONE ‘business idea,’ you’ve got to figure out a name. A major challenge in starting a business is the process of searching and choosing the right business name. Choosing the right business name can mean success while a poorly thought out name could doom your business from the start. Three smart business name tips:

  1. A smart business name must be unforgettable. It is imperative that potential clients be able to remember your business name. I’m sure most people have heard of Nike, Walmart, Target, Home Depot and McDonalds. Like these household names, your name should be easy to pronounce and memorable.
  2. A smart business name must describe what your business does. When you create your business name, potential clients should be able to understand what products or services your company offers. For example in ‘ Browder Consulting Group,’ the word “Consulting’ is a clue that I provide specialized advice; or as in Lynn’s Styles & Cuts,’ the words ‘Styles & Cuts is a clue that this is a beauty salon.
  3. A smart business name should be as short and sweet as possible. As you advertise your business, it is important that your name display well on your marketing material, such as business cards, ad campaigns, domain name and email. As potential clients search for you on the internet, you want it to be an easy spelled and searchable name.

Tip 2: On a Mission

A mission statement is an important tool that tells others who you are, what you do, how you do it and why you are superior than your competition.

  • It identifies and clarifies the business’ vision, purpose and direction.
  • It provides the path and focus needed for making and implementing decisions.
  • It helps define to your future employees what they are doing, why they are doing it and where they are going.

Tip 3: Make it Legal

Be diligent in choosing the best Legal Form for your business. This is one of the first important decisions that you will have to make. This decision can have long-term implications, so here are a few things to consider when deciding which business structure is best for your business:

  • Scope of business you plan to attain
  • Size of your business
  • Business’s vulnerability to lawsuits
  • Tax implications based on the different ownership structures
  • Level of control do you wish to have
  • Expected profit/loss of the business

Tip 4: Surround yourself with a Progressive Team

Who do you need to know or collaborate with as a part of your external team? Having the right people on your team will allow you to focus on your business and help you to avoid costly mistakes. For example, you might need the following:

  • Certified Public Accountant: best form of ownership, establish bookkeeping, record keeping procedures and tax planning, etc.
  • Business Attorney: reviewing lease contracts, determining the right business structure, etc.
  • Computer Information Technician: set up systems, repair issues, etc.
  • Human Resource Management Consultant: assess your current HR processes for compliance, navigate through delicate labor issues, set up hiring processes, compensation and benefits and create employee manuals, job description and Standard Operation Procedural manuals.

Tip 5: Research Licenses & Permits Needed for Your Industry

As you can see, there are many steps involved in starting a business. With the daunting task of figuring it all out, it’s easy to overlook the important legal requirements associated with permits, licenses and registrations. Here’s a list that your business might need:

  • State Requirements: Business licensing requirements may vary from state to state.
  • Business Licenses: Depending on your state, county and city, a business license may be required for tax purposes and to conduct other basic business functions.
  • Occupations and Professions: Depending on your profession, state licenses may be required for occupations such as, appraisers, accountants, barbers, building contractors, cosmetologists, funeral directors, physicians, private investigators, private security guards and real estate agents.
  • Tax Registration: Some states carry a state income tax. If you establish your business in a state that does, you’ll have to register and obtain an employer identification number. If your business engages in retail sales, you will need to obtain a sales tax license.
  • Trade Name Registration: If you plan to run your business in your local community only, registering with the state may be adequate.
  • Employer Registrations: Are you planning to hire employees? If so, you’ll probably be required to make unemployment insurance contributions.

Tip 6: Know Your Clients

A common mistake that I encounter with new business owners is that they don’t know who their customer is… possessing a poorly defined target market. Most want to sell their products or services to ‘everybody’ instead of narrowing their targeted customer base to a manageable size. You must do your homework… i.e., market research. I’ve created a business resource guide to assist you, Resource Guide for Women.

Tip 7: Got Marketing?

In business, marketing plays a key role in getting the word out to your prospective clients. You must create an image and be consistent! It’s important to mold and hone your business image to successfully appeal to your prospects and customers. By choosing a relevant company name, answering your phone professionally, creating a professional and clear elevator pitch, investing in professional business cards, logos and brochures, etc… all are key in marketing your business.

Tip 8: Don’t forget Uncle Sam

Understanding tax obligations is one of the most important issues facing small businesses. The local, county, state and federal agencies does not care that you didn’t know or you forgot to pay your taxes. You will be subject to penalties for not paying on time. Here are some resources to assist you:

  • For a list of state agencies: business.gov/states/
  • For a SBA resource guide by state: smallbusiness3.com/magazine
  • For IRS business information: irs.gov/businesses/index.html

Tip 9: Don’t forget the ‘B’ Word… Budget!

Create a start up budget. Because businesses are different, each will have its own specific cash needs at various stages of development, so estimating your start-up costs may vary. Some businesses can be started on a shoestring budget, while others may require considerable investment in inventory or equipment. It is imperative to know that you will have enough money to launch your business venture.

A few ways to prepare:

  • Create a list of anticipated expenses for your first three years
  • Projections are fine, be realistic

Have a tracking system

QuickBooks, Quicken, Ledger, Excel spreadsheets, I don’t care which you use…. It’s important to put a system in place that works for you. Personally, I use QuickBooks. I can send files to my CPA, easy to work with. In addition, as the treasurer on the board of a non-profit organization, I also use Quick books to reconcile the organization’s bank statements and to bill our member’s annual dues.

Open a business checking account. The worst thing you can do is run your business from your personal account… it is an accountants nightmare. Open up a business account so that you can separate the two… plus it tells others that you are serious and professional.

Tip 10: Put it all together… in a plan!

Last but not least, you must write your business plan. By failing to plan, you are planning to fail. If you can’t take the time needed to plan for the success of your business, then don’t waste your time starting one. Statistics show that 8 out of 10 businesses fail within the first three years. This is staggering but true! Invest your time in researching and writing a business plan. Many prospective entrepreneurs think that a business plan is very hard and tedious. The truth is it’s a powerful tool that can help you plan and achieve business success.

So, what is this thing called a business plan? Well, a business plan is your blue print or what I tell many of my clients, it’s your bible! A business plan defines your business, identifies your goals, and serves as your company’s resume. It will help you arrange strategic alliances, obtain financing and attract key personnel. By planning for success, you will be able to overcome many hurdles that may arise.

A closer look at why a business plan is important:

  • To secure funding, your lender will request your business plan with completed financials. DO NOT approach a lender without having a completed business plan. In his/her eyes, you will look unprepared and too risky. By being prepared, you will have a better chance at securing funding for operations or expansion of your business.
  • It is a great way to test the feasibility of your business idea. By the time you complete your market or competitive analysis, you will have a clear picture of the viability of your idea.

As you can see, there is a lot of work involved before starting a business. To ensure success, it is important to research thoroughly, take advantage of the resources available to you and learn as much as you can. Preparation is key to a successful start!

Sylvia Browder is Founder of National Association Women on the Rise, a virtual membership community for aspiring and established women entrepreneurs. For more about NAWR or resources and information for women entrepreneurs, visit us at http://www.nawomenrise.com.