Entrepreneurs – Want To Start A Business But Not Sure What Type?
Many entrepreneurs get that itch to start a new business, either because they are fed up being “wage slaves” or they like the freedom that working for yourself can bring. Some even think that they will be richer or have more spare time. Many are not sure what kind of business they want.
First of all – never start a new business because you want more money or more time. Starting a new business takes both lots of time and most, if not all, of your money.
Secondly don’t fall into the trap of starting a business just for the sake of it. Make sure that someone wants what you are aiming to sell! Your fruit cakes, tattoos or begonias may be the best in the area but if no one wants them – then you are going to be going bust very soon.
So how do you find out what kind of things you are going to sell?
1) Look at the type of area that you want to set up your business. A majority of aged clients is not going to be keen to have tattoos but might love your cakes!
2) Look at the other businesses selling in your area. Whilst it is sometimes good to group some businesses together such as car sales – make sure there is enough people left who may buy from you. Similarly if there is a successful company that is not coping – maybe you can inherit some of their clients?
3) Look for gaps in the market. Are their complimentary businesses close by who you can join in with to share customers? Is the market just crying out for a particular product of service.
4) Most importantly go and ask people. Give talks at clubs about your subject and see what kind of reception you get. Hold a competition for the best ideas etc.
Good luck in obtaining a firm foundation for your new business.
My husband and I work together on cutting wood for our heat source for the winter months. I enjoy helping him as much as he enjoys the help. I am an entrepreneur and he is a man who enjoys the comforts of a 9 to 5 job. Both of us take pleasure in being out doors in nature. It may be the only thing we have been on the same page about during our 20+ years of marriage.
One particularly nice morning my husband asked me to go into the woods to collect the logs he just finished cutting. I joyfully agreed but when I got out there he was already returning to the house to tune up his chain saw. "No problem", I thought, "I'll just keep busy until he comes back."
As I looked around the parameter of the forest I couldn't see the log he said he had cut up. Going deeper into the thicket of tall brier's and spindly trees, my clothes were being pulled and torn, thorns were cutting my shins and my unhealed broken ankle began to throb from stepping into holes.
I eventually found the log he had cut up and looked around for a better path to get back to the road. "Surely he cut one for me." I thought. "We just discussed this yesterday. Does he really expect me to lug this hard wood such a distance with a hurt foot and without a path?" Within seconds of looking around it became obvious there was no path to get back to the road besides the trail I had just made.
By the time I had taken out two arm loads of wood, I felt beat up, my skin was torn up and I was totally focused on my husbands lack of consideration. "This is how he does everything!" I exclaimed exasperated. "He needs to understand that the way you do anything is the way you'll do everything and this is why we're never on the same page!"
By the time he returned I had spewed all the negative thoughts in to the wind and I couldn't speak. I no longer wanted to lay into him because I knew my thoughts had shifted to an epiphany. I realized the truth. In the years I've wanted him to be involved in my business, I had never once made a clear path for him either. I want him to enjoy helping me in my business, but I have never actually shown him the possibilities of how it could be done. How would he know what the joys or pitfalls could be unless I cut a clear path for him to?
I used this wood cutting experience because as entrepreneurs its important that we allow our spouses paths to be easier to journey through. If you desire to be on the same page then ask yourself one simple question: If I could cut a path for my spouse to understand my work, what would that path look like? If you really give this some thought I think you will find ideas you've never thought about before.
Running Your own Business - The Options
Financial advisors often find themselves consulting to successful entrepreneurs about how to continue to grow their assets after the business has been sold or taken over through a carefully planned succession strategy. But developing a small business (defined here as having less than $50 million in annual revenues) is not so simple.
After the initial burst of business success and survival in the first three years, many small businesses encounter struggles that can leave them feeling isolated. What can assist a 30-year old consulting firm whose personal presence and paper products face a changing world of electronic presence and high travel costs by helping them with development of electronic products? What can encourage a small playground equipment manufacturer to move from $1 million to $2 then $5 million in annual revenues by helping her with facility expansion issues? What can help a successful cookie baker beat the competition through strategic partners, cause marketing and high tech kitchen equipment?
Small Business Development Centers can.
According to the Small Business Administration these SBDC's gave face-to-face help to more than 247,000 clients last year. A treasury of business answers lies waiting and ready to assist at 1,100 top colleges and universities across the United States, according to the SBA. These centers are funded by a combination of federal, state and local government monies as well as with private sector dollars.
Here are just few examples from the State of Wisconsin. The University of Wisconsin at Whitewater hosts a Small Business Development Center at www.uwwsbdc.com [http://www.uwwsbdc.com/] Its email is firstname.lastname@example.org This center is also affiliated with the Wisconsin Innovation Service Center, that "takes pride in an extremely high rate of client satisfaction...nearly 75% of clients have been referred by former clients and professionals. The Wisconsin Innovation Service Center charges an "affordable fee" to provide companies with enough information for improved product and market development decisions.
A few diverse examples of this university-related treasury of successes include these:
- A local gardener gained international attention for a unique gardening tool.
- An innovative drywall finishing product offers significant benefits over competition.
- A new product helps a honey producer grow.
- A business in the electrical equipment industry finds new customer segments.
- Investors and inventors find value in a flooring company start-up.
- An environmental product company breaks past the $15 million mark with a new product.
- An ornithology hobby becomes a successful business venture.
- An outdoor equipment manufacturer finds a potential acquisition.
- Customer purchase decisions and perceptions are revealed to a manufacturer.
- An automotive aftermarket tool gains distribution outlets across the U.S.
- A "hot" tool is offered to the propane and plumbing industries.
Part of the success of these entrepreneurs and a couple of hundred thousand others is due to the one-on-one relationship of these advisors with their entrepreneurial clients. Developing business plans, wading through loan applications, securing critical market research, exploring product design options, identifying a lasting competitive edge---these are typical of the services that SBDC's can provide to the entrepreneur.
These services are nothing to be sneezed at. In another state, South Carolina, the economic impact on the state's economy in 2005 alone was $86 million, resulting in a return on investment of $121.11 for every dollar of state funding, according to Regional Director Jill Burroughs as quoted in the Greenville News. Further explaining the power of the program, Burroughs said that breaks down to $45.7 million in capital formation, 1038 jobs created, nearly $25 million in wages paid, $869,000 in additional sales taxes and $15 million in contracts awarded to 381 businesses.
SBDC's are located in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, Samoa and the US Virgin Islands. If you conservatively cut the impact of South Carolina in half and multiplied by the 50 states, you would have a $2.1 BILLION impact.
This is a powerful treasury of real riches that spills over to the rest of the economy from the struggles of entrepreneurs who refused to let their dreams be defeated by the obstacles they encountered. They got help.
Myths About Entrepreneurs
These days, everywhere you turn, you are bombarded by news of gloom and doom about our economy. It's like Halloween got here way too early this year. I try my best to avoid the TV and radio news altogether. No, I'm not in denial or being naive. There's no doubt that something is very wrong in this picture. However, if you focus your attention on the bad news that's broadcast 24/7, and hang around the water cooler whining, bitching and complaining, your chance of success is doomed.
Research has shown that the right mindset and attitude can make or break a person/business. How do you maintain a laser-sharp focus and unwavering success mindset during these challenging times? That's where masterminding comes in.
The right mastermind group can provide abundant resources for building your business. Mastermind groups can be made up from a group of peers in the exact same industry that you are in, a group of companies that focus on the same vertical market or market segment, or a group of business leaders that are ready to mentor those who are starting out. When you are in a group of like-minded, success-focused, positive business professionals, there are infinite possibilities, creativity and resources to be shared. Oftentimes, we cannot see what's missing in our own business. It's extremely valuable to have someone else to point out your blind spot or offer you solutions you would not have thought of by yourself.
During these turbulent times, perhaps the most important value of having a mastermind group, is to have an army of your own, so to speak, against the ugly beasts of fear, negative beliefs, doubts and worries. If you are familiar with the Law of Attraction and the success principles taught by masters such as Napoleon Hill, you know that you can't afford the negative thoughts and beliefs -- not in your personal life, and definitely not in your business. If you have taken all the right steps to select the right kind of people for your mastermind group, you would have an unbreakable support network to always keep you in the positive energy field.
Next time you meet with your mastermind group, may I suggest that you set a group intention to lift and keep one another in the success-oriented positive energy field. Select some empowering affirmations that you'd like to recite and affirm at your meetings. Absolutely no whining, bitching or complaining allowed in and outside of the group. Set up some type of buddy system so you can call for support, in case you fall into a negative slump. Do everything you can to safeguard your positive energy, and watch the success come to you.
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