Karen Rollins

Five Tips for Starting Your Own Business

Starting your own business is certainly a daunting task, especially if you don’t have any previous experience of being your own boss.

While making the leap from employee to employer isn’t easy, it can be reassuring to know that there are lots of resources available to offer help and advice in the form of books, seminars, podcasts and mentors.

Below are five initial steps for starting a business which could also help to make it easier for you to get your company off the ground, and make it profitable.

Develop a sound business plan

A business plan is a written description of your business’s future, a document that outlines what you plan to do and how you will do it. It doesn’t have to be complicated or very detailed, but you should have a clear idea of what you want to achieve in the first year, and it might also be useful to jot down a five-year development plan.

Get your finances in order

Most entrepreneurs will admit that the biggest hurdle they faced when starting their business was finding financing.

Before you start looking for sources of funding you should take some time to sit down, preferably with a financial advisor or an accountant, and decide how much money you’ll need to get your idea off the ground and sustain it while you are trying to build your brand.

Keep your costs under control

Most experts suggest starting small, and scaling up your business, rather than overreaching with big plans which might not work out, and in the worst case scenario, leave you with mounting debts.

Keep control of costs by focusing on one idea or one product that you can build on by developing a solid customer base, and let that be the basis for growing your business in the future.

Take advice from the experts

Read everything you can about starting a business. There are several free resources available on the Internet and social media which will provide you with invaluable advice. Find podcasts and books by entrepreneurs you admire and while you are reading make sure you take some notes on how they managed to make their business dreams come true.

Find a mentor

Several entrepreneurs have spoken about the benefits of a mentor, especially when you are just getting started in the business world, and need someone who is experienced to offer guidance and support.

Mentors can usually be found through small business organisations and / or associations such as your local Chamber of Commerce. Choose someone who is trustworthy, available and preferably working in a similar business sector so that he/she can provide invaluable contacts as well as advice.

Sources: Entrepreneur / Barbados Entrepreneurship Foundation

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