There are a variety of reasons why you may consider starting your own business, including gaining freedom from the 'daily grind' that sees you working hard for someone else, as a means of self-fulfillment, to capitalize on a great idea, or even because of an innate entrepreneurial drive. Regardless of the reason, however, there are a series of steps that new entrepreneurs can follow during the start up phase to ensure that they succeed.
Surround Yourself with a Great Team
This is an advice that you may or may not hear often, but it's probably the single most important thing that an owner can do. The team will typically include an accountant, an attorney, an assistant, and a technical specialist. For those whose specialty falls into one of those areas, you can of course serve in place of another professional in that area, but trying to 'wear too many hats' is a common failing of business owners.
Make no mistake, you will be responsible for everything from writing the business plan to taking out the trash at the office, and making copies, but when it comes to the specialty areas, don't skimp on accounting, legal, and technical services. A good accountant and attorney in tandem can assist with setting up your business' structure and can advise you on things such as tax write-offs, financial reporting, intellectual property, and a host of other issues that you will probably face, regardless of the industry in which you will be operating.
Make Sure to Network
Unless you have a partner who will handle this aspect, it is crucial to get out and network with like-minded people. The number of business opportunities that can arise from casual gatherings, a brief meeting over lunch or coffee, and more formal events, cannot be overstated.
Take the opportunity to look for events sponsored by your local chamber of commerce or business association, then go to these events to get in touch with people who also own small businesses in your area. You may not gain something from each trip, but sooner or later the continuous contact will lead to some deals for your venture.
You Must Advertise to Succeed
Make sure to advertise to make your business continue to grow. While it depends on your field what types of advertising will work best, a website is a key component almost regardless of what your business does. Likewise, there are a number of online advertising techniques that can be used to establish a web presence, that contributes meaningfully to the success of the business. For those with a higher budget, television, print, and radio ads may work as well, but in this instance, it will probably be best to seek the advice and assistance of a professional.
You're Probably In for Some Long Days (and Nights)
Needless to say, operating a small business can be exhausting and all-consuming. Even in the evening, when work is supposedly 'finished' for the day, it's unlikely that you'll be able to escape entirely. While there is a certain freedom from being your own boss, keep in mind that you'll likely be working longer hours than you did in a job-at least for a while.
It's all about the actions that you take each day that will help you achieve your goal.