Starting Your Own Business
Many of us dream of starting a business. The freedom to set our own rules and reach our creative potential is enticing. With careful planning, starting your own business may be one of the most exciting ventures you undertake.
Before you take the entrepreneurial leap
It's important to have a heart-to-heart with yourself. Often, starting a business takes relentless drive and an ability to take risks that aren't generally exercised when working for someone else. Consider the following questions:
- Is the self-employment lifestyle for you? People who thrive in a solo venture are most often very organized and self-motivated and don't mind long hours working alone. Make sure your business concept is something that you feel passionate about.
- Have you done your homework? Research your industry. Uncover what differentiates you from the competition. Identify the skills you have and those you may need to acquire. Take a trip to the library or bookstore - there are plenty of books and Web sites that provide comprehensive help to get you going.
Being prepared is the best prescription against small business ups and downs. Here are some suggestions to help you get started:
- Create a business plan. A business plan helps you measure your success and keeps you on track. It outlines what your business does, how you will market it, your financial expectations, and more.
- Plan your finances. Add up anticipated operating costs, including equipment, salary, insurance, taxes, benefits, and memberships to professional organizations. Make a list of resources you already have, and how much you will need to borrow, if any. Ideally, you should have access to enough money to cover living and operating expenses for the first year.
- Define your legal structure. The legal structure of your company affects many aspects of your new venture, so it's vital that you research and talk with professionals to determine what's best for you. There are pros and cons to forming as a partnership, sole proprietorship, or corporation.
- Develop a marketing plan. Identify your target audience and make a plan for how to reach them. Tell everyone you know about your new business, and network by joining professional organizations. At the very least, get business cards and letterhead printed.
Check out the Wells Fargo Small Business Resource Center for additional information on building your new business.