5 Practical Steps to Starting a Business Online

The transition from typical employee to business owner / entrepreneur can have its challenges. The upside is outstanding but there are also risks that should be considered. The path to entrepreneurship and starting a business will have you facing many challenges with one of the biggest being the financial strain when you first begin. No longer relying on a steady pay check or the benefits you’ve come to rely on as an employee can turn many potential new business owners off. Depending on your resources you will most likely be starting off with you being the only employee. This means you will be faced with tasks you may not enjoy or up to this point have no idea how to do. The basic nature of an entrepreneur however is to have the desire to overcome these challenges and stair adversity in the face with the confidence it takes to succeed.

I’ve written this not to scare or deter you from chasing your dreams but rather in an attempt to make this leap as successful as possible by sharing what I’ve learned over the years and having gone through it personally.

1. Begin by considering what it is in life that you’ve always wanted to do.

Now if your forty years old and always wanted to be an astronaut that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m asking you to consider what you truly enjoy doing such as helping people or providing a unique service, physically building something just what you believe would make you happy and that you are passionate about. Don’t think about the money yet brainstorming ideas about starting a business begins with passion first we will be determining the commerciality of your choice later.

Preliminary Checklist of Your Readiness to Start a Business

  • I am willing to accept the risks and initial instability that comes with starting a business
  • I am able to rely on myself 100% I can make decisions that make or break my new business.
  • I work effectively on my own motivating myself without supervision. I do not rely on others.
  • I am goal oriented and will work at completing my goals everyday without exception.
  • I can visualise opportunities and have the confidence to go after them.
  • I can handle the stress and pressures that are inherently apart of starting a new business. Even when things do not go as planned I believe I can overcome any problem.
  • I posses the drive, determination and willingness to work long hours to make my business a success.

2. Determine The Business Ownership That’s Right For You

The Three Main Ownership Options when Starting a Business are:

  • Buy a Business that already exists.

Traditionally buying a business will be more expensive but does have its advantages. Start up can be the most gruelling part and establishing a customer base is no easy task. This may interest those who want to hit the ground running and have the budget to do so. Do your due diligence with any business you consider buying. Why does the current owner want to sell? What is the market conditions like for the business? Will there be new competition just around the corner that the current owner failed to disclose. Make it you priority to research everything before jumping in.

  • Franchise

Purchasing a franchise is a great way to lower the risk of business ownership but it has its pros & cons. A franchise is established providing a track record and the ability to review other stores profitability. You are buying a brand that already has customer awareness so there are fees for this. Start up fees and ongoing royalties are part of the deal when it comes to owning a franchise.

  • Start Your Own Business

This is for the true entrepreneur. Where you are the boss and your vision comes into reality. You will decide what’s right for the business how fast to grow it and what direction it will take. This is not always the cheapest option as is sometimes suggested. Sure there are thousands of cases where someone started with $500 and turned it into a thriving business but this is all dependent on the type business you decide to start what skills and resources you already have etc.

3. Zero in on the Business you want to start

Consider these three different options

  • Start a business in a high growth market or new up and coming trend,

This business plan takes a bit more guts but in many cases that’s where you get the glory. If you consider yourself good at spotting new trends this can be your ace in business. Setting up shop in front of an up and coming trend will help to position you as a leader and an authority within the space. This allows you to grow at an explosive rate if things really catch on. Choose it wrong though and you go down with the ship so do your research there may be a reason why other businesses are not in the space. Some say to focus on where the completion is already the reasoning behind it being that if others are making money there chances are you can to. Just be cautious and as always do you research thoroughly.

  • Turn your current employment into your own business-

The path of least resistance sometimes is sticking with what you already know. Especially true if you already have a passion for the business you’re currently involved in. You may see opportunities on how things could be done better and most likely already have industry contacts that will make your transition into entrepreneurship that much easier. I would suggest reviewing any employment contracts you signed before taking this approach. There can be no compete clauses or conflict of interest arguments if you plan on starting your business before actually resigning.

  • Start a business based on a hobby or interest

This can be one of the most exciting aspects of starting a business. The age old saying that really sums up this one is if you love what you do you’ll never work a day in your life. It’s not all roses here either though. A close friend of mine had a loved for the outdoors and decided to give up his sales job to pursue his passions as an eco adventure guide. He quickly found that as a complete start up the accounting and proper bookkeeping was something he absolutely hated. He was fortunate that he was able to pull from many of his corporate sales contacts to build his new business quickly positioned as a corporate team building activity. This quick growth allowed him to hire the accounting help he needed to stay clear of any tax troubles down the road and allowed him to stay focused on growing his business. Always be looking for synergies even if the business your started seems unrelated to what you old profession was there may be opportunities to be discovered.

4. Begin to research the Commerciality of your business idea

I would always recommend drafting a proper business plan, some may skip this step and if so it’s important to at least answer the following.

  • Determine what skills are needed to operate the business. Do you currently posses any of these skills or are you willing to learn them. Without the skills how will you learn them and what costs are involved.
  • Determine the actual business operation, how it works, who are the customers, what are the products or services being offered.
  • Does your business have commercial legs meaning what is the supply and demand within your market?
  • What equipment, supplies or facility is necessary to operate this type of business?
  • Forecast any possible overheads your business will be incurring when operating.
  • How much capital is needed to start the business? Would banks entertain the idea of financing or is venture capital required. Do you currently have personal funds set aside or are friends and family willing to help. (Essentially where will the start up money come from?)

When everything has lined up just right how will you proceed?

  • Resign or quit your job right way to begin working on the business?
  • Stay employed while you begin the leg work (evenings & weekends)
  • Reduce your current jobs weekly hours to dedicate more time to your new business
  • Recruit an employee to begin laying the foundation while you’re still employed with steady income

5. Include your family in your decisions

Having the support of your family will be a huge consideration when you decide to start a business. When your single without commitments there is far less to consider outside your own mental an physical well being. Remember it’s your dream but they too will experience the hardships that starting a business can create. Make sure you already have or have planned for the needs of your household during this transition in to entrepreneurship. The recommended financial security is between 6 and 12 months living expenses ensuring you will have the ability to survive any bumps in the road during those first few months after starting your business.

The Importance of a Business Plan for a Small Business

If you’re one of the many people thinking about starting a small business, having a business plan is one of the first things you should have on your list of things to do. It doesn’t matter if you’re starting a small business from home or away, having a plan for your business is considered a blue print for a successful small business. What is a business plan and why do you need one?

A Business Plan
A business plan is simply a plan of what your goals are for the business, and how you plan to go about accomplishing them. Some people refer to it as a vision for your business. I like to refer to it as a blue print or a road map to accomplishing your goals.

Your plan should be spelled out in clear and defining terms and be kept simple. It should be a written document and used as a tool in managing the business.

A plan should include but is not limited to the following:

1. A statement of your business purpose
2. A description of your company
3. The goals of your company
4. The structure of the company (sole-proprietorship, partnership or corporation)
5. The product or service that you are selling
6. A market analysis of your product or service
7. Resources spent (time and money)
8. A financial plan to include financial statements
9. Information about the managing principals in the company
10. How you plan to manage and operate the company

The Importance of a Business Plan
The success of a business starts with a business plan. The plan defines your business as to what it is and how you plan to achieve the goals of the business. It presents a clear picture of your business in terms of goals and objectives.

The plan reflects how you plan to operate your business. How you plan to market your product or services. It provides a financial picture of the company.

If you are looking for money to fund your business, you’re going to need a plan for your business. When you go to borrow money, lenders and investors are going to want to see written documentation in a business plan of your financial situation. Why do they want to see this information? Lenders and investors want to see this information because they are the ones taking the risk in lending your business money.

Once you have a plan in place, it’s important that you follow it. If you’re achieving your goals you should stick with the plan. If you are not achieving your goals then you will have go back, analyze your plan to find out what is working, what is not working and why it is not working.

A plan is not etched in stone. It is subject to change. As time goes on, things change in this world and businesses like everyone else are subject to change. A good plan will reflect changes that a company has to make to keep it competitive and successful.

Where can you find samples of a business plan for a small business? If you go into any of the search engines such as Google or Bing and type in “samples of a business plans for a small business” you will find websites with this information.

This is why it is important that a small business should have a business plan. If you look at those small businesses that are successful, you will find that most of them all started with and have a plan for their business.

Understanding the Benefits of Business Coaching

Business coaching is an effective business management strategy. It is a subtle way of guiding the business owner into outstanding performance in their specific financial or structural and performance goal.

Like a parent to a child, the manager acts as a coach to his staff and a business coach to a business protégée on various areas in business growth and development, while monitoring his progress and specific outputs. It is giving him a chance to explore his potential as a business owner, thus encouraging him to explore new ideas.

This may sound strange to some people, In simple terms, it is a working relationship between the coach and his client clearly guiding them, through process and procedures which helps to elicit from them answers to their queries. This is a business tactic created in order to guide a the business owner, encouraging him to perform a task, goal, objective in their business better than they would have done if working alone.

The business coach, can sometimes act as a mentor hatching his ideas, utilizing his experiences in business and explaining it to his protégée. The protégée applies the principles, while the business coach interacts. In business coaching, the coach facilitates the ideas and assists the protégée to apply the ideas to its best.

Coaching is usually done on a one-on one process. Like a tutor, the coach usually gives the idea while the learner has to do the talking and reasoning and implementation. The coach simply listens and guides and allows the protégée to apply the idea working towards a specific goal, checking along the way for improvement sometimes a total business over haul would be needed in the process to achieve maximum efficiency and results.

In business management, the support of a business coach is a must. In a world of strong-willed people, business coaching is a method which can actually give positive results compared to other applied business strategies.

The protégée learns the business process in a subtle way, giving him a feeling of importance and making him feel that it was himself who actually delivered the desired output. Making him equipped for his business journey, and boosting his self-confidence as an individual.

Effective business managers should seek the support of a business coach and can as well learn the technique in coaching to support their staff, rather than being an imposing business tycoon. Coaching tools and techniques has been proven as an effective tool in management.

When a business owner instead of yelling and shouting to his workers, learns to listen and allows a free and open conversation from his staff, studies reveal, that the results are far more better

In certain studies, it was found out that the work environment will be happier. Workers will be more confident and secure, they are also given the chance to interact and render their opinions openly.

Listening and open conversation is associated with business coaching strategies. Through this method, workers will actually learn how to sincerely love their work and not just to work for money.

With business coaching skills a manager is able to understand the needs of his employees. Through this strategy, the management may be able to understand and discover the inner potential of each employee in his organization. It is an act of conveying the message to the workers that the management “cares” for them and they are valuable human resource assets to the company.

A thing of thought for all business owners and managers, if you have never considered having a business coach maybe this is the time to do so. Gain clarity around your business processes, staff management, and financial increase.

I must conclude by saying with the rise in the use of the internet for branding and publicity, competition stares every business owner in the face. You do not have to work your business alone to make it successful, you have got resources and help everywhere but the most effective support is the services of a business coach.