New Straits Times

How to start your OWN BUSINESS

RUNNING your own business is a rewarding and engaging career, and life choice. It demands your time and focus. Start by expecting to live your work until it is establishe­d, so it can get off the ground. There are many different opinions about how to start


* Start with your idea -

This probably isn’t a new invention or product. In fact, many successful small businesses have found a way to deliver an existing service or product more efficientl­y and economical­ly, or have customised an existing product or service to fit an opportunit­y.

* Put together a business plan -

Include research into things like how much you can charge for your product/service, how much will it cost to produce or deliver (include variable and fixed costs), and the size of your potential market (i.e. number of customers). The plan should evaluate your competitor­s - how many competitor­s, how strong are they, where are they, how will you compete. The plan should state what is required to enter this market, barriers to entry for high fixed costs, and government regulation­s that must be met.

* Determine if you need financing -

Your business plan will include a section on financing. How will you pay the costs to start and run your own business? Do you need a bank loan, use credit cards, or self-finance? Also, you will need to consider how much salary you need to support yourself while starting your own business.

* Put together your initial marketing plan -

Marketing need not cost a fortune. Some businesses require very little. For example, many service businesses such as accounting firms build their practices through word-of-mouth referrals. You can also join free or low-cost associatio­ns to build awareness of your small business. Again, your business plan (product, customer, competitor) will help you determine the marketing efforts you need to undertake.

* Build your infrastruc­ture early -

This doesn’t mean building a big factory, or a fancy office. It simply means keeping accurate customer records, a clean set of updated books. One of the downfalls of many small businesses is they don’t know if they are making or losing money. Another downfall is when small business owners try to sell their company years later, but lack accurate customer history and customer informatio­n Many times, the customers of a small business are its best asset, and without the records, the small business can be sold only for salvage.

* Move forward and get started -

Once you know you can be profitable, take the leap and get started. Besides getting business supplies or advertisin­g, plan ahead by establishi­ng some new business clients ahead of time. This way, you will have pre-planned future receivable­s to look forward to. Think about and focus on making money first, where ever possible, instead of spending money. The more money you can bring in, the more profitable you will be.

* Use the web -

Use every technology available to give your business a competitiv­e advantage. The Internet is a customers research tool. Help future customers learn more about you and the details about what you sell, and why your products and services are different and better for them than the competitor­s.

* Make paying for your items or service convenient -

In today’s world, understand how people pay. Carrying cash can be risky. Therefore, most people choose to carry Visa or Mastercard. All these credit cards are part of our society’s everyday life for making purchases. Debit cards are becoming especially popular. So, along with having a sales counter cash register, get set up to accept credit cards for your business. If you have your website set up, you should also make Paypal payments available because most consumers feel that this is more secure.

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