Authors note over the next few weeks I will be publishing extracts from my new book. Tips on Starting a Small Business.
Chapter 1 Starting
If you intend to start a business, there are various government rules and regulations to consider. I have started five businesses over the years, both physical and on-line. Some have worked and some have not, either way I have learnt lessons that I would like to pass on to you so you can learn from my experiences. If you’re a budding entrepreneur who isn’t put off by the challenge, here are some basic tips to help you get started.
You might think you have a wonderful idea for a business, but if the market is already full of other companies offering consumers the same product or service, or there is little demand for what your business offers, it could be a bust. You need to do some market research at the very beginning to see how your business idea fits, and whether it has a good chance of succeeding.
Four Major Mistakes to Avoid
1 You Have No why.
You need a reason, a strong reason to start a business. If you do not have a passion and a willingness to work hard and long you will not be a success.
2 A Mission
Your why is your MISSION. An effective mission statement produces these critical results:
- It gives you language for what you believe.
- It rallies your team around a common purpose.
- It serves as an out-of-bounds marker.
- It’s a north star
- It encourages your team to be emotionally involved.
3 Your Action
It is essential that you develop a mission statement for your business or if you have one take a hard look at it. Make sure it truly represents your company and is driving results.
1 Building your business on credit.
Doing the right thing the WRONG way can turn your dream into a nightmare. Borrowing money drastically increases RISK. What you must do as a leader:
- pay cash
- Rent not buy
- Outsource work you cannot do
- Often buy used.
As a business owner you should work for:
- Having retained earnings set aside.
- Run a DEBT-FREE business.
2 Your Action
- Create a budget.
- Set aside one month of retained earnings to cover expenses.
- Put 80% of profits to eliminating debt.
- Put 20% of profits to three to six months of retained earnings.
- Once debt free put remaining profits to three to six months retained earnings.
3 Team culture is either created or tolerated.
A unified team is:
- More efficient and effective.
- Correlates to lower turnover.
- Reinforces our mission.
Unity must be intentionally created in your culture.
There are five enemies of unity:
- poor communications
- lack of shared purpose
- unresolved disagreements
- sanctionable impotence
When unity is valued in the culture, your team will also act to keep these enemies from the gate.
Start with addressing gossip. If gossip is a habit in your organization take ownership of it.
Create a no-gossip policy
Define gossip and communicate your expectations. Consistently remind your team of the benefits of a gossip free unified culture.
Owning a job not a business.
If you’re too bogged down by operations to spend time on strategy, you own a job – not a business. You must get above the day-to-day cast vision for your business. Organizations are never limited by their opportunity; they are limited by their leader.
Determine your vision for your business.
- Do you have a plan to keep it growing?
- What are you doing to work on your business, instead of just in it?
- Recruit staff to do the organizational work so you can do what you should be doing.
Creating your business.
Location, refurbishment, utilities.
Entrepreneurs who wish to start a bricks and mortar business need to fulfil a few conditions.
Choose your business premises
Your business premises must be in line with the zoning plan for that specific area. If this is not the case, however, you can apply for an exemption. You could also ask the local council to change the zoning plan.
Getting a website, Advertising, Back Office procedures
You need a website whether you intend to trade as an on-line retailer. The reason is that all businesses need to have an internet presence. People need to search for you and find out what you do or supply.
Getting a website is difficult for a newcomer or even some more experienced users of the internet. You need the following:
- A Domain or a name for your website
- An actual website
- Hosting for your website
- E-Commerce if you intend to sell online
- Links to yourself so that people can contact you.
All these activities need some level of expertise and expense.
Purchasing a name or domain is easy but can cost you from $12.00 to $40 depending on what type of name you want.
Building a website can cost truly little to a lot, depending on whether you do it yourself or employ an expert.
Hosting you must have, or nobody will see your website, this can cost from less than $5 per month up to more than $30 per month, again depending on what facilities you want.
Maintaining the website is another activity that can be a burden. Doing it yourself means using your time and learning how to do it, using an expert cost but the cost could be less overall than you are using your time to do it, and less stressful!
There are many organizations that can provide some or all these services but most of them cost a lot of money. I use the WEALTHY AFFILIATE website because it gives you so much more for less cost.
The site is packed with educational and promotional videos, exercises, and lessons. I thought I knew something about building websites, SEO, marketing and making sales (although I had made none) but I quickly realized I did not.
I soon realized how little I knew. From day one it amazed me at what was being taught. Within three days I started on the special offer of $19 for the first month. I was totally fazed when I found out they had not increased their prices for 12 years. They have a team of 25 people working behind the scenes. This ensures that technology, training, and offering is far beyond anything else offered.
In 2005 they offered a “keyword list” site and charged $359 per year, and it still is that price. Previously I paid $50 per month for hosting and it was nowhere near as comprehensive as what Wealthy Affiliate provides.
As I progressed through the training and created my website in 30 seconds, well the software did, and finally understanding what I was doing.
This is one of the weakest areas on most programs. Previously I have given up just for this reason. WA is different there is Live Chat, Site support, Q & A but the most valuable is that the membership advises and guidance.
Kyle, one of the founders, is available for personal mentoring. Where else can you find the owner being available to help you. Ask a question and within 24 hours you get an answer. As I live in the Philippines getting any response from the USA is exceedingly difficult because of the time difference. But as a Canadian I am proud to say he lives in British Columbia so that could explain the great service.
As I mentioned above. This is unique and so useful because these are people using the system every day. This system means that if you have a question, just post it and within no time you have multiple answers.
When you are developing your own business website, I know that you will run into problems. One of the most important helps. Is that you can get your website looked at by other members. They will comment in an objective way. Telling you what is good and more importantly, not so good. Just getting good comments is all right for my ego but not necessarily for my business, if the website has problems or challenges. So far in the month I have already written 6 posts and 1 review, more than I have ever written before, and, amazingly, Google has indexed them.
Training Courses, Step by Step.
The training available is huge and comprehensive.
I do not know how many hours of training there is, but I have completed 5 levels of 10 sessions each and it has taken me 8 weeks. The courses not only give you step-by-step instructions, videos, and exercises to do. These exercises are not for practice but to build your website. Great, you are understanding what you are doing AND building your website that is your business.
The training covers many topics including finding your niche, choosing the keywords related to your niche, diving down to the best keywords that will deliver “overhanging fruit”. That is, the keyword is likely to give you the best response for your niche.
How to create menus (one of my problem areas), create pages and posts, add media, and get your pages published.
Other areas are Google Analytics, I spent hours in the past trying to understand what this is and how to install it. Now I did it in less than an hour.
There is much more, but I do not want to write a novel about the program.
I suggest you have a look here.
I joined because I wanted to understand affiliate marketing at last and I do that through the Affiliate Bootcamp.
Here you are taught what Affiliate Marketing is and how to create your website, find the products relevant to your brand, and to give reviews of products that your clients may want.
The Affiliate Programs.
Associated with the Bootcamp is an explanation of the Affiliate Program. By inviting people to take a Free look at the site and helping them to get started, you will receive a commission. This is one of the best commission programs I have come across. And in a quick time, you can make enough in commissions to pay for your own membership.
I believe in this program because it is a great program. As I mentioned within 3 days I signed up as a member and then within 2 weeks I signed up as a premium member. As a starter you get plenty of training and support but limited. For example, you only get one FREE website and WordPress theme. By upgrading you get up to 50 websites and access to over 5000 WordPress themes. Great Value however you look at it.
Other Goodies for you as a Member.
Some of the other items are:
- Building Websites
- Website Performance Tools (SiteRubix)
- Website Engagement Platform (SiteComments)
- The Hosting Platform
- SiteContent Writing Platform
- Keyword Research Tool
- Weekly Live Classes (and 100’s of hours of replays)
- Ambassadorship Program
- Online Entrepreneur Certification
- And other things.
Now is the time to find out if what I say is correct.
I am extremely excited about this program, which is why I am already a Premium Member.
Once you have completed these tasks you can now look forward to getting your business of the ground, but there are more tasks you must do, these are in the following chapters.
Next: Setting Goals
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