Are you interested in starting a new business? Make sure you do plenty of research and have a firm business plan ready before you take the plunge.
Making the Transition
If you have signed a noncompete or confidentiality agreement with your current employer, review it carefully to make sure it won’t hamper your startup efforts. If your new venture is in the same industry, be careful not to burn any bridges when you leave your current job. Scout out your opportunities. Buying a franchise or an existing business is much different than building a new business from the ground up.
Growing Your Business
Where will your customers come from? You may have one or two great prospects, but that may not be enough. Can you count on referrals from current business associates? Take a good hard look at opportunities for expansion that exist.
Figure Out Financing
Even with great prospects, it may take some time until cash starts coming in on a regular basis. Do you have enough of a financial cushion to get you through? If your spouse has an outside job, your spouse’s earnings and benefits may help provide stability during the startup period. If you need funding, where will it come from? Have you considered looking for a partner or investor?
Getting the Word Out
How much marketing and advertising will be required? Put together a comprehensive plan along with cost estimates. And, unless you’re familiar with the less traditional marketing and communication opportunities that today’s new media offer, you may want to enlist the help of someone who is.
Make a Budget
List every expense you can think of: rent, payroll (if any), phone and Internet service, computer equipment, website design, insurance, transportation costs, self-employment tax, etc. Then draw up a budget. Once your venture is up and running, you can use the budget as a guide in managing your finances.