Posted by : Amanda Stein Thursday, March 28, 2013
At family potlucks you're told you need to start your own cupcake business because your cupcakes are so moist, fluffy and delicious. While handing out homemade birthday cards to friends they swear it's store bought because it looks so good (all thanks to your Cricut machine). You've redecorated your home a few times and your friends enlist your help for their home, too, because they swear you are a bona fide home decorator.
Whatever your passion is, isn't it about time you create your own business? Where do you start? What do you do? Well, start at the beginning by creating a business plan and budget.
Financing Your Dream
To follow your dream and start your business you're going to need start-up funding. Often times new business owners will reach into their pockets and use their personal cards and accounts to start off, which is a big mistake. Not only will it lead you to potential debt but it will get you in the bad habit of always reaching for your personal finances for your business. Instead you should be paying for everything business related with your own business credit card. You can easily manage your cash flow with a Plum Card, as well as obtain special deals and discounts for paying early or on time.
If you need a little help through loans, the Small Business Association (SBA) can help you. According to SBA.gov, the 7(a) Loan Program is the most common loan program for small business owners, which includes financial help for those business with special requirements. Another great loan program is the 504. According to SBA, the $50 billion in 504 loans has created over 2 million jobs, which help to stimulate the economy. This loan has proven time and again a win-win-win for the business, the community and participating lenders.
Location, Location, Location
Location is everything. It is a crucial decision. It's also one you have to make early in the process. Try to imagine all of the potential benefits and drawbacks before committing to a space. Make checklists and inspect the property ruthlessly.
- Look at your demographics – who are you trying to sell to?
- Assess your supply chain – is it important to be located fairly close to them?
- Look at your competition – how close will they be?
- Stay on budget.
- Understand your borough, city, county or state laws and taxes.
- Make sure the neighborhood you're considering is business-friendly.
- Is the space usable without expensive remodeling or modifications?
Sometimes hitting the pavement and passing out coupons, deals and discounts isn't enough. You're only reaching a fraction of your potential customers. Through social media and online markets you can hit your specific demographic and customer. If you're willing to commit, the benefits of blogging are worth the investment of time. You may even reach an audience you didn't think possible. Social media is a MUST for small businesses to build brand recognition. Social media may not be the only marketing tactic you employ, but it is an inexpensive and valuable grass-roots marketing tactic.