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The 9-to-5 grind can make you feel like a just another cog in the corporate machine, constantly punching the clock for someone else's vision. One day, while dreaming of the world outside the cubicle, you have your big "Eureka!" moment-you've come across an idea so perfect that you need to start your own business around it.
Coming up with the idea is the easy part. Now, you're thrown into an entrepreneurial world where even the experience businessperson can feel overwhelmed by all the details.
It's hard to know where to even begin. So here are some tips to starting your own business:
- Craft a primitive budget: do you have enough capital to get this idea rolling? First things first, figure out roughly how much it'll cost you including all expenses, and where that money will be coming from. Call in favors from everyone you've even leant money to in the past in need be.
- Does the business world need you?: is there a large enough demand for your product? Ask around before even attempting to start your business-check with similar businesses in the area, or around the country. Find out how they started, and what kinds of clients they target, to get an idea of where you'll fit in the market.
- Create a strong management team: your team members should share your vision of the business, and a certain amount of proficiency and credibility. Rely on your connections to find the perfect people for the jobs that will bring their expertise to the business. Remember that you will eventually have to set aside your ego and let them control certain aspects of the company, so your have to feel comfortable around your management team.
- Start small: instead of immediately trying to market your product to 5,000 companies at once, focus on a few dozen specialized local companies to network with. This way you can call them each personally, mail them your marketing materials, and then arrange a meeting.
- Quality matters: you want to be able to set your self apart from all the other businesses similar to yours. Having an eye-catching yet simple to navigate web site and presentation material is key to succeeding in the modern business world. Creating quality marketing tools doesn't have to cost you a fortune either; consider hiring a design art or marketing student from a nearby university to help out. You never know, you could even meet your next Junior Executive.
- Come up with a good business plan: keep it less than 25 pages, and include information about your management team, who your customers as, and most importantly, why the world needs your business. At this stage in the game, don't over-focus on the financial side of things yet. A business plan outline can be found at http://www.sba.gov/starting_business/planning/basic.html.
For more tips, including an A-to-Z guide to starting your own business, and 21 ways to draw customers in, go to www.entrepreneur.com.
Jessica Klein is a member of the 'Mount Real Research Team', whose aim is to seek out and distribute business information to
the virtual public. She is a freelance writer based in Montreal, Canada who loves writing about anything from accounting to zebras.
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