Becoming an Entrepreneur: Smart Steps to Take Before You Take the Plunge

People don’t wake up one day and suddenly become successful. It takes time and dedication. In fact, many entrepreneurs toil away for many years before they see the fruits of their labor materialize. So, if you’re on the fence about going into business for yourself, here are some small steps you need to take before you take the plunge.

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Establish Goals

Ask yourself what kind of lifestyle you really want. What does success mean to you? In business, your goal is to have your own steady stream of income. But, you might not know exactly how to go about doing that. Do you want to have employees? Or, do you want to have multiple locations?

Or, maybe you want to be a one-man show.

Plan that out. How will you scale, or how will you maintain a steady income? If you’re a one-person business, figure out how you’ll survive if your sales start to slide, you become injured or sick, or if the economy starts to contract.

Are you a growth business? This means that your ambition is to build a business venture that grows quickly. This constantly-evolving project requires you to invest more and more money to expand your product offerings and locations, customer segments and so on.

You’ll be hiring people, traveling and working most days (even Sunday).

Knowing your goals is the key to setting expectations, and probably the most important thing you can do for the growth of your company.

In fact, this is the secret to Jacksonville personal injury attorney, Pajcic & Pajcic.

Think Through Your Business

What’s your product or service? Who are you marketing to? Who are your customers?

How will you attract and keep them? Who are your competitors? If you can’t answer these basic questions, then you risk failing before you even get off the ground.

Your job as a businessperson is to constantly analyze your market, finding “holes” or problems you can fill in and solve. For example, NerdWallet started in 2009 by creating a new kind of comparison tool for things like credit cards. Initially, there was no feedback from the market. You can’t expect people to flock to your business just because you made something. You need to market it. And, you need to find a marketing angle that solves real problems people are having.

The company hadn’t thought through the challenges of distribution and discoverability. They invested heavily in high quality personal finance content to draw customers in. Over several years, they built up an audience of millions of visitors to the site each month.

Have a Client Base

Don’t turn down a full-time job until you have paying customers. When people leave their jobs to start their own businesses, one thing they find is that the business isn’t immediately successful. It takes time to get “up to speed,” if it does happen at all. If you fail, you should fail quickly. Most of the time, businesses limp along and the owner wonders if they’ll ever get a paycheck. Meanwhile, they have bills to pay.

Don’t get caught in this trap. Always have a paycheck coming in.

Penny Bailey has been in business for many years running a graphic design agency. She thrives on creativity yet has learnt that she also needs a business mind to thrive in her industry.