At one time or another, nearly every employee dreams of owning a business. Perhaps you’re tired of all your hard work ending up helping someone else achieve his or her entrepreneurial success, or you may fear for losing your job in a weakened economy. Whatever your motivation, the compulsion to own a business is strong in many of us. But the risk involved in turning that dream into reality has, all too often, acted to derail even the best-laid plans.
How to Own a Business
Every prospective business owner is forced to wrestle with many different kinds of questions. Concerns about money certainly lead the pack, but knowing what kind of business best suits you is even more important. The best place to start is by examining the reasons why you want to own a small business. Here are some benefits to ponder:
- Take advantage of all those years of work experience for your own benefit, not for the sake of others.
- A flexible schedule allows you to spend more time with your family.
- Enjoy greater wealth and control your own destiny.
- Self-employed people typically express greater satisfaction with life.
Important Steps to Take
Make a list of your skills, and do plenty of online research to see what kind of business is best enhanced by those skills. If you enjoy dealing directly with the public, a retail or service type company would be a good choice. If you have experience in accounting, auto repair, writing, or selling pet supplies, your best bet is to find a business in a field you already know – and one where potential customers already know you. Your three primary choices include buying an existing business, starting one from scratch, or purchasing a franchise. Each selection has its ups and downs – its pros and cons – and its tradeoffs between cost and the immediacy of success versus long-term profits. Choose wisely, as owning a business is a decision you only want to make once.
Show Me the Money
Almost no one these days has tons of cash lying around, so you will probably need to secure some sort of financing in order to own a small business. Begin by talking to a banker or the person who runs your credit union. The SBA (Small Business Administration) guarantees certain loans for people who cannot qualify for standard bank loans. If you’re contemplating the acquisition of an existing business, the seller may be willing to finance some or all of the purchase. Friends and relatives can be a good source for investment, depending upon how well you get along. There is always the option to take in a partner – either someone who will actively work alongside you to build the business, or else a “silent” partner who will invest personal funds in return for a share of the profits down the road.
Wake Up and Smell the Opportunity
Owning a business does not need to be a dream, but the planning you put in at the beginning will return a thousand-fold over the ensuing years. First, understand yourself and your capabilities. Second, do your research and decide which industry suits you best, and then what type of company within that industry. Third, research how much you will need to get your business up and running. Fourth, find the funds you require and make sure the business revenue you realistically expect to generate will cover all your expenses. Fifth, delay your dream no longer – get out there and become an entrepreneur!
If you had started your own business five years ago – or even two years ago – where would you be TODAY?
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