How to Start a Business and Follow Your Dream

Owning your own business is a goal that many people dream of, but not everyone realizes this dream. In order to make your dream come true you must a plan. This plan will lay out the steps you need to make your business a success. Many small businesses fail for lack of planning and resources. Use these tips to start a business and follow your dream.

Write a Business Plan

A business plan is the first place to start. In your business plan you need to state the nature of your business, a company description, organization and management structure, marketing plans, your target audience, and a budget. Depending on your business you plan may contain more items; each one is different because each business is different and has different goals.

Get Training

The Small Business Association has free training seminars you can attend if this is your first time starting a business. Their courses cover all aspects on how to start a business. If you’ve never had any financial training you may want to consider taking accounting or bookkeeping classes. These classes will give you a deeper understanding about the financial structure of your business and how to keep accurate records.

Location is Important

If you are going to start a business and have a physical storefront you need to give location a lot of thought and research. Scout out locations in your town and talk to other business owners in the area. Ask them about the traffic flow, if the area is safe, and if they would rebuild there again. Enlist the services of a commercial real estate agent. They will help you navigate the complicated process of purchasing commercial property, or find the perfect location for building your storefront.

Research Financing Options

You have several options to explore when you start a business. The Small Business Association offers loans at competitive rates, and they have several types of loans and loan structures set up to help people start a small business. Banks are an obvious choice, but you may want to explore venture capital, personal loans, and grants.

Obtain the Proper Licenses

In order to do business you will need to register your business’ name with your state. This is known as “doing business as” or DBA license. You must get a tax identification number from the IRS, and register for any state or local taxes. You will also need to get any local and state business license and permits.

Hire Your Crew

As an employer you have certain legal responsibilities to your employees and to the government. Contact OSHA to find out the safety concerns pertinent to your business, and get an employer identification number so that you can file taxes. Don’t forget to deal with the three types of withholding taxes; federal, state, and social security. Keep excellent records so that when it comes time to file your quarterly taxes you will be ready.

It may not sound easy to start a business, but if you have a passion and want to see it become a successful business it will take planning and organization. Use these tips to get started and build a business you can be proud of.

Top 5 Advantages of Starting Your Business Online

Starting a business is risky. It’s the reason why everyone doesn’t have one. It can require thousands of dollars of investment just to get off the ground. 9 out of 10 of all new businesses fail in the first year. Before any profit is made, things like product inventory, incorporation, advertising, employees, accounting, insurance, licenses, commercial space etc. have to be paid for.

Enter the internet..

The digital world has taken away a lot of the risk of starting the business of your dreams. There are still start-up expenses involved in the beginning but they are not nearly as high as starting a brick and mortar business. License and incorporation fees are going to have to be paid online or offline but most of the other expenses can be avoided in the early stages by starting with your online presence.

If it can be sold in a store it can be bought online and shipped to the customer’s home. At the very least it will add an additional revenue stream for the business. There are plenty of advantages to starting a business online but here are my top five.

1. There is no immediate need for full-time in-house employees.

What makes online business so powerful is its scalability; meaning you do a little bit of work for a greater result. With automation tools you can have a lot of your tedious data entry tasks done without you even thinking about it. With PayPal you can accept payments online through your website without you even knowing a credit card was entered.

If you are selling digital products that are to be downloaded then there is no need for pre-ordered inventory or commercial space, thus eliminating the cost of rent.

For when you actually need the assistance of a real human, sites like oDesk.com and Elance.com make it possible for you to outsource work to people on a for hire, monthly or even a full-time basis.

Things like insurance and security are needed for online as well as online but securing intellectual property stored online in the cloud is a lot less expensive than doing the same for merchandise in a store that is susceptible to theft or fire

2. You have the freedom to travel.

There is no need for a physical location in most cases so there is no need to stay in one place. If you need to pack up and move your company to another state where there is more opportunity, it can be as simple as packing up your laptop and accessories and leaving. With a physical ‘brick and mortar’ business, it would be a little more difficult to relocate. You will most likely be constrained to whatever lease agreement you may have in place.

As you know, business and tax laws vary from state to state. Having your operation online gives you the freedom to choose where you want your business to be incorporated. You would have to have some sort of address established in the state but it doesn’t have to an actual store. There are a few states who’s laws work best for the traveling internet entrepreneur. *I am not an accountant or a business lawyer so please consult one before getting started.*

3. The whole world has access to what you’ve got to offer.

You aren’t limited to your immediate geographical area anymore. You aren’t limited to ANY geographical area for that matter. Offering your products and services online opens your business offering up to the edges of the world. The internet doesn’t sleep and there are billions of people online looking for solutions to their problems, while YOU are sleeping.

4. You are at the fingertips of a growing online market.

The internet definitely isn’t going anywhere anytime soon as more and more people are gaining access to an internet connection or a smart phone every second. E-commerce is following the same trend as more and more people are becoming comfortable making purchases online and from their mobile devices. From a consumer’s standpoint, making purchases from the comfort of your own home can save you a lot of time, and for certain products, shame or embarrassment.

5. You can inexpensively test your market.

Not every brilliant idea translates into a consumable product or service. And as you know, the failure rate of new businesses is very high. Another advantage of starting a business online is the ability to gauge interest without actually having the product readily available for sale. One example of this that I’ve seen a lot is a preview or ‘beta’ page with a prototype of a product where people can sign up to ‘be the first to know’ when the product is made available. This can be done with a food product, a clothing line, an app, pretty much anything. It’s a great way to gauge interest before you go all in with a final product.

You don’t need $10,000 to start a business anymore..

There are hundreds of ways to make money online and frankly, who can afford NOT to open up shop to the billions of people on the internet. There are still a lot of traditional brick and mortar businesses that are not providing their products and services online, constraining themselves by business hours and management of on premise staff.

All you need is a website, a product or service and consistent potential-buyer traffic to that website. No permits, no city council meetings, no weather constraints and depending on where you live, no off duty police officer.

Recommended reads: ‘The Four Hour Work Week’ & ‘The $100 Startup’

Starting a Business for Beginners: The Fool-Proof Internet Marketing Plan

If you find your search the web for “starting a business for beginners”, then no doubt you’re looking for an easy way to evolve from employee to entrepreneur, and perhaps a home based business opportunity is what you’re looking for.

Of course, there’s no such thing as a business without investment…

However, thousands of people have found their way out of the “crab trap” by discovering how to market online.

While we all look for step by step instructions in the beginning, let me just say that, as an entrepreneur, it will serve you well to start thinking outside the box…

When you constantly look towards others for approval or questioning what to do next, then you’re operating inside the box – and that’s an employee mindset.

Having said that, I will lay out for you a “starting business for beginners” checklist to follow to set you off in the right direction…

1) Training for how to market online is mandatory.

Assuming you would like to operate a home based business opportunity, the easiest and most cost-effective way of doing this is to learn how to market online. However, whatever it is you choose to market, you’ll get nowhere without the proper training.

Network marketing companies especially are notorious for not advising their distributors how to market… they are known for recruiting newbie after newbie full of hope, but does not have a clue how to sell or recruit.

You can’t just go off and start running blind on these things – having no plan is the same as planning to fail!

2) Market the training.

Whether you already have a passion for a home business idea or not, you’ll be a step ahead of the game if you decide to market the training itself. There are hundreds of different online training courses out there – and, once you buy it for yourself, most will off you a commission for simply promoting the link online.

If you’re using the training as “bait” to capture a lead to get them into the deal that you’re really passionate about, marketers call this a funded proposal. If you choose to market only the training products, this will limit your overhead substantially, because there’s nothing to buy and stock up on.

And, when you’re first starting a business online, be sure you have another income source!

3) Work your new internet marketing plan part time.

Starting any business at all is always a risk, so you can imagine how you should be cautious about jumping in head first when starting a business for beginners!

Remember that there is no such thing as a business without investment, so you’ll need to be working at something else to build capital while you grow your business.

4) The best internet marketing plan will pay you 100% commissions after business expenses.

This means that you first get the commissions – 100% – as you would for something digital you might create yourself that can easily reproduced digitally – and then you take a portion of that and put back into your business for administration and marketing.

An example of administration costs would be the costs for your merchant account to funnel money to your bank account. It’s advised that a good marketer should invest 20% of his profits back into the business for marketing.

5) Up-sell your stuff.

It’s been proven time and time again that it’s way easier to sell more products or services to an existing customer than it is to get another customer. Here again is why I lean strongly towards learning how to market online… Because, with a good internet marketing plan, up-selling features can be promoted on an automatic basis.

6) Create professional capture pages.

The “capture page” is also called the “landing page”, because it’s where your prospective customer first “lands” on the internet when searching for your keyword phrase. In this case, however, I’m using article marketing, so you would first land on my article or blog when you search for “starting a business for beginners”… And then, once you click on one of my links, that’s the landing page.

A good professional landing page has professionally worded “ad copy” (marketer’s lingo for compelling text that touches people emotionally.) It will sometimes also contain a short video.

“But wait a minute”, you say, “I thought this was supposed to tell me how starting a business for beginners could work for me… and this is a bit overwhelming”…

I know… don’t worry – no need to get overwhelmed…

Just remember that no one is born an expert internet marketer, and there’s always a learning curve. But once you commit to learning, there’s no greater reward than learning how to market online and helping others do the same! There’s even an internet marketing system out there that’s actually designed for starting a business for beginners!