July 14, 2010

Are You Starting The Right Small Business? Part 1 of 3

"We believe that there is one economic lesson which our twentieth century experience has demonstrated conclusively-that America can no more survive and grow without big business than it can survive and grow without small business.... the two are interdependent.”
–Benjamin Franklin.

As readers defined their business goals in earlier discussions, it should have become clear to the reader what they intended to get out of starting a small business. Now figuring out what type of small business to start is the next key step. SBS business start-up rules 4-7 is geared toward helping you develop solid business ideas that can become small business opportunities.

Many entrepreneurs found inspiration for their small business by focusing on the businesses that were related to their hobbies. That is the focus of Business Rule#4. At the end of this blog you will have compiled a list of three potential small businesses that you can start.

Business Rule# 4- Value Your Skills & Experience
Completing business rules 1-3 not only allowed you to figure out if you were compatible with Entrepreneurship but it also helped you define your business goals. So now it's time to think what type of business you can start that will help you achieve these goals?  In order to figure out what type of small business you should start, first think about the businesses that you have some sort of experience or knowledge in. That is the easiest way to come up with several different business ideas. The below exercise is designed to help you come up with three business ideas that you can start a small business in. Even if you already have a business idea in mind, the exercise will help you clarify if your business idea is the right business for you.

Step 1: Draw a line down the middle of your paper.

Step 2: On the right side make a list that includes the following:
  •     Your business ideas
  •     Hobbies
  •     Volunteer work
  •     Special skills
  •     Talents
  •     Personal/job experience
All these different areas can be a possible inspiration for your business. Focusing on the subjects and topics that you are most familiar with will help you find a suitable business that you enjoy.  Many people think their love for photos could never turn into a lucrative business but in reality many small business started off as a hobby. It can be hard for some people to identify their hobbies as possible business ventures.

Step 3: On the left side, list all the different business you could start next to each entry. (I.e. if your hobby is making beautiful candles then consider becoming a candle maker. Other possible job options could be to teach others how to make candles or focusing on candle distribution.)

Another way to look at your list is to examine the on the job training that you received. It could possibly be that your job has been requiring you to master Microsoft Access to the point that you are now considered an expert. To you this seemed to be a useless skill that you have but in reality this newly gained knowledge could be a small business opportunity. This new experience can lead to a small business opportunity of creating Access databases for companies or you could even teach what you know about access. 

The point of the exercise is to get you to identify the things you enjoy or already an expert in and use that to turn into a small business. Through examination of your list of hobbies and experiences it gives you a broad option of businesses that you could start.

If you don’t have any experience or skills in the business you plan to start, does that mean you are going to fail?  No, that’s not what that means but what it does mean is that you may have to acquire additional cost to your overall budget in order to obtain the necessary skills. You can always outsource or hire someone to help you in the areas that you fail to excel in but that could also be an additional cost to the budget. If your hobby is collecting antique items and you decide to open an antique shop that would be a perfect match. However it is not a solid business idea to start an automotive shop but you know absolutely nothing about the automotive industry or cars. Having no knowledge or experience in the market you plan to enter doesn’t necessarily mean failure but it can seriously hinder you from a solid start.

Once you are finish with your list, it is now time to make a top 3 list of possible small business options. Make sure your 3 business ideas are ideas that you have some experience or knowledge in. If not, then make a separate list on how you plan to acquire the necessary tools needed to proceed with your business idea.

Are You Starting The Right Small Business?

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