~by Lizzie Weakley~
People start businesses for many reasons. Some want more time freedom and flexibility in their careers, while others use startups to bolster their retirement plans. Whatever your impetus for taking the entrepreneurial plunge, here are five keys to better ensure the success of your startup venture.
Have a Viable Concept
Start with a product or concept that’s in high demand with many potential customers. Everyone needs tires for cars, food, cell phones and insurance. Another workable concept is to solve a common problem with a service-related business. Working individuals or couples may need someone to take care of their pets, for example, which can include walking dogs, pet sitting or grooming the animals. If you choose to work a franchise business, go with an industry leader with strong brand recognition.
Write a Business Plan
Your business plan can better help with what you need to succeed. It enables you to determine how you will structure your business and how much you will allocate for advertising. The Small Business Administration (SBA) also recommends that you include a company description, primary benefits of your products or services and financial projections in your business plan.
Study Your Competition
Never start a business without first gauging the competition. Perform a SWOT analysis examining the strengths and weaknesses of your business versus key competitors. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Harness your strengths while minimizing your weaknesses with respect to the competition. For example, you may overcome the weakness of having a small product line by overemphasizing customer service. An opportunity may include new uses of your unique product, while strong financial backing of a larger business is a potential threat. To counteract this, for example, you may start a gym in a small city in which a larger competitor is not interested.
Get a Loan
Loans are often necessary to get your business over the hump as it grows. You may need to invest in office equipment or inventory that you cannot cover with personal assets. One such lending company is Loanbuilder.com. It can help you determine the loan amount that’s right for your business. This lending institution also provides business loan interest rates and payments that are easy to understand and predict. Other sources for loans include local banks and the SBA.
Track Advertising Results
Whether you’re promoting your business online or with print ads, always track the results. That way you can allocate more money toward ads that work and cut the ones that don’t. Using simple code words in ads is one way to track them.
Start implementing these strategies into your business and see for yourself how effective they are. You’ll be glad you did.
Meet the Author: Lizzie Weakley
Lizzie is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky, Snowball.
Connect with Lizzie:
- Twitter: @LizzieWeakley
- Facebook: facebook.com/lizzie.weakley