7 Tips For Starting Your Own Business, According To Experts
More and more people, particularly Millennials, are starting their own companies these days. And if you're someone who wants to, you may be seeking advice for starting your own business, because the key is starting. In fact, America's Small Business Development Centers conducted a survey in 2017 of 1,011 U.S. adults from 21-to-65 starting their own businesses and what it takes for them to be an entrepreneur. And a "small business" was considered to be independently owned and operated, with less than 500 employees.
They found that 43 percent of millennial women think they could start a business within the next year if they had the right resources. What would that top resource be? If you guessed money, you're right. Sixty percent think that financial stability would be the top must-have to starting her own business. While 61 percent think working for someone else provides more job security than owning your own business, 26 percent plan to start a business within the next three years regardless.
"Whether you've been saving for a long time or recently decided you want a career change, starting a business is daunting," Tee Rowe, president and CEO of America's SBDC, tells Bustle. "It is so important to look to the right resources to get the help you need and to seek advice as much as possible. Many entrepreneurs don't know about the resources available, like their local Small Business Development Center, but knowing where to start is often the catalyst they need to get a business off the ground! Make sure you know about the resources available to you and take advantage of any and all advice you can get your hands on!"
All that said, here is even more advice to start your own business, because there's no time like now.
1. Start It Sooner Rather Than Later
How many people do you know who talk about doing something, yet never do it? We've all probably been guilty of this to an extent, but no one's going to create your business for you, so now's the time! Whether your passion is already your job, but you want to go out and do it on your own, or your side hustle turns into your full-time hustle, there's one key person that's stopping you — you.
"Just do it already," Kari DePhillips, fellow millennial and CEO of The Content Factory, a fully remote PR and content marketing firm, tells Bustle. "When I first had the idea and enough skills to start The Content Factory, I was 25. I didn't fully jump into it until 27, and those two years came at a huge opportunity cost. I've got a dozen employees now, and I can't help wondering if my company could be twice as big, had I committed earlier. The fact is, starting a business is stressful, challenging, and demands a lot of time and head space; it's like having a baby — it's almost never 'the right time' to do it. If you wait too long, the opportunity (and early/first-mover advantage) will slip away."
2. Don't Compare Yourself To Other Entrepreneurs
Yes, you may have had this business idea bouncing around in your head for months or years now, so finally deciding to do something about it can be scary. "Stay the course," Maggie Germano, a certified financial education instructor and financial coach for women, tells Bustle. "It's totally normal to be terrified when you're striking out on your own, but do your best to fight through that fear and keep going. Allow yourself to be where you are, rather than comparing yourself to other entrepreneurs who seem to be more successful than you are. You never know how hard they've already fought to be where they are, and maybe you could even learn from them!"
3. Do As Much Research As You Can
As Rowe mentions above, use all the resources you can when starting your own business, and also beforehand. "If you can, bootstrap it," DePhillips says. "Read books about starting and running successful businesses, too." They say "knowledge is power," and it's never been more true than now!
4. Network, And Talk To Others Who Have Done It
You probably hear it all the time, the importance of networking. And it's for good reason — it can mean the difference between getting that recommendation or client from somebody all because you spoke to them! Easy! And then, another time, you can repay the favor! "Take someone who inspires you out to coffee and ask for their advice on starting a business," Germano says. "We're stronger when we support each other."
5. Find A Mentor
While networking is critical to just about everything in life, including starting your own business, so, too, is finding a mentor. And not just any mentor, but the ~right mentor~. "Find a mentor in your field that you respect, or group of mentors, who can help coach you through things," DePhillips says. Having the right mentors is key, so keep searching until you find the one(s) who get you and are perfect for you.
6. Categorize Your Money
Of course, as Rowe mentions, starting your own company will take money. "Open a business bank account," Germano says. "It's so important to keep your business finances separate from your personal expenses. I also recommend opening at least one or two savings accounts so you can start setting aside money for taxes. You should also build up an emergency savings account for your business; make sure you always have enough in the account to cover your business expenses at any given time."
7. Register Your Business
No matter what kind of business you are starting, you want to make sure it is registered — and to you. "Starting a business is scary and sometimes very complicated," Germano says. "However, the initial, and very important, steps are fairly easy. For instance, make sure to register your business with your state government (which will include paying some fees, so save up!)."
All in all, remember that entrepreneurs were not born entrepreneurs — however, they made their entrepreneurial dreams come true. "Success isn't an accident — you have to make it happen on purpose," Carrie Green, founder of the Female Entrepreneur Association and international bestselling author of She Means Business: Turn Your Ideas into Reality and Become a Wildly Successful Entrepreneur, tells Bustle. "Success is not reserved for a special few. Anyone can be successful in their life and business if they get really clear and intentional on what they want to achieve. If you have a dream to start your own business, get started and don't let anyone tell you that you can't make it. As long as you have clarity around your mission and you stay consistent with it, you will grow. You can't not grow. Keep moving forward."
On that "keep moving forward" note, that's all anyone can do.