13 Things You NEED To Know Before Starting Your Own Business

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Guest blogger Sarah Landrum of Punched Clocks is here to help you make your dreams come true. She’s awesome and entrepreneurial like that.

Owning a business is exciting! But before diving right in and starting your own business, you need to consider the following.

1. Choose a business name carefully. The name you choose will be the brand you establish. Think about it and do some research before you make a final decision. Make sure another business hasn’t used it, and make sure there isn’t a trademark on it either. You don’t want to start your business, have it be successful and then find out that someone else owns the name to it. Do your due diligence when it comes to a name, because sometimes it can be the most important (and most frustrating) part of starting a business at all.

2. Prep your patience. It takes most businesses five years to turn a profit. Do you have the time and money to get you through that period? It’s best to keep your day job or at least a part-time job if you don’t have the money saved. As you get started and get into your business, just remind yourself that it takes time to build it.

3. Know that you have to spend money to make money. You will have to spend some money to get your business started, and some businesses need more than others to get going. Try to raise enough money before you start, or you may end up at a standstill when you run out of it. That said, don’t overspend on things like tools, advertising, etc., but don’t underspend either. Research what your competitors are doing, and follow their lead. You will learn what else you need to do to get ahead of them after your business gets rolling.

4. Know how to sell. Your business cannot grow if you are unable to convince people they need your services and products. The ability to sell is one of the most important skills of business owners. If you don’t know how to sell, you may want to find a mentor or take courses.

5. Obtain necessary licenses. Check with your local government to find out what licenses and permits you need to operate your business. While you’re at it, find out about any fees you’ll need to pay for running your business. This will help you determine how much money you’ll need to start.

6. Check the laws. It’s good to speak to a lawyer about your business for guidance. They are able to give you advice on the legal planning involved in starting a business, and how can protect yourself from future lawsuits. There are so many legal aspects involved with starting a business that many are unaware of, so make sure you’re well-versed before you take the leap.

7. Understand that you’ll need help. It can be difficult to let go and allow other people help you run your business. You can’t do it all, though. This is especially true as your business grows. To help you prepare for this part of your business, decide early on what you are willing to delegate and what you’re not.

8. Know what kinds of people you want to hire. What kind of people do you want representing your business? Figuring this out can help you feel better about trusting others when it comes to growth. Think about character, skills and knowledge when trying to decide the type of people you want to lead.

9. Brace yourself for rejection. Running a business is not easy — you will face rejection and failure. They will make you successful, though. Learn from every defeat, and move on with the knowledge you gained from it.

10. Keep customers first. When you keep customers as priority, you will stay on track. It’s when you start focusing on the money you are raking in that things can fall apart. Always remember that you can’t do anything without customers, so be ready to do whatever it takes to get and keep them.

11. Never forget your bookkeeping! Bookkeeping can get out of hand quickly. Don’t let that happen, or you’ll feel like you’re in a nightmare. Write down everything and organize it. You will thank yourself when tax season comes along or when you need to figure out how much you’ve made and how much you’ve spent. If you don’t have the time to do it, hire someone.

12. Know you may be spread thin early on. You will feel like you’re being pulled in many different directions when running a business. It won’t be like that forever, so don’t worry. Just hang on and enjoy the rollercoaster ride.

13. Leave time to dream. You’re dreaming now about your business. As you get busier with it, you may run out of time to come up with new ideas. Don’t let that happen. Give yourself time to think, so you can shape your business into exactly what you want it to be.

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