Can you truly expect to complete a business plan for a real business in one hour? It’s not very likely. The author of One Hour Business Plan, John McAdam, admits that his book could easily have been called, “One Hour Business Plan Foundation.”
Whatever the title, I found it a terrific entrée into starting a business. The author challenges the reader to ponder answers to some very relevant questions. So, before you begin spending a great deal of time and money, why not give some thought about whether your business idea will meet an unfilled need, is it something the competition is already doing and doing well, just who is your target customer and last but not least, how much money will you make.
It could be an hour well-spent.
I came upon an article today on the website, .Inc that resonated with me. The article was 10 Great Habits of Charismatic People by Jeff Haden. Have you ever stopped to think about what it is about charismatic individuals that make them charismatic? Hmmm. Rather surprisingly, it’s not all about having good looks although being physically attractive certainly doesn’t hurt. In fact, you may find that good looking folks are not necessarily charismatic.
According to the referenced article, personality probably trumps good looks in the charisma department. Rather, charisma is about taking a keen interest in others. They are good listeners. They are not solely focused on themselves and tend to be humble. Above all, they like to make others feel good about themselves. In my opinion, the last bit is paramount.
How is this relevant to being a small business owner or someone pursuing a career? We all need to establish and build relationships to be successful. In business, it’s about focusing on the customer and being interested in his or her needs.
Similarly, whether you are looking for a job or you wish to be successful on a job, one needs to focus on building relationships. In the book, “I Got My Dream Job and So Can You”, the author, Peter Leibman says, “Stop Looking for Jobs and Focus on People”. This simple statement really clicked with me. I have long believed, in order to be successful on the job, the most important element is getting along with people (although you also have to know your stuff).
So, focus less on yourself and develop a greater interest in others!
Obtaining funds to start a business can be difficult. Lenders even with a guarantee from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), expect the borrower to bring sufficient capital to the table as well as quality assets as collateral.
Here and there, you hear about how people manage to start a business with nearly nothing and you wonder how they did it. You hear about people who max out all the credit cards, continually transfering balances one from card to another. And that’s a job, to manage that charade.
Recently, I was reading an article on SmartMoney.com about a startup business owner who was able to fund his new business with a 401(K) rollover. It’s a really clever strategy if you can pull it off. It’s known as a Rollover as Business Startup or ROBS.
You set up a corporation with a new 401K. Then, you roll the funds from your old account into the new one to purchase stock in the new company. Alas, you now have the cash to fund your new company. Got all that?
For more information, please see article, How to Fund a New Business with a 401(K) in the digital version of Smart Money.
I believe most people are finding the volume of information available in cyberspace to be overwhelming. Fortunately, information professionals figure out ways of sifting through it. Within our own specialty fields, we tend to establish a comfort level with a select number of sources. I am one of them.
Several online newspapers provide some very help guides and tips for small business owners. Luckily they tend to be fairly dynamic and therefore their offerings are always changing. From day to day, you never know what you will find, so it’s not a bad idea to breeze through them every so often.
One of my favorite sites happens to be the Wall Street Journal. They have a tab at the top, labeled, “Small Business.” On April 3rd, I found an article, entitled, “Getting Money Into the Hands of Small Businesses”. Karen Mills, chief of the US Small business Administration was interviewed by the WSJ staff. Then, on the 7th of April, I found an article about tapping retirement money to fund a business.
Another favorite of mine is ColoradoBiz. As the title suggests, this is a Colorado specific magazine for business although the articles tend to have a broader perspective. Gain some inspiration from reading success stories of local entrepreneurs. You will also find lots of tips and steps to improve your business.
The online version of Entrepreneur magazine offers something for everyone. If you are looking for basic start-up information, you will find everything from business ideas, to business plans and obtaining financing. Beyond the fundamentals, other content includes, home based businesses, franchises, technology, sales and marketing and more. You will also find similar offerings on Inc. magazine’s web site as well.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Being unemployed and having to look for a job in today’s economy, can be very discouraging. As a job seeker, it’s easy to feel like you have no control over your employment situation in a buyers’ market. The employer is certainly in the driver’s seat right now.
In an effort to regain some control of over one’s destiny, some job seekers are throwing in the towel and have given up looking for employment. Instead, they have decided to become entrepreneurs. Becoming an entrepreneur may not be right for everyone. You may end up exchanging one set of problems for others.
For anyone thinking about such an endeavor, it’s important to do a self-assessment. Do you have what it takes? Are you a self-starter? Can you work independently? Do you require structure? Do you have the stomach for the ups and downs? Lastly, how determined are you? Are you a risk taker?
The Wall Street Journal published an article on May 11th called, “Starting Over-As an Entrepreneur”. They included profiles of job seekers who chose to start their own businesses and what their experiences have been thus far.
To thine ownself be true. Do select something you can be passionate about and research your market thoroughly. Be sure to seek out expert advice.