Deciding which small business to invest in is only part of the equation. The first and most important step is finding a business that’s right for your personality, which has a direct effect on your entrepreneur style and how successful you will be with your business.
Determining your entrepreneur style requires that you take an honest look at your business skills and motives for starting your business. For example, if you don’t like social settings and aren’t comfortable speaking with people, it’s not a good idea to invest in a company that requires constant face to face interaction with the buyer. Some companies to consider starting if you fall in this category may be housekeeping, commercial window washing, lawn care and even janitorial services.
If, on the other hand, you enjoy networking and speaking to others, direct sales (business to business or business to consumer) services may be best suited for you. In addition to your personality and entrepreneur style, there are several other areas to consider before starting your own business.
Ease of Entry – Industries and businesses vary in respect to the ease with which new competitors can enter. Some barriers of entry to consider would be over-saturation of businesses already offering the product you are looking to offer. Another main barrier to entry is cost. Will you have to save up or take out a serious loan before you know what type of profit to expect? What about cost of education or licenses? These are all serious questions to consider. That’s why some of the best small businesses don’t require much capital or experience and there is still ample growth in the industry for you and several other business owners. However, just because a good business doesn’t require much capital or experience to start doesn’t mean you will not have to eventually devote some time and capital developing your knowledge and experience in the field. To continue to grow and provide the best service, you will need to invest some of your profits back into the business and yourself.
Start-up Capital – Many small businesses call for thousands of dollars to get started. Many of us want a business to free up our time and bring in the necessary income to support our families. Businesses that require massive capital take much longer for the business owner to realize a return on income. They also require much more devotion of time away from family and other leisure activities. There are several small business owners with franchised restaurants and other business that did require a lot of capital that are now nicely reaping the benefits of all the hard work they put into it. However, many will also tell you that it came at a great price time with family, friends and sacrifice of self-development. What’s strange is these are the exact reasons why individuals start their own businesses.
Before starting your own business make sure to develop a well thought out business plan that outlines what you expect to gain from this business and what resources, including time, money, etc. you plan to use or will need to really make your business profitable and bring to you the free time and other benefits you desire.
Ability to Make Money when not Present – In order for you to own your business and it not own you, you must find a way to make sure that your actions can be replicated. Whether it’s an insurance agency, a flower shop or network marketing company, it’s very important that you be able to leave that business for a day or even a month and know that it’ll still run smoothly and make money for you.
To do this, it’s imperative to have a system in place that allows your business to continue without your presence. You can do this by hiring employees and developing that will enable your workers to become copy cats of what you do and bring to the business in regards to service and profits. All employees, through the resources they provide, should in some way bring value and profits to your business. If they do not, you should either train them or terminate their position.
One important thing to consider in order to encourage your employees to bring profit to the business would be to reward them with incentives for certain behaviors, like great customer service or specific sales results. Determine what type of incentives will motivate your employees and what type of actions you would like reward. Estimate, track and compare the cost of incentives, as well as the other expenses associated with hiring an employee, to the profits gained by the business from the employee.
Another option is to consider looking into a business that has a proven system for doing business and making money without the expense of hiring employees. In other words, find a business you can replicate or copy that uses an automated, electronic email or internet marketing campaign. Remember though that even though you may save by not hiring employees, you will more than likely have a higher marketing expense than other small businesses. If you’re not sure about the cost of this type of campaign, do a search on the internet to compare prices of companies that offer this type of service. If you chose this option, it’s good to have at least three different types of automated leads coming into your business. For example, take note of the monthly cost for postcard, survey or email marketing campaigns. This will give you an idea of what type of expenses to expect if you choose this route. No matter what you decide, make sure you have plan that will enable you to grow your business without tying you to the office or computer all day.
Businesses that keep giving through “Residuals”! – The very best businesses keep rewarding you with profits by either providing you with return business or residuals. Residual income is profits that keep paying you over and over at certain intervals as a result of the customer continuing to use your service or product. With many businesses, nothing further is needed by you other than a great product. The business keeps renewing because the customers value the product, need the product and can’t get better service, prices, etc. through any other company. Even though these business and services are definitely out there, I encourage you to always strive to provide superior service. If something in the market or industry changes, this ensures that the majority of your customers will continue to stay with your company not only because they value the product but also because they greatly value the service. With other businesses it’s a given that you’ll need to continually service your customers to keep the business and keep getting paid residuals. The key is in duplicating your work habits by either hiring an employee or having some type of system in place that provides service and products through an automated service.
The Product – First and foremost, the product(s) being sold have to be good stand-alone products. This means that the product could sell on its own because people actually need and desire this type of product. There are countless of network marketing and direct sales companies that are built only on the compensation plan or creating downlines, and not on the product itself. Run very fast from these types of companies. If the product or service is not valuable enough to sell on its own, you’re going to have a very difficult time building and growing that business.
Attitude – Finally, you have to be passionate about whatever you’re selling or doing. If you are, you’ll be more eager to share your business and service with others. You can not be successful if you do not have pride in what you’re offering. For this reason, choose a business which provides a service or product that helps others or brings joy in some way to their lives. I would personally like to thank all the pizza shops in Indianapolis. They bring so much joy to my life because nothing makes me happier than a good slice of pizza. Do you see where I’m going? Your idea or business doesn’t have to change the world but if there are people out there that you know would get value and joy out of whatever it is you’re offering, then that’s a big step.
To really choose a business that will be profitable, take a close look at what you’re getting into and what you may have to sacrifice for the business. Sometimes, the business you always dreamed that would free up your time and give you the life you always wanted, can actually rob you of the things you value most.