I too was invited by Andrew to join this forum and offer information...thank you Andrew! I am humbled by your invitation.
So much valuable information has already been given...
Starting up a business begins with an idea, the desire to pursue a dream and strife to make it a reality. Do research, look at the big picture, decide to work hard and if you can take the pressures and - if you truly believe in yourself and what you can do - take the leap. You have to be a go getter and a strong person because there are highs and lows, good times and bad and you have to be able to get through all of it.
Ultimately your business structure, how you nuture it, and the dedication you put forth is going to either make or break your business.
I worked in the legal field for over 23 years as a legal assistant and loved it. I have always been a people person and always enjoyed helping others and, although many might not agree, the legal profession is a form of helping others. Between co-workers, clients, friends and family I saw a very important need in the world - work-life balance. Statistics show that Americans now work longer and harder than any nation. The advancement of technology means that work is no longer confined to the office. Companies expect dedication, hard work, long hours, do what whatever is necessary in order to prove you are a worthy employee - no matter the cost. And if it means less time meeting the responsibilities at home and less time for family, fun and leisure then you do it. Between work and home - "too much to do and not enough time" is not just a broken record, its a reality!
Before taking the plunge, I researched - lots and lots of it for about 6-8 months. I did my own market research per se - talking to anyone and everyone who would listen asking what would they do with more time. When I got their responses I asked them if help was out there, would they use it. The response was "YES!" I voice inside of me said I had found my calling but it was a big leap to take. I prayed very hard and one day, I got my answer. After 18 years at the same law firm, I tendered my resignation to start my business EK Errands Express, a personal assistant, errand & concierge service.
Many who start their own business no matter what industry you go into don't take think it through totally. They don't take into consideration all the necessary steps and requirements to be a legitimate, strong and respected business. Its not easy and its not cheap to start your own business no matter what industry you go into.
In my particular industry, newbies tend to think all they need to do is pass out business cards, distribute some flyers and the clients will come in leaps and bounds. Well, it doesn't work that way and 2 months after distributing their materials if their phone isn't ringing off the hook, they are disappointed. The reality of it is they'll be lucky to get a phone call in the first 6 months of business. Just like any business its a lot of long hard work and exercising great patience. Its like you're sitting on an egg waiting to hatch! Its stressful - but knowing the stress is your own is a big difference. My industry is ground breaking breaking and growing rapidly. Although balance between work and home is an increasing need, hiring someone to help is still considered a luxury and not a necessity. But as time becomes less, and responsibilities increase, the future is necessity. You must be able to pay your bills until the business gets going to where you're making a salary. (Health insurance is a killer!
Here are some basic necessities to starting just about any business:
Name your business
Office Location (be it a storefront or home)
County/City Zoning (if choosing to run a home based business)
Obtain necessary City/County Business Licenses
Consult with an attorney
Determine the proper Legal Structure of your business
Consult with an Accountant
Select a Bank for your business account & open it
Insurance for your business
Insurance for your automobile
Determine if Bonding is necessary
Decide whether you will hire employees PT, FT or use independent contractors
Set Prices & pricing structures
Find start up money for your business whether it be an investor or a loan
Have necessary contracts
Design brochures, flyers, ads - all the things that tell people about your business and the services you offer
Advertising (BOY this is not cheap either!
Join networking groups & chambers and other groups to help get your business name out there
Distribute information everywhere
Hand out business cards
Educate your public, determine the need and show the benefits of your business
lol, majority of all the above has to be done BEFORE you even hit the streets! As I said, its not easy starting your own business but if you have the drive, determination, strong will to work it and can hold out until its a success its the most rewarding and wonderful thing in the world! Sooner or later that egg has got to hatch - right?
When you believe in yourself, your business, and that what you are doing is truly what you want and love to do, it will show and others will see it. You will develop a reputation of dependability, reliability, trustworthiness and the public will see it. Then and only then will your customers come. You will never know how far you can fly, until you spread your wings!
And, just like in the movie Field of Dreams - if you build it, they will come! You just have to be able to wait it out!
Hope this help!
EK Errands Express
Shouldn't life be simple?