Every business starts with an idea. Having a big business idea is great, but it's not enough. How do you make that idea a reality? Here are five simple tips to get you started:
- Get a business coach . I am taking better care of my health and getting into shape. What I've found is that even though I know what to do, I need a trainer to provide motivation, advice, and most importantly, accountability. It's the same when you're launching a business. Having a business coach can bring those same benefits, offering guidance when you either get off course or when you do not even know where the course is.
- Attend a workshop or class . Many universities have Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs). These SBDCs are funded by the Small Business Administration and offer classes throughout the year on how to start a business, business planning, and marketing ideas. Although they are not allowed to give advise on matters, it's a good starting place for the novice.
- Find a mentor . Most entrepreneurs are very open to helping others looking to start a business because they've been exactly where you are. But, if you do not know anyone you can ask for help, SCORE, which is another non-profit organization sponsored by the Small Business Administration, is there to help. SCORE is made up of retired entrepreneurs and business executives who are willing to serve as mentors.
- Consider partnership . I've found that a well-balanced partnership can be valuable especially in times when you're floundering or vacillating. When you're down, your partner can bring you up and vice versa. As in any "marriage" consider your partners character, values, and goals (both long-term and short-term) to make sure you two are headed in the same direction. Find someone who compliments you, not mirrors you. If you find someone who is just like you, they'll be weak in the same areas as you are. You'll find more benefit from having a partner who is strong where you are weak even if you do not like all the same things.
- Develop our entrepreneurial mind and spirit by reading business books . There are so many resources available now that's it's hard to know where to start. So I'd like to recommend you read these books to get a feel for the mindset you'll need to stay in the game: Rich Dad, Poor Dad and Rich Dad's Before You Quit Your Job by Robert Kiyosaki and The 100 Absolutely Unbreakable Laws of Business Success by Brian Tracy. For more practical application try these books: Start-up Nation: America's Leading Experts Reveal the Secrets to Building a Blockbuster Business by Jeff Sloan, Inc. Yourself, by Judith McQuown, and The ABCs of Writing Winning Business Plans by Garrett Sutton, and For cutting-edge marketing strategies and concepts these are must read: Meatball Sundae and The Purple Cow by Seth Godin, Guerilla Marketing and Guerilla Publicity by Jay Conrad Levinson, and The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Scott. If you're struggling with taking the plunge into entrepreneurship, read 48 Days to the Work You Love and No More Mondays by Dan Miller, Cure for the Common Life by Max Lucado, and the Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss