So you wanna be an entrepreneur? Good. It can be the first step to making money or losing it. As an entrepreneur, tenacity is your greatest resource. Many don’t succeed at business, because they do not take it as seriously as a conventional career. In the United States, and in many countries, students are socialized to get a good education for becoming an “employee.” In college we are inundated with training to help us find our “dream job.”
And while there is nothing intrinsically wrong with that in theory, in practice it does not allow most to think beyond the confines of the standard career track. Small businesses create 60 percent of all jobs in the United Sates. A clear indicator that governments that want to create more jobs must create more small businesses. Instead, we have droves of people who are experts on bits and pieces of the business operation. We have human resources professionals, marketers, sales professionals, publicists, accountants, engineers and doctors that all know how to do some aspect of a business. As an entrepreneur you’ll need to know how to execute all parts of your business; and you’ll likely be in charge those departments until your business becomes profitable enough to hire help. So, in honor of Small Business Week that just passed, we will explore five resources for small businesses and new entrepreneurs.
Resource #1: The Business Plan – Winston Media Concepts
Making a business plan has two purposes. One, it helps you better understand your business/industry and two, it provides a tangible framework that allows others (especially lending institutions and investors) to be able to understand your ideas and purpose. Also, if you are approached by an investor, a good business plan can help you secure financial support. I have found, many businesses in developing economies do not have a business plans that can adequately convince potential investors—especially international investors. A good business plan can also help you figure out if you are going into the right market, selecting the right price for services and so much more. It is worth the investment. Learn More:
Resource #2: Government Regulations – Small Business Administration
Perhaps one of the most important parts of the entrepreneurial journey is regulation and policy. Planning includes not only deciding what to sell, how to sell it and how to fund it; but it also includes business structure. The Small Business Administration (SBA) is the best place to start if located in the United States. The SBA offers mentorship, classes, and small business loan opportunities. If you are outside of the U.S., reach out to your local government trade and commerce office to find out the details on organizing a business that benefits from government policy. Be persistent about getting the help
Resource #3: Legal Framework and Support – NOLO.COM
It’s great if you know a business law and policy attorney; but even if you don’t, you can hire one or find resources online. If you are in the U.S. or abroad, reach out to the attorney’s at NOLO.COM. They offer advice and free sample legal forms, contracts and learning materials to help you understand business law. Don’t underestimate what the world wide web has to offer in terms of law that applies to your industry or nation. You can also take a class at a local college or technical school–or even an online legal course in your area of interest. This can help you to better navigate your industry and write contracts and service agreements that support business goals.
Resource #4: Experiential Education – Mentoring, Internships, Volunteering and Work
The U.S. Small Business Administration offers mentoring programs for would-be business owners as well as walk-in clinics with professionals who can help move your business forward. However, volunteering or working for a few months at a small business can be just as useful. It will help you to get a birds-eye view of what it means to be an entrepreneur and the machinations involved.
Resource #5: Keeping the Books – Accounting Software
It’s hard to know the financial health of your business, if there is nothing to keep track of profits and losses. Creating such documents can be confusing or tedious if you are not an accountant. Luckily, the advances of modern technology have created numerous accounting software programs that can even be downloaded to mobile phones. In fact, templates from Microsoft Word or Excel can also be used to create bookkeeping that works.
Finally, remember most successful businesses are the results of several reincarnations of a litany of failed businesses ideas and companies. You may fail in your first attempt or you may soar. It doesn’t matter. The point is to keep going. Many entrepreneurs give up and never see their business become the multinational conglomerates like Dupont, Microsoft, Alphabet or Amazon. You mustn’t compare your losses with other people’s wins. You must be focused and dedicated to your vision.