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How to Achieve Surefire Success as an Entrepreneur

Friday, October 31, 2008
By Anne Kramer

 So the business plan is written and the loan is in place. Are you really ready to start your own business? Before venturing out completely on your own, assess all your resources. When starting a business, it is easy to concentrate on the hard number, like budgeting and finances—and to forget that intangible resources are just as crucial to the success of any business. To make your business a success, make wise financial decisions and take advantage of personal resources.

Spend Wisely and Save Creatively

  • Overestimate how much money you’ll actually need. Be sure to factor in money not only for the business, but also to live on, since it may take months to start turning a profit. It is always easier to get the capital before launching the business than after, once you have potentially failed to meet projections.

  • Avoid credit card debt. When cash gets tight, it is tempting to pull out the plastic, but resist the urge at all costs. Instead, consider asking friends or family for a loan--but be sure to structure it like a real loan, with a payment plan and consequences for missing payments.

  • Understand that sometimes it pays to spend more up front, if it will save money in the long run. For instance, purchasing cheap, uncomfortable office furniture may seem preferable now, but in the long run, ergonomic furniture would be a wiser investment: employees will be healthier and happier, saving you money in lost days and workers’ compensation.
Invite Input from the Pros

  • Seek the advice of friends and family. Although too much input can be counterproductive, asking for guidance from the right friends and family can be invaluable. These people are invested in your success, and will most likely share their wisdom with enthusiasm. Furthermore, they will be more likely to share the mistakes they have made, to help you avoid making the same ones.

  • Recruit team members whose gifts complement your own. Match your own strong business acumen with someone’s great gift for sales pitches. If you simply cannot abide running employee training, seek out someone who lives to teach. The team you create can also provide critical insights as your business grows, so it is important to include them in brainstorming and problem-solving sessions.

  • Enlist the services of mentors and professional organizations. Often universities and college will offer continued support for students through their Business programs. Often local organizations will offer educational opportunities for those looking to start new businesses, and the Internet can also provide an invaluable source of information.

  • Remember that you are your own greatest resource; no one else is as vested as you are in the success of your business venture. Use past experiences to your advantage: What did previous employers do well, and how could this be adapted to fit your situation? Meanwhile, what would you do differently than previous employers?

Starting your own business can be equal parts daunting and rewarding. With careful financial planning and the willingness to seek assistance from others, anyone can successfully jump-start his or her career as an entrepreneur.

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