Walking the Cat . . .

Because life's kinda like that . . .

Archive for August 2011

What You Need To Succeed . . .

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The decision to start your own business is only the first (half) step along one of the many paths to entrepreneurial success.  The second (half) step is to select the path — the kind of business — you intend to pursue.  It isn’t as simple as it sounds; you don’t just pick the first business that happens to pop into your head.  A little research is called for here; you don’t want to start a business you nothing (or next-to-nothing) about.  Your business should be something you know more than a little about, something you’re good at and something you enjoy doing (at least most of the time).   So, when considering what kind of business to start, don’t stray too far from your area of expertise.  One exception to this is the “hobby”.  There are a number of hobbies — beading, quilting, metal craft, etc. — which seem, at least on the surface, to naturally lend themselves to a business.  Not all hobbies lend themselves to business, not all hobbyists are suited to running a business.  If you pursue a hobby as a means of satisfying your unfulfilled “creative urges” or as means relieving the stress of your day-to-day job, you may want to rethink your “hobby-as-business” idea.  If your business takes off, the demands of the business side may cause you to resent having to neglect the creative side of the business; likewise, the stress of doing business may take “all the fun” out what was once an enjoyable pastime.  (In the case of the former, one solution could be to take on a partner; in the case of the latter, find a different business idea, one that utilizes the skills you use in your hobby, and keep the hobby as a stress reducer.)

The next step in the process is determining where your business will be located.  For the vast majority of newly minted entrepreneurs, home is the logical first choice of locations.  Once the exclusive domain of “crafters”, home has become the launching pad for such diverse businesses as engineers, interior designers, consultants of all stripes and even television and movie producers.  There’s literally no limit (within the bounds of local zoning laws) to the type of business that can be at least started at home.  There are a number of advantages to starting a business at home; the elimination of expenditures associated with renting or leasing a separate business location, transportation to and from said location, clothing costs (no need to maintain a closet full of suits or a “business appropriate” wardrobe) and, more importantly for those with small children, no (or substantially reduced) childcare costs (you are, after all, at home).

Regardless of what kind of business you choose, or where you choose to base it, there is one thing — one element — critical to its success.  Commitment.  Starting a business is not a “I’ll try it for a little while” kind of thing.  It requires a determined effort to launch, maintain and grow.  It requires doing whatever needs to be done to ensure its success.  It can’t be done “when I feel like it” or “when I get around to it”.  Business is a hard taskmaster.  Its demands are unceasing.  Its appetite insatiable. 

Having said all of this, there is really only one way to insure business success . . .

I wear this bracelet as a constant reminder of what it takes . . .

 P.S. you don’t have to actually die . . .but you should be willing to!

You Don’t Have To Be Competely Crazy . . .(just crazy enough)

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You’ve been out of work for months.  None of your resumes have garnered interviews (in fact, in most cases they haven’t even garnered a response) and your unemployment benefits aren’t stretching as far as you’d like.  Things haven’t gotten to the desperate stage yet, but they’re not far from it.  You decide there’s only one way out of this situation — you decide to start your own business.  That’s right, your own business.

Okay, the economy has pretty much tanked.  The recent debt crisis has scared the living hell out of nearly everybody (the Dow Jones dropped 500+ points last Thursday, wiping out whatever gains were made for the entire year).  You probably think this is not the best environment to consider starting a business, that you should wait a little longer for the economy to pick up a bit.  Truth is, there’s no perfect time to start a business.  Besides, you’ve been thinking about it for the past couple of years (at least!); always promising yourself you’d “give it a try” when you had more time.  Well, I hate to break it to ya, slick, but with the possible exception of retirement, when, exactly, do expect to have more time on your hands than right now?

I’m not suggesting you launch a leveraged buyout of your old firm, or cash in you 401K and challenge Microsaft and Apple.  What I’m suggesting is starting a “small business”, one you can handle, either on your own or with minimal help.  It’s not impossible and you don’t have to be completely crazy . . . just crazy enough!  Hell, you don’t even have to be smart!  “The world,” as the saying goes, “is run by “C” students.”   And, thanks to the Internet, even a “C” student can make a decent living with a good idea and the determination to see it succeed.

  There are literally thousands of websites “out there” with ideas and resources for starting a small business.   There’s bound to be something that strikes your fancy.  Or maybe you have an idea for a business that’s unique to your particular location; a little market research, scoping out the competition (if there is any) and formulating a business plan. . .  It’s not as crazy as it sounds.  Especially with the present economic “downturn”; companies are scaling back, the government is reducing (or eliminating funding), and someone with an idea for filling those gaps has a pretty good shot at making some serious money.

You don’t have to invest a ton of money (although having adequate cash-on-hand couldn’t hurt), you don’t need an MBA.  All you need is the determination to make your idea work.  But none of this will happen if you don’t start.  Stop dreaming about starting your own business and do it!  Like Woody Allen once said, “Ninety percent of success is showing up.”

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