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Thread: Recommendations for New Business Owners

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    Default Recommendations for New Business Owners

    I still kick around the idea of going out on my own every once in a while.

    For those of you who have started your own business, what advice or recommendations would you give to someone just starting out? What would you tell him or her to do and what would you advise they avoid?

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    If you are thinking of starting the business from home, try and make sure that you have something that will get you out and about most days. Be it seeing clients, or meeting a friend for coffee even, it does not have to be something to do with the business. But it is the number one thing that i found was it really does become tedious and boring spending all of your time in your house. Even more so if by yourself all the time, while you may be on forums like this or talking to clients on the phone there is nothing like real contact with other people.

    The second thing is again if you are starting from home, don't let yourself start thinking that you work from home is any sort of road block. While there re the odd people that want to be able to visit your office, the far majority often are happy with you coming to them. You can mask your home phone number with either a second line, or a toll free number or combination. Additionally you can get a mail box for mail. Above this nobody would have any idea you are working from home unless you let them know, or Video phone's suddenly take over as the only way to make phone calls.
    Joel Brown
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    Joel, your first point is something I've thought about a lot. I do enjoy (most days) the social interaction of a workplace. I would have to find other ways to connect with people if I didn't work outside my house.

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    We could have a long list with this question, but let me start with this. We seem to be referring specifically to a home based business here, so you may want to start part time and work your way up.

    You also want to be sure that when you go full time, you have a minimum of 3-6 months income set aside. Business goes in cycles, especially in the beginning. You want to be absolutely sure you can survive with little or no income during the lean times. Keep in mind that you can be very busy with work, but waiting for the checks to arrive while being busy. When you use those reserves, make it a priority to replentish them ASAP so you're ready for the next lean season.

    This not only keeps you prepared for the lean times, there is a psychological benefit. It keeps your confidence higher so you won't take jobs just because you "need" to. I've learned that some clients just aren't a good fit, so you don't want to ever be desparate for work.
    Steve Chittenden

    Web design, graphic design, professional writing, and marketing.

    "Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat." -- Theodore Roosevelt

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    Yeah, having funds in reserve is a definite must for me. I don't need the stress of worrying about being able to pay the bills.

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    Let's see...

    Use a PO Box for mail, a separate phone number (either an additional land-line or a cell phone) for your business calls, have a fax machine, have high-speed internet, set-up a separate bank account, keep good records, advertise, get out everyday and interact with real live people you can see and touch. Whatever you do make sure you stay in budget. Oh and definitely have 3-6 months household expenses set aside when you go full-time (or another income you can live on...)

    Also do your homework, know who your competition is - both direct and indirect competition, know their prices, their advertising strategies and their market and find your niche. Then jump in with both feet and give it a minimum of a year to work. Two years is better - if you aren't making it at all at the end of a year quit, if you are but really need to be doing better give it another year before you quit.

    I've seen lots of new business owners loose more than just their business when their business failed - because they never took into consideration the fact that it just might not work. You need to have an exit plan and be willing to use it. Realizing that if your business fails it means that your business failed, not that you are a failure.

    OK, I'm sure there is more... but that's my experience and I'd better get off of here and get back to work...
    ~Jenn
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    Knowing when to get out is a good point. I know people who've practically lost everything because they didn't know when to say when. You have to know in your own mind when you're going to throw in the towel, and then you have to do it when you reach that point.

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    Everyone involved in this discussion already knows this, but for the benefit of other readers who may drop by, I will add this. Stay away form quick, easy Work At Home "oppotunities" that promise you'll make lots of money with little or no effort. If they're selling you an ebook that tells you everything you need to know to become the next Internet millionaire, it's pretty much guaranteed to be a scam.

    Like Blessed said, do your homework. Research, research, and then research some more. You'll discover either that you have a good opportunity, that it's not as good as you thought, or that it's a scam. You've got nothing to lose by going in well informed.
    Steve Chittenden

    Web design, graphic design, professional writing, and marketing.

    "Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat." -- Theodore Roosevelt

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    I'd second what you said Steve. Get rich quick doesn't generally make anyone anything but poor. Slow and steady wins the race and it can't hurt to take time to think things over.

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    I third that opinion Steve and Kristine. Maybe a quick piece to add about the funds you set aside is that it could be worth working out what it costs you to live for a month and then add a 20-25% premium on to that. The reasoning behind this is that whe you are spending more time at home while there is some things that you will save money on eg, travel to work(which may appear to be a saving but can cost something still visiting clients and such). There are some things that will end up costing you more money, such as heating(depending on where you live and the climate) more power running a computer all day rather then a couple of hours at night.

    This is probably more important if you are working on a minimum 3 month reserve, then something longer.
    Joel Brown
    My Travels

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