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Starting a Business - Some initial Thoughts and Guidelines


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How to Start a Business

Assessing your own Abilities
Some Initial Thoughts about a Start-up
The Business Plan
Creating an Internet Presence

Different Forms of Incorporation and where you can Incorporate

Why you should Incorporate
The Advantages of Incorporation and The Forms of Incorporation

Where to Incorporate
The State Agencies

 The State Agencies for Incorporation

The Technical Business Skills and Tools

Accounting Systems Cash Management and Financial Analysis
Marketing Tools and Utilities for Business Ventures on and off the Internet
Making your Product known to the Public: Product Propagation and Public Relations 
Good Tools for Expanding your Internet Presence
Affiliate Marketing on the Internet: Tools and Information
Establishing sensible Internal Regulations and Company Policies

Some Ideas for New Business Ventures

Viable Business Opportunities
General Comments about Start-ups - Cleaning, Maintenance, Facilities Management, Organizing

More viable Business Ideas
Various Kinds of Business Consulting, Coaching, Mentoring - Sports, Personal Training and Lifestyle Consulting - Fitness Bootcamps

More good Business Ideas
The Bed and Breakfast Business - Debt/Credit Counselor and Financial Counselor - Certified Financial Planner

- Becoming an Image Consultant

Franchising Opportunities to become an Entrepreneur
How to evaluate a Franchise Opportunity. Some basic Rules.


Questions, Resources and Links

Frequently Asked Questions
Anything you want and need to know about starting a Business

Links to other Sites for Small Business Information
If you want to know how other people see the problems about starting a business look here at the sites where we have linked to forums and information sites

Resources for Starting your Business
This page is for the small things: Like where do I get a rubber stamp? Who sells good office furniture? Which computer is right for me?....and many more


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How to Start a successful Business

To start your own business, can be a rewarding experience in more ways than one. There is, hopefully, the financial reward. And then, there is the satisfaction that you have created something, that is all your own. Your ideas turned into reality. It is almost instant satisfaction!


Before you even start to get to this point, you have to go through some "brainstorming sessions". Maybe, you only do these with yourself so that you know what direction to take.

Here, are a few basic thoughts, from which you can expand your own thought process. They are not exhaustive, but, instead a sort of items "jogging your memory". Catalyst, to put you on the right path. These are some of the thoughts, which we found useful.

Begin your thought process with some questions you should ask yourself, before you start the Business Planning Process.

Some basic Questions about your intended Business Venture
Why do I want to start the Business and what are my goals? A list of why you want to start a business is an essential starting point. We think, this is one of the most fundamental question, to which an answer like "I want to get rich and retire when I am 30", is simply not sufficient! Your motivation or goal should have several levels. One might very well be a monetary one. But there should be more than that as the driving force to starting your venture.
How much time will I devote to my intended business venture? Part Time? Full Time? As much as it takes? Remember, whatever the "get quick rich people" say, there is a direct relationship between what you put into a business and what you will take out of it! It is one thing, if you want to start a business to fill your time in retirement, but it is quite another, if you want to us the foundation of your business venture as your future career.
How much money or other investment (facilities, equipment, free obtainable services etc.) can I put into the business? Again this refers to how much you can put into your venture in terms of substance, rather than individual effort. This will have a major impact, on how fast your business can grow.
Is there a Market for my services or products? Take an optimistic and a pessimistic view of the attractiveness of the product or service you offer and how the market place will be responding to you. What might look as a "golden goose" to you, might be perceived as an "old chicken" by others! Think about, how you will approach your market, not in great detail at this stage, but in a more general way, taking into account, what you have found out about yourself and your abilities in your self assessment.
What skills do you bring to the venture? Are all the needs for a smooth operation covered by your own skills or do you have to buy in services and support? It is utmost important to assess your own skills and how they relate to your intended venture. Be brutal about self assessment: We are not all the best! Consult your of your own strengths and weaknesses and how they relate to your business! If you lack a skill, you might have to buy it, by employing the appropriate person. If you know the person, it will be more helpful. Because hiring someone unknown to you is highly risky.
How quickly do I need money from the business to support myself or my family? This is a key question. Even if you have a brilliant product or service, if it takes ten years to develop or educate the market and you need money tomorrow, there is not much hope of success! You have to know at the start, how long your breeding space is and when the first "paycheck" has to come in, to keep your family and yourself afloat!

You can obviously lengthen the list with questions that are relevant to your particular circumstances. But once you have a satisfactory answer to these questions, you can start to plan and to get from the stage of an idea to the structures of a real business by establishing a written business plan.

Just one last word, when you try to start something yourself: Stay clear of the more lunatic schemes for quick money that are offered on the Internet and on TV (the classic saying on one of these advertisements is :"......I like the lifestyle.....and the money is good too......!"). As a general rule, money cannot be earned whilst you sleep! If it sounds to be too good, it usually is.

Even, if you do not need the money, losing it will create stress and saw discord in your family relationships. It is certainly the one thing you do not need, when you have the pressure of looking for a new source of income through your business venture.


Apart from self satisfaction, the main purpose of a good business opportunity has to be to make money in an agreeable environment. In addition, when you have a limited amount of of money, you can afford to invest, the risk associated with losing the money has to be relatively low. Now, whether you want to start a business on the internet or elsewhere, is, for the planing part of it, quite immaterial. Both areas of business require a lot of thought, and a lot of work.

Many people starting a business have an idea or a skill they want to sell. Making themselves and their specialty known, either regionally or nationwide is often a difficult and complex issue. Using the internet has the advantage that you have an almost instant business presence. However, that does not mean that your internet site is known and that people can find it, or that it appears in search engines. Despite claims to the contrary, usually, by guys wanting to sell you their "search engine expertise", it takes weeks and sometimes months, before you appear on search engines like Google, dmoz.org or Yahoo.

But, if the site is there, and you have a domain name for your business and good website hosting, you can always point clients to your site, when you talk with them and, naturally mention your site on your letterheads, flyers and business cards.

If you are looking for a business idea, you are naturally in a different boat. Having completed the self assessment, before you start planning is even more important, than when you already know, what you will be doing. You have to find an activity that matches your strengths and uses your skills to the best of your advantage. In making suggestions and selecting opportunities, we did not look at whether the business was something "hip" or "trendy". Instead, we concentrated on whether there was a reasonable chance to succeed, provided you put effort into building on an idea and, in creating a genuine income producing business from that idea.

If you are searching for a business opportunity, you have to evaluate your chances. We determined, that the key criteriae in your selection should be:

If you take someone else's idea, the opportunity has to have a purpose and has to be understandable (an amazing number of "so-called business opportunities" offered, simply cannot be duplicated, whatever its originator says)
You have to be able to build up a business and create a survivable income stream within a reasonable time. We have used the time frame of one year.
The entry costs have to be reasonably low, because, needing your income, you have limited resources to spend. Don't participate in risky schemes. The only winner on those, is the guy who sells it to you.

Your selected business opportunity

either has to be in a field in which you have intimate knowledge (for instance, consulting in a specific area), which you have acquired through the years you spent as an employee, through your hobbies or in some other association; or
The business does not require specific up-front knowledge, over and beyond common sense. In this latter case, you have to be able to acquire the knowledge for running the business as you build up the business.
There is a limited need, if any at all, to finance, purchase and keep inventory.

There are a number of possibilities, but the ones that appear to be the most promising sectors to enter, are either in the "selling advice" category.

providing some type of consultancy; or Motivational speaking
General coaching; Providing specific training in an area you have expertise;
Mentoring Teaching

Whatever euphemism you use to describe your future activity, it basically consists of activities telling someone, how to do things. For these types of businesses, an Internet presence is probably a good idea.

Other, quite lucrative possibilities, are offered by activities that require some initial physical effort, such as cleaning services, or organizing jobs, people and events. These activities can be home based, and some require good people skills. Others, such as house and office cleaning or are not very glamorous, but require tenacity, single mindedness and the ability to do tedious jobs.

Your basic criteria in the selection of an activity, is to make a solid good income with the prospects of making a substantial income within a relatively short time.

The Problem with selling Advice (Consultancy)

Some of the problems with selling advice is that, you need good sales skills to get the assignment and once you have sold the solution to the client, you then require the skills to bring about the solutions.

Those are quite different skills and you have to sort out the mental process, that is required to do this. Many consulting businesses fail, because their initiator did not clearly understand these two distinct aspects. Often, consultants are not good at selling the solution to the client. Or, they get into conflict with the client about the solution to the problem.

As stated above, for many business ideas an Internet presence will greatly help, even though, it will take time for your site to be registered with the search engines. But, if the site is there, and you have a domain name for your business, you can always point clients to your site, when you talk with them and through your letterheads, flyers and business cards. The Internet platform also gives you much more space and time to explain your capabilities, than during a short interview or phone conversation. The costs of creating an internet presence are quite low and the process of telling someone, an outsider, what you will do for him, is most likely a help for your own understanding and a clarification of what is required.

Apart from selling physical goods through services like eBay., the Internet is well suited for selling

knowledge based programs
businesses ideas which provide a service that sell, in one way or another, your specific skills or abilities; and
internet affiliate sites (i.e. selling someone else's products through your site).

The last one has recently become slightly tainted, because your success is, to a large extent, a function of someone else's, namely the original product providers, effort.

A small number of the products sold through affiliate networks, are of doubtful quality and you could spend a lot of effort "flogging a dead horse". This means that you have to be especially careful in selecting the products you sell. Unless you have top level products, trying to be successful with an affiliate marketing and sales site will be very hard and at the very best, it will only provide you with a very small and highly volatile income.

Establishing a Business Plan

Once you have established and selected the kind of business that fits your skills, personality and your resources, you can proceed to establishing a business plan.

Maybe, you think that creating a business plan is peripheral, since you are not going to attempt to raise money from a bank or from an investors or involve outsiders. We, on the other hand, think it is important that you give some thought, as to what your resources are, and what you want to achieve. The creation of a business plan will help you crystallize your own thoughts about what, and how to do things.

Most businesses fail, because the people behind them work unplanned, are disorganized, not very disciplined, work sloppily, without attention to detail, and have little persistence. A business plan, the footprint for your business, gives you some format, within which you can work and measure your progress. It will be an incentive to succeed and might increase your persistence. But if you are still not convinced, start without it and don't spend money on a tool or framework for a business plan! Your chances of succeeding though might be severely reduced. We have provided our own business plan blue print for free, but there are many other providers, for which you obviously pay.

Creating the Business Plan

Before you go to the next step, you might want to read the opinions of some other people. We have, on purpose not considered some of the more ridiculous claims people make, when they want to sell the book (i.e. "How to start a Business in ten Days and become a Millionaire in two Weeks", etc.).

There are a large numbers of books available, the four below we have looked at and, we think, they provide some insight that should help you.

Some Books about Starting a Business from amazon.com

Just one small word of advise: Try not to follow suggestions from friends on the golf course, who have friends (or friends of friends, or uncles of friends of friends), who have been very successful selling "green colored widgets with built in GPS's" and have ended up living the life of billionaires in St. Barth's or the French Riviera!

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