Entrepreneurs – Want To Start A Business But Not Sure What Type?
Many entrepreneurs get that itch to start a new business, either because they are fed up being “wage slaves” or they like the freedom that working for yourself can bring. Some even think that they will be richer or have more spare time. Many are not sure what kind of business they want.
First of all – never start a new business because you want more money or more time. Starting a new business takes both lots of time and most, if not all, of your money.
Secondly don’t fall into the trap of starting a business just for the sake of it. Make sure that someone wants what you are aiming to sell! Your fruit cakes, tattoos or begonias may be the best in the area but if no one wants them – then you are going to be going bust very soon.
So how do you find out what kind of things you are going to sell?
1) Look at the type of area that you want to set up your business. A majority of aged clients is not going to be keen to have tattoos but might love your cakes!
2) Look at the other businesses selling in your area. Whilst it is sometimes good to group some businesses together such as car sales – make sure there is enough people left who may buy from you. Similarly if there is a successful company that is not coping – maybe you can inherit some of their clients?
3) Look for gaps in the market. Are their complimentary businesses close by who you can join in with to share customers? Is the market just crying out for a particular product of service.
4) Most importantly go and ask people. Give talks at clubs about your subject and see what kind of reception you get. Hold a competition for the best ideas etc.
Good luck in obtaining a firm foundation for your new business.
I believe the spiritual aspect of life, especially to entrepreneurs, is very important. While business may be the focal point for an entrepreneur's life, it's your outlook on life that shapes what kind of person you are.
Having a strong sense of self can benefit your business in many ways. The down periods and business 'tragedies' are not so bad for the entrepreneur that is spiritually centred. Don't take life too seriously is a phrase that every entrepreneur should take to heart and remember during the ups and downs of business.
I just finished reading a blog post from an entrepreneur friend of mine about meditation. My friend is meditating, and he's doing it a lot, which I find quite admirable. If he isn't careful he might give up business all together and follow the path of the monk searching for enlightenment, which may not be such a bad thing and perhaps even more rewarding than business ever could be.
I've attempted meditation for many reasons but more often as a method to deal with tough times in my life. I realise the need for meditation and spirituality during all times of life but as I'm sure many of you can identify with me when I say I don't look for help when times are great, I'm too busy revelling in the excitement.
As an entrepreneur I consider myself quite a creative person. I'm not gifted in art or music but certainly as a writer and business creator/manager I feel that I am definitely more bohemian than most. I think most entrepreneurs feel the same because we are not following the same path a lot of other people take when they work a normal job. Often the thought of a 'job' is not appealing and the prospect of working 9-5 for a salary is daunting. We take a risk by being different and expose ourselves to the often adverse opinions of those that believe we are making a mistake by not seeking a standard career. It takes a person of strong character and personal convictions to stand up to what can be a barrage of negative feedback from your peers and family.
I'm also more sensitive to my environment and the people around me. I live a controlled life and make sure that I eat well, sleep plenty and by choice I don't drink any alcohol. I have nothing against drinking (in moderation), it's just a choice I've made. I don't party hard on weekends, again by choice because I prefer to get a good nights sleep so I feel good during the day. Because of this I don't get sick too often (touch wood) and I feel at the top of my game everyday. I'm not saying do what I do, it's possible to party and drink and have a good time and be a very successful entrepreneur, just remember moderation and balance and your health should always be your primary concern.
A spiritually fulfilling life can be very rewarding. It provides a strong personal framework that offers stability during tough times and allows you to keep perspective when business is booming. It's not easy to be disciplined but as usual, for those that put the effort in the rewards are there.
How to Recognize, Learn from and Correct the Most Common Blunders
Does your business needs an outside accountant?
It all depends. If you require an audited or reviewed financial statement, then, yes, you need a CPA. In any event, it is always a good idea to maintain a relationship with an accountant no matter how small your business. Whether your accountant is a CPA is up to you. The real question is: To what extent do you need outside accounting services? That also depends on you and the nature of your business.
I always start with the admonition: The Buck Stops With You! You cannot afford to dissociate yourself from understanding the meaning of your financial statements. If you solely rely on your accounting staff or accountant for completely accurate financial data, then you are asking for trouble. If you are going to own or manage a business, then you have a responsibility to learn how to speak the language of business. The language of business is accounting knowledge.
How involved you become in the accounting process will be determined by time schedules, your mental pre-disposition, desire for control, cash flow, etc. One scenario, if you can afford it, is to hire an internal accounting staff to prepare financial statements on a monthly basis and have an external accountant check them over. Another common scenario is to prepare part of the compilation yourself, such as preparing a sales journal and a cash disbursements journal, and then hire an outside accountant to prepare a bank reconciliation and the financial statements for you. Some do this on a monthly basis, others quarterly. Some business owners do the books themselves all year and turn them over to the accountant at the end of the year to verify the balances and do the depreciation entry for tax purposes.
There are numerous ways to work with an accountant. Regardless, you should learn enough about accounting to be able to communicate intelligently with your accountant. Since you are intimately involved in your business you may recognize danger signals that not even your accountant will see.
Selecting an accountant
Relying on the yellow pages to find an accountant can be risky. The best way to find any professional is by a referral. However, you need to interview prospective accountants before signing on. One of the first priorities is to find out what their experience level is. Your business may have very specific accounting and tax issues that require a certain amount of expertise. Perhaps you have a manufacturing concern. What does the accountant know about raw materials, work-in-process, and finished goods inventory accounting? Does the accountant know how to set up job-costing and overhead burdens? Ask for references from other like-kind businesses.
Keep in mind, that you may go to an established firm with a good reputation, but with whom are you going to have a relationship? Is your account large enough to warrant a relationship with a partner? You need to feel confident with the person assigned to your account. Perhaps a smaller firm with four or five accountants who are all seasoned veterans might work better.
You will also want someone with whom you can relate. The ability to communicate is a crucial factor. Your accountant may be technically proficient but can you understand what he or she is telling you? Does he or she listen when you ask questions? Don’t be afraid to ask for someone else if you are having difficulty communicating.
Another important criterion is “accessibility”. Is your accountant too busy to talk to you? Can you get your questions answered within a reasonable period of time? Do you feel important to him or her? Situations may arise where you need information immediately to make an important business or tax decision, will your accountant respond quickly?
Last, but not least, are the accountant’s billing practices. Billing practices vary from firm to firm. Some firms are very aggressive and put tremendous pressure on staff and partners to bill every minute they can. Some firms require a review process before any work goes out the door. This means that every person who performs any work on your account, including the person who puts the stamp on your envelope, bills you for it.
Find out in advance what happens if you call the firm to ask a simple question that takes less than five minutes to answer. Are you billed for five minutes or are you billed in increments of fifteen minutes even though you only talked for five? Some firms justify this increment billing by explaining that you are paying for the accountant’s expertise that may have taken years to acquire, therefore, they say, it’s worth it.
Some accounting practitioners charge a flat rate for services rendered or a combination of flat services and hourly charges. For instance, an accountant might charge $200 a month to prepare a monthly financial statement but charge $100 an hour for special projects. Within the monthly fee, the client can call to ask questions that last fifteen minutes or less for no additional charge. This way the client is not reticent about calling. Getting your question answered may prevent little problems from later becoming bigger more expensive problems.
Very often projects take longer to complete than anticipated. Complications arise and the practitioner should be paid for his or her work. Always insist that, if there are going to be additional charges over and above what has been agreed upon, that the accountant gets your approval first. Be sure to clarify these procedures before engaging an accountant in an “engagement letter”. This is a document that spells out the responsibilities of both parties and how the relationship is going to work.
Remember, there is absolutely no reason to be intimidated by your accountant. After all, you are paying for the services, and I promise you, the accountant wants your business.
Making Money from the Inside Out
Are you intrigued by the possibility of being your own boss and starting a business but not sure you have the right qualifications to be an entrepreneur? What are the characteristics of an entrepreneur? Although there is no single perfect entrepreneurial profile, there are many characteristics that show up repeatedly in successful business owners.
Following are the top 10 essential entrepreneurial traits that anyone who is interested in starting a business must possess:
- (1) Independence - This is the most common denominator of all entrepreneurs. They want to seize control of their future; thus they decide to become their own boss instead of laboring under the gaze of a master. (2) Persistence and Determination - The world of entrepreneurship is fraught with both success and failure. An important quality of a successful entrepreneur is the doggedness to continue pursuing a goal despite some setbacks and obstacles they may encounter on the road. This persistence and determination is fueled by a burning desire to achieve the goal of succeeding in the chosen field of business. (3) Self-Confidence - Along with independence, an entrepreneur possesses self-confidence. They believe in their capabilities and makes sure that they will put in their best effort into their particular endeavors and likewise expect the best results from it. Belief in one's capabilities is very important in achieving any goal - especially in the world of entrepreneurship. (4) Creativity - In the business world, you can not afford to be complacent and uncreative unless you want the competition to move up on ahead of you. Creative people are naturally curious, inquisitive, bright and highly flexible when thinking. They keenly observe their environment and have an eye for spotting new trends that could spark a business opportunity. (5) Organized and goal-oriented - An entrepreneur knows the value of organization in a business endeavor. A good entrepreneur has the ability to consolidate resources. (6) Visionary - An entrepreneur has a vision for his/her future. (7) Risk-taking and Tolerance for Failure - A good entrepreneur realizes that loss and failure are inherent in any business endeavor. Thus, an entrepreneur must always be ready to make calculated risks and face whatever consequences accompany those risks. As in all fields of endeavor, the characteristic of a successful entrepreneur is in never giving up and in picking up the pieces and continuing the journey even if failure momentarily obstructs the way. (8) Perseverance and Hard Work - These are perhaps two of the most important entrepreneurial traits. (9) Commitment - An entrepreneur will not achieve success if he/she gives up at the first sign of trouble. (10) Honesty and Honor - Another very important mark of a good entrepreneur is being honest and honorable in all business dealings and interpersonal relationships - whether it is between business partners, employees, peers or investors.
If you possess these traits, you may have the necessary skill set to become a successful entrepreneur.
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