Monday, June 16, 2008

Top 10 Tips for New Entrepreneurs

As most of you may know, I am the founder and CEO of both a nationwide tax resolution law firm, and a tax preparation franchise. I opened my law firm from a one-bedroom apartment and built it up into a large corporation that allowed me to also open the tax preparation franchise.

People always ask me what advice I would give to new entrepreneurs looking to achieve success. Although everyone is different, and every business will require it’s own plan, below are the top 10 tips I have found helpful in my entrepreneurial experiences.

1. Do something you are passionate about
When you are deciding on the type and style of business you aspire to run, make sure it is something you are truly passionate about. Starting up a company can require long hours, 7-day workweeks, and a ton of energy. If you are not passionate about it then you can lose your drive quickly.

2. Always be original
Do something that will set your business apart from the competitors. There is no use in competing against a well-established competitor with a carbon copy of their products or services. In order to get interest in your business you need to set it apart from the competition and offer additional benefits.

3. Prepare a business plan & write it down
Even if you do not plan to get a business loan, you should still prepare a well-written business plan. Think about it – would you want to invest your hard-earned money in a new company that does not even have a written business plan?

4. Triple your anticipated startup costs
One of the biggest problems new entrepreneurs encounter is not properly anticipating start-up costs. It can take weeks, even months to begin generating revenue and you need to make sure you have ample funds to establish your company.

5. Do not even think about profits
When you think about opening a business, do not even begin to think about profits. When you prepare your business plan you obviously want to create a structure that produces a profit, but it should not be the main reason you open a business. You need to focus on generating capital for your business, not adding money to your personal bank account.

6. Live & learn, live & lean
Everyone makes mistakes, but it is important turn these into opportunities to learn. Do not spend time being depressed because your business is slow to take off, or you lose your first major client. Learn your lesson and move on.

7. Set goals and work towards them
It is one of my strongest opinions that in order to achieve success you need to have goals. You need to look forward to the future, and envision where you want your business to be in 3, 5, or even 10 years. Then you will have something to work towards.

8. Build professional relationships
Networking with other business owners is important as it can help your form professional relationships that can generate business for both parties. These alliances, such as exchanges of work or services, client referral systems, etc., can be highly valuable to new business owners with a tight budget.

9. Get help from others
You cannot try to do everything on your own. There are only 24 hours in a day, and only so much work you can complete in that time. If you have too much business then you should consider hiring employees to help or seeking help from a professional service.

10. Continue to educate yourself
You can never know everything about running a business, so continually educate yourself by reading books or business blogs. You may even consider writing a blog of your own, as writing entries on topics you are not familiar with can present excellent learning opportunities.

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