Starting a business

Easy Steps You Can Take Right Now to Prep for Small Business

Do you want to know how to open a small business? Perhaps you feel as if you’re not ready yet? If this is the case, what are some things you can do to prepare?

 

Now, outside of the time-intensive steps like getting an MBA, going through a QuickBooks certified accounting program, or getting marketing certifications galore, what are some easy things you can do in your daily life to prepare to start your own business?

 

A small business owner is forced to be a jack of all trades. So, the more you know beforehand, the easier it will be to start a small business when you take that step.

Accounting/finance

 

I know this one is scary for many of you. Maybe this is what keeps you from exploring options outside of your day job. However, as scary as this concept can be for new entrepreneurs, there’s no need to fear it.

 

Once you understand a couple of simple key concepts like “fixed” and “variable costs”, the rest is just pushing buttons. You can use small business companies like QuickBooks to do all your accounting for you, so it’s more about knowing the program than it is about being an accountant.

 

Practicing basic accounting in everyday life

 

Keeping this in mind, how do you practice practical accounting skills? It’s easy. Simply start by practicing some basic accounting in your own life. (Oh boy! are you ready?)

 

Practicing in this way can change your life while at the same time helping you prepare for starting a business. After all, at its core, business is about managing limited resources and having financials that allow you to look in on the health of your business. So, what better way to practice than by learning how to manage your own resources?

 

How can you learn to practice managing your own financials? There are some great free resources that are designed to help with exactly that. Plus, it’s quick and easy:

 

  • Download the Truebill (https://www.truebill.com/)
  • Connect your bank accounts and get in the habit of daily logging your transactions.
  • Phone bill drops in? Log it in as a utility expense.
  • Car insurance? That’s right, log it in as an insurance expense.
  • See financial data chart and manage finances accordingly.

 

At the end of the month, these pieces of data show up on a fancy graph so you can see how you spent your money that month. In fact, It’s almost the same exact process when logging business expenses in more expensive accounting software like QuickBooks.

 

That graph at the end of the month? Doesn’t it give you a different picture than what you thought? You had no idea you were spending $1000 a month on bar tabs, did you?

 

Well, guess what? You not only did some accounting this month, but you also did some financial analysis! (Look at you go!)

 

Yes, it is that easy to start practicing basic accounting. Want gold medal status? Take a QuickBooks class through QuickBooks. (https://quickbooks.intuit.com/)

Starting a business

Free Marketing

 

Do you have an Instagram? Or perhaps a Facebook? If you don’t, you should get one right now – I mean it. I am pretty much going to say that as a small business you must have it. Not only that but when you first start in business, it’s basically 100% free marketing!

 

Even if you don’t want to have an account about yourself, you can build one for something you’re interested in. What’s more, if it’s in line with the business you intend to get into someday, that’s even better!

 

For example, let’s say you have some great luck social media-wise and you build quite the following in matters relating to “great hikes of the northwest”.

 

You can use this marketing power later to promote your Seattle-based hiking boots company, for example.

 

Once you have your social media set up, start following companies and successful people within your field of interest.  Pay special attention to things like how they tag and what they post. Then, make it a goal of yours to post once a week. Create one or two well-thought-out posts, build them as if it was going to your real clientele.

 

There is a side benefit to this process.

 

Let’s say you get super into it… You start coming up with better and better ways to improve your posts. As you’re doing all of this, you’re developing new tools and knowledge to help you start your own business someday. Plus, you’ve also just learned a bit about market analysis!

 

Want gold medal status? Take a certificate course on online marketing or graphic design. Such as online marketing through Hubspot (https://www.hubspot.com/) (free) or Instagram marketing through Udemy (https://www.udemy.com/) (usually around $20).

 

Leadership and Business Culture Development

 

When thinking about great leaders, whom do you admire? What kind of business do you intend to run? To answer this question, we must start by analyzing ourselves. Consider what principles are most important to your life?

 

Most likely, these principles will become parts of your business culture without you being fully aware of them. If you start your own business with intention, you will be able to better manage your business culture and make hiring decisions around that.

 

However, this takes a lot of insight into who you are… What I mean is, don’t fool yourself or try to be something that goes against who you are. In other words, you’re always going to be you so you might as well learn how to manage like the best “you” possible.

 

If you have a hard time delegating or assigning tasks to others but you start emulating management styles from what you’ve read in books about Steve Jobs. How authentic will your management style really be?

 

Take a good, hard look at yourself and find successful people with similar qualities to study. How did they make it work? Be aware that this culture will run throughout a business as the circulatory system runs throughout your body. Nothing works without its proper order or system, and it can become a huge problem when it’s derailed.

 

Once you have a culture, own it and embrace it. Be aware of things that can upset it.

 

Other than reading about like-minded heroes, decide who you want to be in life and live that life daily, not just when it’s convenient. I promise you it will be a big part of your business culture someday.

 

Leadership and culture can be difficult to digest for someone just starting out in the small business world. They can be even harder to put into practice.

 

However, to really see growth, you should try to put yourself in high-stress scenarios to get used to acting well under pressure. This will also help you to hold on to your own principles.

These high-stress scenarios can be as simple as taking a class that is outside of your comfort zone – say, public speaking or going on an adventure you’re afraid of.

 

Last but not least, it’s a great idea to develop good habits for stress management – as a small business owner, you’re probably going to need it. For me, this is jiu-jitsu, kickboxing, and weightlifting but it can be anything from working out to drawing or playing an instrument. Business stress is heavy and you will need productive ways to deal with it. If your current stress depressors are not on-point, they will go overboard when the business stressors start rolling in.

 

You know what they say: There’s no growth in your comfort zone and there’s no comfort in the growth zone. What matters most, in the end, is how you walk through the fire!

 

 

Sales Principles and Business Integrity

 

No matter what business you’re in, they say you’re in sales. You are always selling something whether it be an idea, brand, or product.

 

Keeping this in mind, there are a few basic principles you should always remember when it comes to sales.

 

  • Never sell anything you don’t believe in.
  • Take a “consultive” approach, not a “sleazy furniture salesmen” hard sell approach.
  • Sell “value” and “feeling” – not “items”.
  • Sell benefits, not features: what is the feeling they want to have with this purchase? How will it benefit their lives? What can it DO for them?

 

So now the tangibles:

 

  • Always do what you say you’re going to do
  • Never open an email or text without the intent to respond. Always respond within moments of receiving it.
  • Always call people back.

 

You would be surprised to learn that a large percentage of businesses don’t pick up the phone or respond to emails. If they do, it’s usually several days afterward.

 

There is never a moment when a prospective client is more into your product than the moment they first try to contact you. Don’t let that excitement go to waste.

 

So how do you practice? Do this in your daily life. Make it a habit. Friend text you? Respond fast and always. Make it a part of who you are.

 

Of all the things on this list, I promise you these seemingly intuitive items will increase your chances of success. Seem easy? It is. But really trying to do this every day can be a challenge for some.

 

In general

 

Finally, there you have it – some easy and actionable things you can start doing right now to prepare for how to start a small business. Now you can start networking! But, where to start? It’s easy, If you want to get into the automotive world go to car shows, join car clubs, do your own car work, etc.

 

Beyond that, join almost any group – even if it isn’t related to your long-term business goals. For example, if you volunteer to help animals you’ll meet a bunch of great people while increasing the network you have for your small business. Maybe you’ll even meet the CPA your gonna need later on, or a great small business insurance guy who you can trust. Go on, get out into the world and meet people!

 

Starting a small business doesn’t have to be as hard as it appears to be. By following the basic steps outlined in this post, you can demystify the seemingly difficult task of starting and managing a successful small business and its culture.

What are some things you can practice before you take the plunge into business.

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