Entrepreneur - do you have what it takes to do something different?
Credit: BigStockPhoto.com

New Year, New Business: Is 2011 Your Year for Entrepreneurship?

Entrepreneur - do you have what it takes to do something different?
Credit: BigStockPhoto.com

Who hasn’t dreamt at one time or another of being their own boss? You get to set your own schedule. You can make the rules. No one looks over your shoulder. You run the whole show! It’s an admirable goal and starting a business is a common New Year’s resolution. Do you think 2011 is your year to go out on your own as an entrepreneur?

Characteristics of Small Business Owners

How do you know if you’re cut out to be an entrepreneur? Here are some common characteristics of small business owners to give you something to think about.

  1. They are risk-takers.
  2. They are disciplined.
  3. They are confident, both in themselves and in what they’re selling.
  4. They are financially savvy (or at least financially competent).
  5. They are persistent and don’t give up easily.

Does that sound like you? Don’t worry if you don’t have all of these characteristics. Not all successful entrepreneurs do. But if you do, consider it an edge and a sign that you might have the kind of background and personality that lends itself well to successful entrepreneurship.

Essential Steps of Starting Your Own Business

If you’re sure that you’re cut out for running your own business, next you need to think about all of the work involved in the startup process. While it’s impossible for a single article to cover everything you need to know about starting a business (there are countless full books on the subject, and it varies depending on where you live and the kind of business you want to start), here are some of the basics. These are some essential steps to starting your own business that will get you moving in the right direction.

business planning
Business Planning is Essential to the Startup Process. - Credit: BigStockPhoto.com
  1. Come up with business ideas that you’re passionate enough about to pursue.
  2. Do basic market research to make sure a demand exists and the market isn’t oversaturated.
  3. Check with your state and / or local government to discover any regulations, fees, or registration requirements that might impact your new business.
  4. Decide on a name for your business and do a trademark search to make sure the name is available.
  5. Decide on a business format (sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, etc.) and officially register your business.
  6. Develop a business plan, including financial projections.
  7. Develop a marketing plan that will help you drive sales and get the word out.
  8. Use your business plan to help you secure business financing if necessary.
  9. Scout locations if you plan to run a traditional business, or prepare your home office if you want to launch a home business.
  10. Set up a Web presence for your new company as well as any other applicable marketing collateral (business cards, brochures, flyers, etc.).

Remember, this is just a small sampling of the steps you’ll need to take — and the hard work involved — to launch your own business. Knowing the work you’ll have to put in, do you still think 2011 is your year for starting a small business? If not, that’s okay. It just gives you more time to plan and think things over before you are ready. But if you think you’re up for it, there’s no better time to get started than right now!

Are you planning to launch a business in 2011? If so, what kind of business do you want to start? Will you pursue a freelance career? Set up a mom-and-pop shop in your local community? Launch a Web-based business? Leave a comment and tell us about your plans and what you’re looking forward to (or dreading) the most in the startup process.

Written by
Jennifer Mattern
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