Starting a small business and becoming an entrepreneur may sound appealing to many, but it certainly isn’t for everyone. It takes passion and a drive to succeed. Opening your own small business can sometimes seem like an impossible task, which is why it is important to start off with some useful knowledge to help get you started.
Having over 4 decades of experience in business and a passion for mentoring, serial start-up entrepreneur Peter J. Burns III was able to offer some essential tips for starting a small business. “As a lifelong entrepreneur, I can tell you that there is no perfect formula or secret blueprint for starting your own business. However, it is important to have some useful start-up knowledge in your back pocket before you hit the ground running with your new business venture,” says Burns.
Conducting Market Research
Serial start-up entrepreneur Peter Burns stresses that, “The first step to starting your own business is of course, coming up with a great business idea; but first, you need to figure out if there is a need for it.”
Before putting the parts into place it is essential to conduct market research. This will give you an idea of whether or not there is a demand for your product or service, or if your idea can be turned into a viable business. “You always want to make sure that the
There are certain marketing research tactics that are easier to use for small businesses looking to get started, such as:
- Conducting online research
- Conducting surveys
- Asking your audience (conduct market research interviews)
- Researching competitors -looking at their strengths and weaknesses (online presence, marketing strategy, etc.)
A good place to start conducting marketing research would be gathering information on similar existing businesses as well as the potential consumers you will be targeting.
Making a Business Plan
Any entrepreneur will tell you that a business plan is one of the essential building blocks of starting your own business. According to expert entrepreneur Peter J. Burns, “A good business plan should list the key elements of your business, and lay the foundation for exactly how you intend to start, manage, and grow your new business”. They are useful for showing investors how you intend to make money and provide returns on their investment, as well as for convincing potential business partners why they should work with you.
When he was a freshman at the University of Virginia, Burns enrolled in an Entrepreneurship course typically reserved for seniors. The students were assigned with the task of coming up with a product or service and writing a business plan to put the idea into place. “My business idea focused on importing mopeds from Europe to the U.S., and renting them out to tourists around resort areas,” Burns explains.
At the conclusion of the course, Burns used his business plan to start the first moped rental business in the U.S., making $55,000 in 10 weeks. “Without the business plan I created in my Entrepreneurship class at UVa (with the help of some fellow classmates), I would not have had the tools to turn that idea into a reality”, says Burns.
Financing Your Small Business
Funding is the stumbling block of so many entrepreneurs. Without it, your new business idea has a significantly lower chance of getting off the ground and up and running.
It is important to be realistic and consider your own financial situation as well as the options around you, in order to decide the best way to go about funding your business. If funding your startup yourself is not an option, seeking out a loan or line of credit may be a good place to start. Unfortunately, applying and qualifying for a bank loan can be extremely tedious and difficult.
“This is why I started my own financial services firm, Burns Funding.” According to Burns, “Our mission is to provide funding for aspiring entrepreneurs to help get their businesses off the ground, without the hassle that goes along with applying for a bank loan or falling pressure to something even more risky, like taking out a home equity loan”.
Burns Funding uses a unique bridge funding process, providing access to more capital, at better rates for consumers, entrepreneurs, and business owners. They are also able to provide access to funding for those with low credit scores, by taking them through their credit repair process to help them qualify for more funding. Money Inc. published an article recently which describes the process in more detail here.
This is just one of the many options you can seek out in order to help cover the start-up costs of your small business. Once you acquire the capital to help your business take off- whether with the help of angel investors, friends or family, or loans, you will put in a much better position to start achieving your goals.