Tired of Your J-O-B?
By Charles Hopkins
Published 04/20/2006 | Entrepreneur
If you're working a regular j-o-b and tired of the daily grind, you may be thinking how great it would be to have your own business and be your own boss. Or maybe you probably have ideas about how you could manage the job or department better. Soon you're thinking it would be great to start a business of your own and run it the way you like. It might surprise you to learn that thoughts like these are quite common.
Starting your own business is not easy no matter what you've heard. Some people are in the right place at the right time and the stars are aligned and suddenly, they're a success. Stop and think how many people you know that have been this lucky. It's very rare to succeed the first time and in fact, many wealthy people don't succeed until they've created or lost one, two or three businesses. The very reason they are a success in their own business is because of the failures they have had or great obstacles they have had to get past.
There are other people that have started their business only to find out later that it's actually worse than the j-o-b they had. This usually occurs when they have either failed to plan or have left out an integral part of the business plan. One of the most important steps in planning is your vision; not the vision of your success, but how you will get there.
For instance, it it's your dream to own a storefront, you'll have to consider the regular hours of the other stores in the location you're interested in. You'll have to be in your store, ready for customers usually six days a week, eight hours or more each day. If you're not open when regular foot traffic occurs, you'll lose money unless you find another way to bring in customers. And don't forget the extra hours you'll put in for bookkeeping, cleaning, organizing, etc., all time away from your family and friends.
Many people are giving up their j-o-b for the excitement of working from home, preferably in their pajamas. Usually, this involves doing business on the Internet or creating and selling services or products locally. Doing business in your neighborhood means you have to get to know a lot of people, either personally or through their business and related organizations. And doing business on the Internet is just another way of distributing your service or product.
To market your own service or product involves selling. Unless you're someone who could sell anything to anyone, you're going to need a lot of training and experience to make a sale. Even selling something you use and recommend yourself is quite difficult if you're not a social animal.
If you have an idea for a business that you run from your home, you'll have to consider the local zoning laws and association by-laws when applicable. Having employees arrive to your home could get you complaints from your neighbors or even worse, a violation when they call the city or the association to file a complaint.
Now let's think about when you'll make a profit. It takes time and money to establish a customer base and you will need enough money to support your business and yourself in the meantime. What will you do if it takes longer than you anticipated? Best to have a backup plan in case this were to occur.
If you're still interested in starting your own business, the key will be to know your target customer. Find out everything you can about them and make sure you are targeting them in your advertising and with the quality of your product or service.
If you're selling business-to-business, you will want to advertise in their publications, join the same organizations and generally hang in the same circle of business. If you're doing business with the public, direct your advertising efforts to local direct mail and neighborhood publications. People generally read local periodicals to know what's going on in their area. Writing an article for one of these publications is even better. And those direct mail coupons for residences are usually opened when received.
Running your own business is nothing like having a j-o-b with someone always assigning your next task or project. You will have to make those decisions yourself and make sure customer service is not affected along the way.
Once you have your business set up, it's going to take a lot of nurturing and long hours. Be ready for the day when you think all is lost and find a way to push through. If you don't push through these difficult periods, you will lose the business. For those having the ability to continue to push through, the rewards can be fulfilling and sometimes lead to surprising wealth