by: Nancy O’Neill
7 Basic Tips for Starting a Business

Our son, Jason, was just nine years old when he started his business, Pencil Bugs. It was a great learning experience for all of us and he had some amazing experiences along the way including publishing his first book. However, in 2011 at the ripe old age of sixteen, he decided he wanted to move on to other things so Pencil Bugs officially became extinct and he retired from his business.

Over the years, we have continued to receive emails from kids and parents wanting to know about entrepreneurship. Typical questions have been: How do I start? Where can I get help? How much money will I need? How do I decide what type of business to start?

Whether you’re a young child or an adult wanting to start a business, there are basic tips that every entrepreneur should know. However, this is certainly not an all-inclusive list.

  1. Write it down. As soon as you begin thinking about starting a business, keep a journal and write EVERYTHING down and date your entries. You may be need it to help prove that an idea was yours before someone else’s. Make sure the journal is a glue-bound type. If you use a 3-ring binder, for example, where pages can be added, who’s to say that you didn’t add in new pages after the fact to support your claim?
  2. Keep it simple. Sometimes the best ideas are those that make other people slap their forehead and say, “Why didn’t I think of that?”
  3. Find your passion. There are many opportunities for entrepreneurs so you might as well do something that interests you. People are usually more successful if they enjoy what they’re doing.
  4. Do your homework. Researching your potential business inside and out before you jump in with both feet is a lot like a school assignment. If you try to answer the questions at the end of the chapter before you read the text, you won’t have the whole picture.
  5. Do a market study. This doesn’t have to be complicated but before you decide on a business, it’s necessary to see if or what the competition is, who their market is, who you are trying to reach, etc. etc. etc. The more you know, the better your decision.
  6. Don’t overspend. Many businesses fail because they spent too much too soon. There are a lot of ways to be frugal, especially in the beginning. From free advertising and marketing strategies to angel investors, you don’t need to go broke trying to start your business.
  7. Have patience. While it may seem like someone hits it big with a product or service, success doesn’t happen overnight. It usually takes years to put all of the pieces in place. It’s okay to start out small and build sensibly as you go.

With Internet today, we all have unlimited resources at our fingertips. There are endless webinars, videos, and articles that can be accessed for free and much of that information is just as good as what you would have to pay for. Wherever you find your information, take time to learn from those who have been there, done that, but most importantly are still doing it successfully.

Entrepreneurship is growing strong as people want to have more control over their future and not rely on companies to give them a paycheck. The support and resources are out there for entrepreneurs but you need to take the first step and be willing to do what it takes to go from just an idea to turning it into a successful business.

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Nancy O’Neill is an entrepreneur, author, creative consultant, and owner of One Dot Enterprises.

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