Planning Your Ideal Business – Introduction
Planning Takes Time and Effort
Planning your ideal business will take time and effort. You have taken some important first steps if you followed the instructions in the first section of this series. Hopefully, you have narrowed down your unique business idea and you are getting excited about all the possibilities.
If you’re currently employed, one of the first questions you may be asking yourself is…
Should I Quit My Day Job?
The most important thing to remember when embracing entrepreneurship is to avoid “all or nothing” thinking. Don’t assume your choice is to either quit your day job or stay there forever as you build your new business in painfully slow pieces.
There are always more choices than simply “either – or,” and it is important to consider every scenario. Then, when you make the final decision, follow your instincts combined with factual data that you gleaned from your research.
If you currently have a job, let that financial security work for you by taking the time to . . .
- Build up your online credibility and reputation.
- Iron out glitches in your process or products.
- Do test runs to a small, closed market first (e.g. your forum).
- If your business is going to be service-based, make sure you can handle one client before taking on six.
Make sure the job does not become an excuse for pottering rather than moving ahead with planning and developing your online business. This module should help you avoid that pitfall by helping you plan your business flow.
If you have the resources to take the plunge and serve notice, by all means – go for it. But, don’t quit just because you can’t take another minute of drudgery.
The one exception to this would be a toxic workplace. The sooner you leave a toxic, abusive workplace where you are not respected, the better! That type of environment drains your energy and creativity, plus it can be detrimental to your health.
Look for Support
Local government or business organizations may have start-up assistance, programs, and information for new entrepreneurs. Check your local employment office, small business development office, and your local reference library (as well as online, of course!)
AND, in the spirit of avoiding all-or-nothing thinking, do not assume that it has to be a choice between either quitting your job or staying and never starting your business. Consider a “third alternative” such as whether or not your boss or company may be amenable to cutting your hours to part time, or allow you to job share with someone on staff who wants more hours.
But I Need Money NOW!
There is the possibility that you are currently unemployed and desperate to make money now. . . you just lost your job… or, you are discovering that a retirement pension doesn’t cover your expenses when you still have two years left on your mortgage… or, you keep getting turned down for a disability pension but can’t leave your house… or, your entire professional skill set has just been made obsolete.
If you fall into any of those categories, you need to look for a business model that:
- You have already mastered the skills to perform… or one that you can learn quickly
- Generates immediate cash
For your first business it would be wise to avoid businesses that rely on niche blogging or affiliate marketing, which can be time-consuming and slow growing. (NOTE: If you have a day job that you plan to keep, a slow-growing affiliate model is ideal).
Look for a service business idea based on skills, strengths and assets you already have and offer your services – online.
- Virtual Assistant specialist in an area that is screaming for good ones (e.g., Shopping Cart Management, Autoresponder Management, Project Management.)
- Graphics creator (creating buttons, blog headers, contact form graphics, etc.)
And even if you’re not ready to properly launch your business, remember to browse directories such as Elance, oDesk and Guru.com for valuable clues regarding:
- What you can do
- What you should be doing
- What you need, in order to start up professionally and effectively
- How much people want to pay
- How much you can command with your level of skill and expertise
Keep in mind that the big, online job boards usually display the low end of the scale, when it comes to project postings. But they are a resource you can use to get started.
Another totally under-used resource for finding quality projects and clients is LinkedIn. If you have not already done so, sign up for this social network as soon as possible. Create a profile heavily threaded with keywords you want people to find (e.g., “shopping cart assistant” if you specialize in shopping cart set up).
Join LinkedIn groups containing potential clients. Upload a professional head shot, as well as a CV calculated to appeal to your potential clients. Avoid the mundane, repetitive, run-of-the-mill descriptors. Be creative and write to grab the attention of potential clients.
And . . . critically important . . . check your job recommendations daily.
Now it is time to get started planning your ideal business.
Read the entire series beginning with Section I: Building an Online Business.
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