Top 7 Tips for the Budding Entrepreneur

Carolyn Barilla writes for AdvanceMe where you can get a business cash advance for your small business.

1.     Start with a plan.

You really can’t get your entrepreneurial masterpiece off the ground if you don’t have a solid business plan in place to start with.  In fact, you’ll need to do a lot of research before you even pen the plan.  Consider your niche, analyze the market, and try to determine a strategy to fit in before you ever put together a prospectus to show potential investors.

2.     Have a backup plan.

No matter how much forethought you put into setting up your business, there are going to be unforeseen roadblocks.  It is for this reason that it really pays to have a backup plan firmly established.  What if your funding falls through?  How about your chain of supply?  Are you prepared for quarterly taxes or potential lawsuits?  These are all possibilities you need to consider and plan for.  And don’t be afraid to employ flexibility.  The ability to change direction and deviate from your current course could save your business from failure.

3.     Ask for advice (then take it).

If you’re relatively new to a field, you could do worse than to listen to the sage wisdom of someone who’s been in the trenches (especially if you have questions, and you will).  Finding a mentor that’s worth his salt (and willing to help you) can be like uncovering the proverbial needle in the haystack, but it’s certainly a lot easier with the internet on your side.  Frequent forums and blogs related to your topic of interest and you’re bound to locate a suitable mentor.

4.     Overestimate cost.

The ability to combine knowledge and experience in order to forecast profits and expenditures will take you far.  The problem with speculating is that it’s an imprecise art that requires more information than you have available.  You simply can’t count on it beyond a certain point.  So rather than getting flooded on a rainy day, be prepared with an umbrella.  In other words, plan for the worst by keeping some money in reserve to bail you out.

5.     Underestimate productivity.

You want to believe that you can have your business in the red before the year is out, but for most enterprises, this is pretty unlikely.  You could be one of the handful of entrepreneurs who latches onto a trend (or better yet, sets it) and realizes a meteoric rise to success.  But they’re called the “lucky few” for a reason.  If you keep your expectations realistic, you’re a lot more likely to find yourself ahead of the game.

6.     Don’t hire your friends.

The right hire can make or break a budding business.  So don’t make the mistake of bringing your friends on board, even if they are great at what they do.  You’re going to have a very hard time changing the nature of your relationship from pleasure to business without someone taking umbrage, so keep your business and personal life separate when you hire (or risk losing a friend and an employee in one fell swoop).

7.     Avoid burning bridges.

This may be the most important rule of conducting business.  You will assuredly meet people and companies that you don’t want to work with for one reason or another.  But you need to keep in mind that all industries, to some extent, are insular.  In other words, people you don’t get along with are likely to work with those that you do.  So avoid engendering bad blood unless you want to ruin your rep.  There are bigger fish in the sea and they will eat you up if you don’t play nice.