Wednesday, June 5, 2013

How to Start Your Own Business

Most people who think about starting a business usually decide not to because they don’t have any money and they don’t know how to start a business. The good news is that you don’t really need a lot of money to start a small business, especially if you have the skills.

Great ideaYou may be struggling with how to start a business because you don’t have the resources. The truth is you don’t need a lot of money – if you’re resourceful. Here are several ways to start your own business without a lot of money:

Start with a great idea. How do you know it’s a good idea? Talk to your friends, family, and business associates. If most people think it’s a winner, then you can feel good about finding partners for your business. If you plan to go it alone, you’ll feel more confident if others think you have a great idea.

Research your market. First, keep in mind that any new business venture requires a solid bench of research behind it. This includes evaluating the marketplace, determining the need for your practice, and deciding whether you need to diversify your offering to stay competitive. For example, if you’re interested in starting a chiropractic business, could you add on yoga and relaxation classes to provide your clients with a full spectrum of holistic health services from one location?

Evaluate yourself. Are you ready to be an entrepreneur? You may have a passion for alternative health, but don’t forget that you must believe 100 percent in your product or service and be prepared to do much of the business heavy lifting, especially during the start-up phase. If you are not sure business ownership is for you quite yet, you might want to consider easing into the business some other way. 

Determine Skill Set/Gaps. Figure out what skills are required to run your business. Then, figure out what skills you have or plan to get via training. Then, find people who have the skills you don't have. Then, either subcontract to have specific work done; or, hire them to either train you or perform the work.

Also, figure out your strengths and weaknesses. If you like to write, make sure you leverage that skill. For example, if you like to write, you should consider writing a book to sell as one of your products. If you like to talk, then, you should consider get paid for speaking engagements or get recorded and produce a CD or DVD to sell as one of your products.

Decide on a Location. Many alternative health care practitioners run their businesses from their homes, an office, or a spa-like environment.
Research Certification and Training Requirements. Each practice area has its own certification and training programs. Research all the educational requirements that are required to secure any licenses and permits, including any type of certification and training that may be required. When building a staff, focus on hiring licensed employees with a proven track record of success.

Build buzz. When speaking in a public forum, do people get excited with what you have to say? If they do, they’ll tell others, and your story will spread throughout the community. Eventually, someone may ask you for your story for your local newspaper or magazine. (That's what happened to the author of "Death to Diabetes").

Establish credibility and trust. The biggest hurdle you must overcome is credibility and trust. You must convince the audience that you are credible and trustworthy. Share your story, use humor, and discuss your professional achievements so that people can see you as someone who’s had other successes.
(That's what the author of "Death to Diabetes" did).

Here's are some video clips of the author using humor and his coma story to establish credibility and trust with his audience:

Think partnership. Find a friend or relative (with money) who thinks like you and has similar ideas.
Business plan
Get help. If you need some help in your business but can't afford to hire employees consider asking family and friends to help you. Once your business is operating successfully though make sure you don't forget those that helped you out. You want to keep good karma especially when you’re a business owner.
Business plan. This is the biggest mistake that entrepreneurs make! You need to develop a business plan, especially if you plan to go to the bank for a small business loan. The initial business plan doesn't need to be extravagant -  a few pages should suffice at the beginning. At a minimum, you should define your overall mission and the products and services you plan to sell. If you need help with your plan, we can help you.
Equipment: Work with what you have. Don’t buy a brand new computer for your business. With the addition of a few hundred dollars worth of extra memory, your current computer system may be adequate. If you need a new computer, do your research before buying. There are a lot of good deals, especially on the TV shopping networks such as and  

Ideally, you should have a desktop computer with all the bells and whistles and software tools you need to run your business and develop your products. For a backup, a laptop or a storage device should be sufficient. 

Advertise your business. They only way anyone is going to know about your business is if your market it. Word or mouth is the oldest and still the best way of marketing a new or existing business. Also you can print out fliers and door hangers from your personal computer and printer. Eventually, you should develop a marketing plan. 

Get a website. Initially, in the short term, a website is not necessary. Think about all the small businesses that existed before the Internet! Many people make the mistake and throw together a website, which they equate to their business. Big mistake! Your website is not your business! It's a tool, just like your computer or your desk. 

A well-designed website can help you grow your business, but, most people don't really know what a well-designed website should look like! In most cases, people copy what other websites have done without thinking about the primary goals of their own website and how it supports their business plan -- another big mistake. Also, if you define and grow your business locally first, you'll have a better idea about the content of your website.  
If you don’t have the skills to design your own website, acquire the skills or find someone who can design your website. If you don’t have the skills and the time to design your own website, find someone who can design your website inexpensively and in a reasonable time.

Do your research and find a website host provider, where you can store your website for a monthly fee a little as $10 a month.

If you don’t have the money to pay the monthly fee to a website host provider, then, set up a free website. However, if you’re really serious about starting a real business, then, you should eventually save up the money so that you can pay a host provider. Why? Because the free websites are owned by the company that’s storing your website! You are not the owner! You can lose years of work if the free website provider decides to shut down. 

Note: If you don’t have the skills, the time or the money, you may not be ready to start your business. If you need help, contact our office. 

Get published. If you have a book, you should use it as a foundation to build your site. If you don't have a book, consider whether you should write a book -- especially if you like to write and you have a story to tell. 

Be aware of legal and financial concerns. One of the most common causes of failure of any businesses is under capitalization. In many cases, we believe business owners run into difficulty not because they may lack the budget required to run their business, but, because they start a business at a time when they need a certain level of income to survive. 

While it's great to start out with high expectations and enthusiasm, it's important to be realistic - most businesses will not produce a steady income for the first couple of years.

Additionally, in order to grow your business, you should plan on reinvesting any profit back into the business for at least a year or two. And, don’t forget to talk to your attorney and accountant concerning how to set up your business and the tax implications. 

Explore Your Financing Options. The SBA provides guides for loans and grants, which can help you determine your financial needs and explain the process of obtaining a small business loan.

Assess Your Insurance Needs. Every business is different and insurance needs vary greatly. To understand your needs, talk to an insurance agent or broker who is familiar with your business type. It’s likely you will need some form of general business insurance (to cover legal hassles due to accident, injuries, and claims of negligence) as well as commercial liability insurance (which protects your business against malpractice, errors, and negligence in provision of services to your customers).  You should also protect your business property with commercial property insurance. 

Get the Appropriate Licenses and Permits. All businesses, including home-based businesses, require appropriate permits and licenses. 

Be creative. Use your creativity to figure out how to advertise and grow your business.

With a strong idea, solid business plan and some courage, you can launch your business. Don't let a lack of money hold you back. Most businesses are launched with as little as $5,000. So, if you truly want to start a business, pay attention to these tips from people who built businesses with little or no cash. 

Note: If you want more details about starting a business and building a website, then, get the author's How to Start A Business ebook. 

Note: These are just a few ideas to get you started. There will be new ideas and new posts about this important topic in the future, so make sure that you subscribe to our Health Coaching Business Blog Feed.




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