So You Want to Start Your Own Business

Article excerpt

Starting a small business can be risky, but if you have the drive and determination and a good deal of common sense, you can fulfill your dream of "being your own boss." Have you heard the saying, "Businesses don't plan to fail, they fail to plan." According to the Small Business Administration, only 50% of small businesses survive their first year of operation and by the tenth year, between 80 and 90% have failed. Success depends on your awareness and knowledge of the basic requirements of starting and running a business. Begin by questioning yourself, do I have what it takes to start a business? What kind of business do I want to start and do I have relevant experience in that area? Education, research, and classroom training can help find these answers and lead you in the right direction to fulfill your dream. But to make that dream a reality, you must formulate a realistic path or road map for your business and write a business plan.

WHAT IS A BUSINESS PLAN AND WHY DO I NEED ONE?

A business plan is a blueprint and a valuable tool to help guide and manage your business toward success. The act of assembling a plan, including the thought you put into writing it, forces you to take an unbiased and analytical look at the entire business. The three main functions of a business plan are: to provide a communication tool that explains your ideas, research, financials, and plans to assist the entrepreneur with managing the business to provide a yardstick by which to measure progress and evaluate change

You will be able to identify areas of weakness and strength, pinpoint needs you might overlook, spot opportunities, and recognize early problems to help you formulate corrective actions. The secret of a successful business plan is to review it and keep information updated. Don't put it in the drawer and forget about it! According to well-known management consultant Peter Drucker, "What gets planned, gets done. …