From the housemaid in a small Texas town near the Mexico border to the CEO of a multi million dollar corporation in the middle of Silicon Valley, all of us at one time or another has dreamed of opening our own business and making ourselves rich, rather than helping someone else get there. What’s great about today’s business climate is the relative ease with which young and old Americans alike, foreigners and natives, college educated and non, can start their own small businesses. If you’ve been dreaming of dropping out of the corporate grind, the minimum wage slavery, or just want to have more control over your destiny, read on for a look at how you too can become a sterling example of the American dream gone right.
You may be thinking: but I have no money. It takes money to start your own business. This is true, but seldom to people open their small business with their own money. Fortunately, we live in a country that encourages the entrepreneur, as long as he or she can demonstrate that they know what they’re doing. Banks are perhaps more eager to hand out small business loans than any other type. There are plenty of government agencies that can also be counted upon to give money to the aspiring small businessman. And then there are venture capitalists and angel investors who make their entire living putting money into startup companies in the calculated risk that they will see a positive return on their investment strategy. All you need is a great idea, a solid and complete business plan, and the type of personality that can convince those with money to hand it over.
If the business you’re planning to open is in the same field you’ve already been working in, you probably have a list of contacts already in the field. Now, there are ethical and legal considerations here. You can’t simply steal clients using inside information you have from working at another company. You can, however, use you contacts in the manufacturing and vending fields to help you get started. If you have personal relationships with your customers, there’s nothing wrong with letting them know you’ll soon be going into business for yourself. If they choose to give your company a shot, you should be in the clear. On the whole, however, it may be best not to go into direct competition with the company you’ve worked for. You can then use your coworkers and managers for help in getting off on the right foot. If your new business is at right angles with the company you’re leaving, you may be able to help each other.
Your next step is to research the marketplace. This should be done before anything else. You have to know what has worked in your chosen field and what hasn’t. What has been tried before and what might make a big splash in the industry. Don’t come to the dance with nothing new to offer. You can compete on prices, and you can compete on service. But the best form of competition comes in exciting innovation. Think of at least one great idea before you open your own business. Something no one else has tried. You will set yourself apart right from the start, and sometimes that’s all you need.