Thoughts on Starting a Business

There are certainly a lot of pros and cons to consider when deciding on whether to try to start a business.  It is hard enough to start a successful business at any time.  During the current economic environment, it is very difficult.

The good news is that we are living during this time when the web exists.  You can accomplish so much more now using the internet.  It actually gives the little guy a chance at competing.

If you are going to attempt to start a business, my recommendation is to start small.  The restaurant business is brutal.  Many other types of businesses are really tough to start, especially when you are competing against franchises.  Instead, you should look for small things where you can develop a niche.  It doesn't have to be completely unique, but it shouldn't be something really common either, otherwise it will be too hard to compete with existing businesses.

I don't recommend taking loans, but I never say never.  I'm sure there are quite a few business owners worth many millions of dollars who started out by taking a loan.  But you better be sure that it has a really good chance at succeeding.  For every one business that is worth millions, there are hundreds of businesses that failed.  In other words, the odds aren't good.  I don't say this to discourage people, but only to keep them from taking huge risks that are likely to fail.

If you are going to start a business, try doing it without hiring anyone.  Keep it simple, at least in the beginning.  Invest your time instead of your money.  Even if you have money to blow, you still need to invest the time.  You can spend a few bucks on a website and a few necessary tools to run your business.  But don't start spending thousands of dollars on something that hasn't even been tested.

Of course, it is best to spend time outside of your regular job in setting up a business.  Start it small and see if you can get it to be profitable.  You should only quit your day job if you can get your business to a point where it is making you as much money as your job, or at least something close.

There are a lot of things to think through when starting a business.  You need the right idea or product.  You need a way to market your product.  You need to attract customers and actually get them to buy.  In addition to all of this, you need to know some accounting and some basic business skills.  If you do a poor job at any one of these things, then your business will likely fail.

In conclusion, I think it is a good idea to attempt starting a business.  You should understand that most business attempts fail.  Therefore, you should start small.  You should not take out loans.  You should invest time and little money.  You should take small steps each day to work towards your goals.