Sunday, January 24, 2010

Quick Tips and hints for Starting a Small Business

I haven't been able to blog for awhile due to the high volume of work I've taken on. But this is a new year and it's time to share! :)
This is just a very quick summary of what you need to do within your first month of starting a business.

In 2009, I started Heather O. Studio....of course I had no clue how or what to do. So I had to learn, study, focus, try, fail, and accomplish on my own.
Some quick background though, I'm an at home business, sole proprietorship, and freelancing/contracting so my situation maybe different from yours, but maybe not completely.

So I've got a few tips for some of you looking to start your own business.
First and foremost, find a mentor or business counselor/adviser! I found mine at a nearby community college. I was able to find out what type of business I needed to open, and what were my next steps.
Now these were business analysis counselors/advisers available for anyone! Best was free!!

Next tip, is to open up a business checking account. Make sure they are free of annual fees or dues. You're a new business, right now its about saving as much as you can all you can.
Also you want to separate your personal expenses from those of your business.
Be sure to start a profit-loss excel sheet or invest in Quicken (or similar software) and TurboTax (or similar software). This will make it so much easier by tax season.

Next up, have a business credit card or designate a credit card for your business only. Again this just helps keeps your expenses in order.

Now here comes the fun...maybe hard part. It's about marketing your company and gathering business. There's a lot of creative ways of doing so, but you need to have the basics. Identity packages are your standard business card, letterheads, envelopes, and some type of promotional material.
For example, when I had met up with my business adviser, I not only handed him a business card, but a bookmark (my company design) as well. This is a great way for people to remember you. And that's what it's about, standing out.

Another idea is to invest and stay involved with your community in some way.
I've invested my time and marketing into my local Chambers. This is has been a great way for me to gather potential clients, strategic alliances, and overall some really great friends.

Now it's time to learn how a business works. I'm actually studying for my MBA to grab hold of this (my art degree can only go so far). But there are tons of books, seminars, blogs, articles, and workshops for this. You don't need a degree, but overall basic education of how to interpret contracts, understand your finances, and complex business works. Makes sense right? Can't be a mechanic and have no clue how to take apart a machine!

My last quick ready for slow days and expensive purchases. It's natural to feel lost and confused, but if you keep I promise you will succeed.
At the beginning, I was worried I had invested in a fool-hearted dream, and I would have to admit to those who didn't believe in me I couldn't do it. Well my hard-work paid off!
I maybe a small business, but I am a successful one!

So don't give up and Good Luck! :)
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