Sunday, April 05, 2009

Top 10 Tips for Entrepreneurs to Start & Stay in Business

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Top 10 Tips for Entrepreneurs to Start and Stay in Business

Starting a new business is such an exciting time in life. You’ve got an idea for a product or service that you know will be a success. All you’ve to do is make it happen. Follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way to entrepreneurship.

1. Find your passion in life - Do some soul searching and make sure that the business you are about to begin is your true passion in life. Why venture into doing something “just because” – make it something you love to do.

2 . Research, research, research - Take the time to do your homework. Find out all that you can about your new business, starting a business, and what kind of competition is out there. Don’t rush in to anything. Your business will only succeed if you are filling a need or a void in the marketplace.

3. Develop a solid business plan - Whether or not you need financing for your business, you still need a business plan. Many people dread this process because they make it out to be a very daunting task. Daunting or not, it’s crucial to your success. A business plan, at minimum, should be an outline of your goals and objectives for the business – attainable and reasonable goals – both strategic and financial. It can be one page, it can be twenty pages – just be sure to do it. Putting the plans that are constantly floating around in your head down on paper will make you accountable. Visit your plan often and make the necessary changes to ensure your success.

4. Develop a solid marketing plan - The marketing plan is an essential part of your business planning. You need to research your competition, analyze your strengths and weaknesses, and identify the risks, opportunities and threats posed by both internal and external factors. In doing so you can easily determine a niche market, the best way to enter the market, and how to best turn your marketing efforts into revenue.

5. Create your USP - Your USP is your Unique Selling Proposition. This is what makes you stand out from the competition. Why should people buy your product or service over the competition? Do you offer the best price? Do you have a superior product? Do you offer the best customer service? Your niche coupled with your USP and a good marketing plan can quickly position you at the forefront of the marketplace – you’ll blow the competition away.

6. Establish your external support system - Starting a business on your own can be overwhelming. Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance when and where you need it. Draw on the resources closest to you such as family and friends. The Internet offers a number of opportunities to establish a system of peers including social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, etc., teleseminars, message boards, and discussion groups. Check out the various online and offline networking groups and associations. Chances are you have a local SBA office, Small Business Development Center, or SCORE office in your area that can be a great source of resources for starting and growing your business.

7. Communicate with your internal support system - Without the support of those closest to you – kids, spouses, moms, dads, significant others – it can be difficult to dedicate the necessary time and resources to developing your business. By communicating your plans, goals and objectives with your internal support system you better your chances of gaining their support and getting them behind your new venture. Keep the communication lines open so that they understand what you’re going through and let them know how they can best be of help to you.

8. Give it time - Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor will your business turn a profit in a day. It takes time to build a successful business. If the phone doesn’t ring today, it will tomorrow. The key is to be ready for when it does ring. Have all the proper systems in place; be prepared to spend a little money to make some money. If one marketing technique isn’t working, try another one until you achieve the results you desire.

9. Take it serious - If you want others to take your business seriously you have to take it serious yourself. You have to give it your all and apply yourself at all times. A successful business can’t be something that you just play around with or consider it a hobby – even the IRS won’t take you seriously.

10. Reward yourself - Be sure to reward yourself for all your successes no matter how big or how small. Sooner or later all of your efforts will begin to pay off. Be proud of yourself and do a little something special just for you – you deserve it!

Kelly Poelker and Diana Ennen are successful virtual assistants and co-authors of numerous books including Virtual Assistant: the Series, Become a Highly Successful, Sought After Virtual Assistant and accompanying Virtual Assistant the Series Workbook, Stop by for information on starting a VA business or contact authors at if you need a virtual assistant. Article is free to be reprinted as long as bio remains.

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