Many people dream of opening their own business someday. The prospect of being your own boss, making your own hours, and setting only the sky as your limit for success is certainly very appealing. There are also plenty of ways to do this! Becoming a franchisor, joining a sales team to learn the ropes before managing your own small business, or becoming a seller of goods that you just believe in.
Nevertheless, it can also be a daunting endeavor. After all, if you go bust it’s all on you—there’s no boss to blame. If you’re a dreamer who wants to own a small business or a big corporation one day, there are a few things you should keep in mind before you start to look for new customers. These tips will pave your path to success.
Make a business plan.
Before you start your small business, make a plan for how you’re going to achieve whatever ambitious goals you’ve set forth for yourself. Decide what service or product you are passionate about providing, then write out in clear terms how you’re going to reach as many new customers as possible. Your business plan should include a budget, a marketing plan, and ideas for how to encourage and then mitigate growth. If you’re thinking of becoming a franchisee, take the franchise fee into consideration when planning your budget.
Unless you have sufficient startup capital to invest in your new endeavor, you’ll need this business plan to show to lenders who will want to know what they’re giving money to, whether it’s a bank loan or a private lender. Imagine yourself presenting this business plan to the lenders—are you proud of what you’re presenting? Remember, your new business is your baby, so treat every little part of the plan with care.
Get your credit in good shape.
If you’re planning on becoming a borrower in order to fund your business, you’ll need to work on a great credit score before you contact any potential lenders. Your credit score, along with the down payment you put on either a bank loan or a private loan, will dictate everything from your interest rate to how much your monthly payment ends up being. That’s why you want a solid credit history and a stellar credit score before even researching a lender to work with.
Loan applications can be a little overwhelming, but if you have everything lined up ahead of time you don’t need to worry about being rejected for a bank loan to fund your business. You want to make sure that potential lenders have no possible objections when considering offering you a loan.
Train your salespeople.
Once you’ve got your new business up and running, figured out the business plan, and ironed out your financing options, it’s time to think about a training program for your salespeople. Even if you have the best product in the world, your new business is only as good as your worst salesperson. That is to say, make sure all of your salespeople are excellent at selling and providing customer service, and you won’t have to look for new customers—they’ll come running to you. If you’re not sure where to find sales training ideas or what sales training topic is the most important to focus on, you should consider looking for advice with Selling Power.
You’ll find all kinds of sales coaching and sales training tips on their informative website. They’re a B2B (business to business) enterprise that works specifically on helping sales professionals do what they do best. Whether it’s finessing the basic behavior, even on busy days, or perfecting the art of the cold call your team members will definitely get the expertise that they need to be the best sellers out there. Don’t just manage your salespeople—help them excel.
Dress the part.
You want to be taken seriously, don’t you? Well, you can write your business plan and figure out your startup costs in your sweatpants, but once you’re in the office you’ll need business wear. Your salespeople want a sales manager that they can look up to. If you come in wearing basically plaid pajamas from the Gap, how can they trust that you’re putting an effort into sales training and developing the new business?
As a new business owner, buy yourself some new clothes to dress the part. It doesn’t have expensive, either. Even a couple of pairs of ankle pants for women, some killer accessories, and a classy white tee will do the trick to create an impressive silhouette that your sales professionals will be able to treat with respect. You’ll definitely be getting the cash value of your investment once you see how your team members look up to you.
Consider becoming a franchisee.
If you’re reading these tips and thinking about how much work starting a new business from scratch is, maybe you should go another route. If you want to be your own boss, but don’t want to take on all the risk that comes with being a small business owner, there are franchise opportunities out there that may be a good fit. Becoming a franchisee means that you run your own shop, the best way you know how, but you’re part of a larger corporate structure.
A new franchise owner is still independent (and still needs classy women’s pants!) but can avoid the headache of all the logistics and legal red-tape that comes with opening a new business. Also, there are lenders out there who specialize in franchise financing, so you may have an easier time obtaining startup funds as a franchisee than as an individual going for traditional bank loans. Make sure to get that personal credit history sorted out before talking to a lender about becoming a franchisee, but bear in mind that this may be an easier, and just as fulfilling, route to take. There are plenty of franchise opportunities for new franchisees across the U.S. that you can look into if you want to start a new business with fewer startup costs and a fruitful partnership with a larger business.
There are so many reasons to invest in a new business. Whether you want to live your dreams of independence, have a vision for how to manage a sales team full of sales professionals who love their job, to just want to switch up your career path, the first thing you should do is listen to your heart. Is it telling you that the nest next move is to invest in becoming a small business owner? Does it beat with a cha-ching of a cash register making sales? Do you smile when you see your team members acing their customer service on the busy days in your shop?
If this is truly your dream—figure out how to make it come true. Look into a loan program, find franchisor financing, get yourself good credit to lower your interest rate, buy some women’s ankle pants and a couple of blazers, and make a case study of all the small businesses around you. Whether you choose to set up your own business or get into the franchise industry, you’ll be on your way to success in no time with the right preparation.
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