According to statistics published by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), 79.9 percent of businesses started in 2014 survived until 2015, which is the highest share since 2005. Generally, 50 percent of businesses survive five years or longer and approximately one-third last 10 years or longer.
What do those survivors seem to know that the others don’t?
Here are a few questions to ask yourself before launching into Entrepreneurship:
Do you have a plan? Does it lay out what will be happening when, where, with whom, and why? And does it contain some idea of how many dollars will flow in and out? There are lots of good free business plan templates on the internet, so find one that suits you and get started. Lack of planning is one of the mains reasons businesses fail.
Are you starting for the right reasons? Getting rich quick and having lots of leisure time to spend the profits is a false hope. Starting a business can be a lot of work. Successful businesses are run by people who have a passion for what they are selling and are willing to do the work.
Do you have enough money to take you through the early days? You’ll need more than you plan for. A common complaint of new business owners is that they’re undercapitalized. Realize that revenues will come in slowly, but expenses will start right away. Plan for half the revenues in twice the time, and twice the expenses in half the time.
Who is your competition?What are their strengths and weaknesses? It is important to know the competition ahead of time so that you know how to differentiate yourself from them. What are they doing that you’re not? How can you create a reliable and stable customer base for your product?
Are you in the right location? This could be a physical location (a city, a neighborhood) or cyberspace (is your online presence easily found by your potential customers?). Where you place yourself will have major implications for a customer’s ability to access you and buy from you.
How will you develop your online presence? A website and a social media plan is a necessity in today’s economic climate. Over 88.5 percent of the U.S. population uses the internet on a regular basis, and that number will continue to climb. If you can’t be found in cyberspace, you will be losing business to those who can.
Are you determined to make this work despite the odds? You’ll need staying power to last through the slow and tough times. Find ways to recharge your batteries and refresh your sense of what’s possible. It’s worth it!
Celia Núñez is the Director of the Chemeketa Small Business Development Center.
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