If you're considering taking the plunge into entrepreneurship and starting your own business, good for you! We applaud you. It isn't easy, but it can be incredibly rewarding. Here are some tips that we consider essential to getting started.
1. Do Your Research
Most importantly, ask yourself what problem you are solving that potential customers are willing to pay for. Then build your key messaging around that.
- What makes your business unique?
- Will people actually buy from you? Start selling before you start your business
2. Make a Plan
- Develop your key messages based on the problem you can solve, and your unique attributes
- Prepare a business plan and projections
— Have a good grasp on metrics associated with your business
- Know your competition and the market
— Focus on the customer and fully understand the market
- Understand your own strengths, skills, and time available
3. Earn While you Build
Can you start your business on the side while working as an employee for someone else?
- Keep your insurance benefits
- Build your reserves
- Require less funding from others
4. Don’t Do it Alone
An important step here is to understand the laws that apply to establishing your business, accounting, and taxes. And if you don't, work with people who do. It will save you time, heartache, and legal troubles down the road.
- Surround yourself with trustworthy advisors and mentors, not just your friends
— People you may need: banker, lawyer, accountant
— Consider free legal services through the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Law
- Explore & Utilize Your Local Resources
— Nebraska Business Development Center (NBDC)
— SCC Entrepreneurship Center
5. Plan Your Finances
- Personal savings
— Invest Nebraska
— Nebraska Angels
- Bank loan
- Nebraska Department of Economic Development
6. Have a Passion for What You're Doing
This could be the deciding factor when challenges arise. If you're not passionate about — and committed to — what you're doing, long-term success is highly unlikely.
7. Maintain Good Personal Credit History
- You'll get better rate and term options with a higher credit score
8. Set up Your Business Location
- Lease versus buy: weigh your options
- Co-working spaces
- Pop-up shops
- Generate income as soon as possible
- Don’t wait to get customers
10. Understand There are No Entitlements
- You'll have to work hard for all you achieve
- Being a small business owner is one of the hardest jobs around. Setting aside cash for a rainy day or being financially or mentally prepared to get away on vacation can be difficult — especially in the beginning.