Eight great start-up essentials

(NNPA)—Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but this shouldn’t come as a surprise: brilliant inventions and good intentions are not enough to make you rich. The missing word is ACTION.

To that end, let me share my Great 8 Start-up Essentials:

1. An idea: It should be fleshed out because you’ve done the knowledge and have identified a potential market.


2. A business plan: Take this seriously, even if you don’t complete a model plan worthy of publication, and even if you don’t plan to raise capital outside your personal savings and access to funds. You need a business plan to clarify the vision you have for your idea, as well as for yourself.

3. Bookkeeping and accounting basics: Because you’ll likely have to wear a few hats in the first days of your business, you’ll have to get comfortable with some basic math to keep track of your business’s finances.

4. Me, myself, and I: Few businesses start out with a full staff. You will add people to your core workforce (which at the start may be just you), as you can afford them and as you require new sets of skills mastered by others. It’s important that when you do hire others, find highly motivated people who enjoy the dynamics of working for a small start-up business and who can perform their jobs well. Usually student interns with specific areas of specialization and work experience can be of great, inexpensive help.

5. Time management: This is another one of those easier-said-than-done tips. Some of us are better at managing our time than others. Regardless of which category you come under, it helps to chart out your tasks and check off your To-Dos on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Keep both a planning and an operation log.

6. Legal details: The entrepreneur has to be well-versed in local and state government rules and regulations governing small business concerns. This entails choosing the most appropriate legal form of doing business, such as being an “Inc,” fulfilling those requirements, and filing tax returns—both personal and business. Getting incorporated, for instance, is as easy as filling out a few forms and filing them with the appropriate government entity and paying a fee. Once you have your business incorporated, you can then set up a bank account in its name and begin to conduct business from the account. For more help in understanding your particular state’s rules, I recommend visiting your state’s main website (try www.yourstate.gov).

7. Customers and clients: These golden gems usually begin knocking on your door once you’ve done some savvy marketing and advertising. Plenty of marketing strategies are on the cheap these days through the Internet and old-fashioned methods of advertising (think flyers, word-of-mouth, community events, and the Yellow Pages). Promote your business through a website, which you can build yourself using any of the packages that typically come with setting up a domain name. When you establish an account at Yahoo! Business, for example, they offer a free down-loadable software program that guides you step by step through creating a website using whatever domain name you choose to have for you company.

8. Backup support: Okay, so when you start a business you are filled with excitement and energy. You are also probably experiencing some anxiety, fear, worry, hesitation, dread, panic, terror…. Need I continue? This is why it’s critical to have a strong support system on hand so you can talk out your biggest woes and keep your confidence in check. Most family members and friends can play this role, but be careful. Work on growing your support system, weeding out the toxic people when necessary, and don’t give up your affirmations. When faced with a serious decision lately and feeling weak in spirit to make the right one, someone said to me, “Be your authentic self.” That cleared the air up instantly. It’s now an affirmation I use to remind myself that I’ve got what it takes to succeed if I just listen to myself, stay positive, and go with my gut. Develop a circle of associates. You can all help each other find new, innovative insights for resolving problems. You’ll be surprised by what else you can get out of such a group. The exchange of information will further support your enthusiasm, strengthen new talents, and reinforce your determination to succeed.

(Dr. Farrah Gray is the author of “The Truth Shall Make You Rich: The New Road Map to Radical Prosperity,” “Get Real, Get Rich: Conquer the 7 Lies Blocking You from Success” and the international best-seller “Reallionaire: Nine Steps to Becoming Rich from the Inside Out.” He is chairman of the Farrah Gray Foundation. Dr. Gray can be reached via e-mail at fg@drfarrahgray.com or his website at www.drfarrahgray.com.)


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