Veteran to Boss: Where to Start?
Posted by Joshua Kelly

Today, we are going to look at “Where to start?” when entering into business.  This is an issue that can lead many new people to quit because they have no idea how to move forward.

By far, one of the most important things to do before you start any business is to research your business idea.  See if someone is already doing something similar.  This can help you to determine both how profitable the business could be, and if there is any market interest in your idea.  Also this will allow you to get a feel for your customer base, and what type of customers you will be working with or seeking (better known as the demographics).

A lot of people skip this part of the business and move forward without the research.  But if you do, it can not only come back to hurt you, but you could also be far along in your business only to discover that you have wasted many hours on an idea that does not work.  Whereas, if you do the research first, you could stop a questionable idea at the beginning, and prevent subsequent losses from even taking place.

Next, write your business plan.  Write down what you want your business to do, how your business will get there, what type of financial gains you want to make with your business, where you want your business to be in one year, three years and beyond. Business plans are the backbone of your venture.  As there is so much to talk about when it comes to business plans, I will cover greater details in another article.

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Third, you need to establish funding.  Determine how much it will cost to get started.  Running a business is not always cheap.  You will have a lot of expenses from equipment, renting office space, your day-to-day operating costs, along with employee costs to name a few.  So it is very important that you sit down and figure out how much money you will need to get started.  You will also need to budget your annual personal finances separately to determine how much you will need for one year with minimal income coming in to your business.  We call this planning for the worst case scenario so that you are covered expense-wise and do not have to shut down soon after you open your business.

Sources of Financing

Next, you need to determine the source from which your money is coming.  Most people starting their very first business are not rich. This means you need to determine how will you get your financial backing, which can be tricky, especially when the economy is weak.  However, as a military veteran, there are plenty of options available to you.

The first place to look is the Small Business Administration.  Here you can go online or stop at your local chapter and get all the information with regards to what type of loans they offer and how much they will charge you in interest on your loan over time.  The next option is to head over to your bank, and ask about setting up a business account and applying for a startup business loan.  Again, make sure to read all the fine print so that you know what you are getting and not be surprised down the road.

Maybe you are starting a smaller business within your house, and your startup costs are very minimal.  In that case, you might be able to use your savings to get started.

However you go about getting your financial backing, just remember these key words: “start small”.  Many businesses fail for that reason.  They believe they can open the largest business and be profitable within 24 hours.  Just remember, that is not likely to happen.  “Start small” will allow you a better chance to succeed.

Just like the Military: Be Dedicated

Lastly, be dedicated to what you are doing.  Remember, starting a business takes a lot of work and a lot of determination.  Another good or bad thing to remember is that within the first three years of business, almost half of them fail. Be able to handle defeat and get back up and run again.  A business is only as successful as its owner, meaning that if you have big dreams for your business, be ready to dedicate the time and effort necessary to get there.

Best of luck on your adventures.

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