Are you ready to jump in the deep-end and start a business? Up until now, you’ve daydreamed about owning your own business, but maybe it’s time to get serious. You have finances and family behind you… besides, you’ve always thought you had what it took to grow a business. You’re ready to stretch your entrepreneurial wings, but what type of business best fits your goals?
Does Your Product Fit the Format?
There are multiple business model options to consider. Knowing what fits your product may be as important as the product itself, and understanding your unique position in the marketplace is critical. Will it be a minority or woman owned venture? Are you a veteran or a young entrepreneur? Is it a green business or a combination of all the above?
Types of Businesses
Home business or solopreneur — Can you work from home? Is there a comfortable work space that separates work from your personal life? How many visitors will you have? How will it affect your neighbors? What are the zoning regulations for your neighborhood? If the answers to these questions aren’t favorable, a home business may not be in your best interest. If it does look like a fit, here are a couple suggestions. Whether it’s a cell or a dedicated phone line, have a line primarily for the business, and answer it professionally. Collateral marketing materials like business cards, brochures, and one-pagers are your brick & mortar — don’t skimp.
Online business — This sounds easy, but there’s a lot to it if you want to stand out and be successful, like finding an available domain name that fits your company’s brand, marketing, and product. Selecting a host that fits your business needs and designing a website that works for you are integral. A strong marketing campaign can make or break an online business.
Independent contractor — This includes freelancers, consultants, and sub-contractors, which are paid by the job or contract. Independent contractors may be found in many disciplines — graphics art, web design, copy writing, business consulting, and construction trades, to name a few.
Franchise — These can be more expensive to establish, but less risky than other options. Franchisers offer business licensing of trademarked products and systems, and the best franchises have proven track records. They may offer training, product, marketing, site selection, and even financing.
Existing Business — Before investing in an existing business, do your research. How profitable is the business — and not gross receipts, but net profit? What are the accounts receivable, assets, and debt? Does the business fit your passions, experience, and skills? If you’ve never worked in a particular business, what makes you think you could manage one successfully? The cost of an existing business may be more than building one from the ground up, but the chance of failure is less.
Startup — Today, “startup” usually refers to tech and social platform business endeavors. They present opportunity with much risk, but a chance for quick growth and high return. Finance is traditionally through venture capital where investors weigh the risk against possible profit. A marketing plan may be the key to success or failure. Even the best product will only help those it reaches. Regardless of how great a product or service is, its success may rest on a marketing plan.
Not For profit — In a NFP , profits are put back into the organization or its services. Investors become donators, and many positions are filled with volunteers. Venture capital and traditional loans may be hard to come by, but government grants may be secured for those who qualify.
What niche or combination of business types best fits your vision, and how much exposure and risk are you comfortable with? Are you a small business owner? What’s worked best for you, and why?
If you’d like to learn more, the SBA (Small Business Administration) is a great resource.