3 Indispensable Things to Know When Starting a Business

I’ve been speaking to people, and I don’t know if it’s because we’re in the first quarter of a new year or if there’s more confidence in the economy, but I’ve realized that many more people are looking to start their own businesses. As a business owner and social entrepreneur, I think that’s a great thing.

I’m often asked about my thoughts about starting a new venture, and candidly, I love the adrenaline rush, vision driving and strategy development of a new business opportunity. If you’ve been thinking about beginning a new company, there’s no time like the present to start to get yourself into the entrepreneurial mindset to consider if it makes sense for you.

If I were speaking to someone right now starting off as a new business owner for the first time, there are three essential things I would suggest they keep in mind:

  • Do You Really Want to Be an Entrepreneur?

The first question is the toughest, but you’ve got to sit with it for a while. I’ve spoken to many people along the way who have started a business, and then have fallen flat on their face and returned to the safe embrace of a 9 to 5 job. Being a business owner is not as “glamorous” as it may appear.

Sure, you’ll have a flexible schedule (on occasion) and are the final decision maker on large and small decisions, but being an entrepreneur is not for everyone. The truth is you will never work as hard as you do than when you’re a business owner, particularly in the early years. Twelve hour plus days, including weekends, is not uncommon.

Being a business owner means it’s all on you. You may have other people working with you. You may be one of those leaders who allows his team of professionals to be the professionals they are, but as an entrepreneur, your responsibility is to understand every area of your business: sales, marketing, legal, finance and accounting, administrative, marketing, research and development, product development, etc. It takes a great deal of time to know all areas of your business and make sure they are working correctly. It’s an endless process.

  • Do You Really Want to go into Business with Your Friends and Family?

Many times, particularly with small businesses, you’ll have friends or family members decide to go into business together. It makes sense to want to go into business with people you know and trust, but do you want to do that? If there is anything that comes up your relationships can be affected.

A great scenario is this one: you’re working 12 hour days and doing great in your areas of responsibility. Your business partner, and good buddy, perhaps is not as hard working and as disciplined as you are and so resentment begins to build. That’s a recipe for conflict and the likelihood that your business will survive with internal friction exponentially decreases with the increase in tension.

Another possibility is that you don’t go into business with any friend or family as your partner, but perhaps you decide to hire that same good buddy to be one of your first employees because you trust him. Again, what happens if he’s not putting in the hours or work that you think is essential for business success? There have been countless examples of business owners who partnered or hired friends or family only to be in a situation where the business has suffered (as well as the relationship) because of anything from work styles to fraud. It’s very tough to separate your business from your relationships without potentially ruining them.

  • Decide if You’re the Cupcake Baker or the Business Owner

Many people have a passion for something in their lives, and that’s great. Perhaps they love making cupcakes, or they love music and want to sell instruments. Whatever is your passion or interest, if you have one, you will not be only doing that work. As the business owner, the most crucial part of your business is a vision, sales, etc. and the path the company as laid out in your business plan.

If you love painting and you decide to open up a paint shop, you will not be spending your day painting. You will spend your day selling paint, dealing with customers and managing the books. Same goes for cupcakes or even widgets. The business owner that wants to grow his or her company is not going to be baking cupcakes exclusively but also running the business.

If you’re looking to grow, you’ve got to focus on the total “business.” As a business owner, the cupcake making, painting, music or widget making will be only one element, but it’s certainly not the “business.” The business is the promotion of your product, the price point, finances, customers, cash register, accounts receivables and payables, and payroll, etc.

In conclusion, don’t get me wrong. For me, I wouldn’t change anything in the world for my life as an entrepreneur. I love being a business owner and digging into all elements of my companies and brands. It’s invigorating, exciting and no day is the same. Any business owner will tell you, however, that the points mentioned earlier are essential for seeing if the entrepreneurial path is genuinely what you want.

All the Ws of a Business Plan

A business plan is a written description of the future of your business and more importantly, how you are going to get there. It is a document that explains what you are going to do to make your company profitable and how you are going to achieve this. It defines both your business model and your strategies to make this business model work and more importantly profitable.

Normally when a business idea arises, you know what resources and capabilities you have at the start of your business and where you want to go in a certain period, usually in 3 or 5 years. But what is the way to reach that goal? Where to start? How to arouse investor interest? Even, how to get your business off the ground? Everything seems so easy when you have the great money winning idea and concept. It is how you are going to achieve these dreams and get enough money to keep the business going for many years to come.

Writing a business plan is to build a map that will guide you to where you start making money with your initial business idea. At is very basic structure, your business plan is a mixture of strategies and plans. It involves financials, marketing, staffing and products. Think of it as the foundation to your new business.

WHAT are the reasons that I might need one?
• To look for investors.
• To apply for a loan.
• To establish the viability of your business idea.
• To make improvements to your current business.
• To expand your current business.

All of these types have different emphasises and a different structure.

WHAT is a business plan?
It is a tool or document that describes a business opportunity or idea, the work team, the operational and marketing execution strategies, the business risks and the economic viability of your business. A well written document guides you to turn an idea into a viable business.

It can also be defined in another context in that the business plan becomes a fundamental tool within the analysis of a new business opportunity, a diversification plan, an internationalisation project, the acquisition of a company or an external business unit, or even the launch of a new product or service within the current business.

To summarise, both for the development or launch of a startup and for the analysis of new business investments, the business plan becomes an indispensable tool. So even though you have an established business, you will still need a business plan as you expand and improve that business.

A business plan is never finished and should be reviewed from time to time at least annually but certainly when large changes to an existing company are anticipated. This implies that every plan must adapt effectively and efficiently to the changes, helping the project to continue.

WHAT is the point of a business plan?
Many entrepreneurs think they only need a business plan when they are seeking investment or when the bank asks for one. However the act of business planning, when completed correctly, enables the entrepreneur to carry out an extensive market study that will provide the information required to design the best possible business model that will be both profitable and efficient.

Additionally, the business plan will develop the strategic measures for all functional areas that will enable them achieve the objectives for the new business.
Once written, the business plan will serve as an internal tool to assess the management of the company and its deviations from the planned scenario. Proposing, if necessary, adaptations to the agreed business model in order to obtain updated information for the daily management of the company. This will include preparation of the required changes and processes to bring the business back on track.

So lets dive into the concepts behind business planning a bit more.

The WHY of The Business Plan
• Why do you want your business plan?
• Why are you writing the plan now?

The WHAT of the Business Plan
• What is the purpose of developing a specific plan?
• In what period do you consider it possible to carry out your projects?
• What is your business model?
• What is your Value Proposition?
• What are your products or services to be offered?
• What positioning do you plan to develop to compete?
• What are your measurements of success?
• What markets do you plan to penetrate?
• What market percentage do you estimate to obtain?
• What margins do you consider possible?
• What income do you consider you will receive?
• What are the costs of expansion?
• What are the costs of obtaining new customers?
• What do you want to do with your business?
• What strategies do you want to undertake – financial, marketing and planning

The WHERE of the Business Activity
• Where will your products be sold from? Shop, office, website, social media, road side, party planning,
• Where are you based? Locally, centrally, virtually etc.
• Where are your products produced?
• Where are your distribution channels?
• Where are they going to be sold?
• Where is your market?
• Where will your staff need to be based?

The WHEN of your business planning activities
• When will you need to start your new activities?
• When will they end?
• When will your investor need to invest?
• When will your investor get their money back?
• When will you have enough staff to carry out your new changes?
• When will your products and services be available?
• When will your products need to be updated and/or improved?
• When is the best time to attract new customers?

WHO do you present your plan to?
• Bank for loan purposes and they will take a charge over a property usually.
• Investor to join your company as a shareholder.
• Angle Investor to join as a shareholder but also be involved in the running of your company.
• Management team so they know what is expected of them.
• Suppliers who will be offering credit.
• Director level hires so that they are encouraged to join your company.
• Believe it or not the entrepreneur should also refer back on a regular basis.

As you can see there are a lot of Ws involved with a business plan – the biggest W is why should you write a business plan and the answer is – because it is such a great business tool.

Get Business Cash Advance Loans Immediately

Getting a business cash advance is simple and easy for most small businesses, and even those who have poor credit scores. While this does not apply to bank loans, these are the requirements of private lenders, and private lenders are amongst the leading funders at this time.

Most business owners who are looking for funding and are unaware of the current requirements and developments of the financial sector, visit their local bank. This is the way people believe a loan is to be obtained, via the bank. However, banks are not very enthusiastic about funding small business, and as a result a whole new industry has cropped up to meet the demand.

Private lenders often fill the gap between businesses and banks. There is the very large segment of small businesses that are stuck in the middle, who don’t qualify for bank loans and yet require financing. Private lenders fill this gap providing many of them with the much required business cash advance in the USA.

The services provided by private lenders

The funding that private lenders provide is typically known as MCA or merchant cash advance loans. These kinds of loans are short term loans that are for a maximum duration of 12 months. The repayment options are easy and flexible, and small business owners can work with the funder to set the method that most suits their requirements.

The application process to apply for a business cash advance is simple and quick, with the private funder generally requiring basic information, and a lot less than those of banks. The basic information required by private lenders to provide an MCA are as mentioned here.

1. How old the business is

2. The gross monthly sale of the business

3. How much they require

4. Purpose of the funds i.e. working capital, business expansion, purchasing inventory, purchasing equipment etc.

5. If the business owner has other loans and if he or she is in bankruptcy.

These are some of the basic types of questions that a small business owner who is applying for an MCA would need to answer. The outstanding difference between an application for an MCA and bank loans is the fact that banks require detailed information related to financial statements. Private lenders basically need a broad picture of the ground realities of the business applying for the loan. Unlike banks all decisions are not based on the statements of the small business.

While banks and private lenders may have a different way of looking at things, private lenders do take care to ensure the ground realities of the small business are as they should be. Banks rely heavily on financial statements when reaching a conclusion related to funding a business.

Features of the MCA loan application process

While it is possible that you will be asked about your credit score even when you are going to apply for private funding. The credit score is not a determining factor for an MCA. These loans are unsecured loans and as a result collateral and security are not required as well.

When credit scores, collateral and securities are not holding back small businesses, the possibility of getting funded is a lot higher. These are the basic weak areas of most small businesses, which hamper their ability to get funded by in large. When these weak areas are removed from between a small business owner and the funding they seek, the process becomes a lot smoother for them.

Collateral is something that most small business owners find difficult to show. Typically, only with a private lender can a small business owner expect to receive a business cash advance with bad credit.

Another great feature is the fact that small business owners can receive the funding they require very quickly as well. The quickest a business owner can receive the money in their business account is 48 to 72 hours, from the time they submit a complete application. At the latest this time frame would be a week or two. Banks on the other hand are in no particular hurry to provide business funding, and a realistic time frame would be a couple of months to receive the money.