The Independent Youth Knowledge Center is a place that offers quick and easy business tips to young entrepreneurs. No matter what phase of the business process you are in, this information is intended to help you and your business grow and succeed. The business tips below include information about:
- Getting Your Business Started
- Business Strategy
- Financing Your Business
- Leadership & Management
LOOKING TO START A BUSINESS? THESE ARE TIPS TO GET YOU STARTED.
Starting a business can be scary and intimidating. It can be overwhelming and difficult to know where to begin. The list below outlines the "to-do's" of developing a business of your own.
1. Come up with an idea.
2. Evaluate your idea.
- Do your market research (Is there a market for my product/service?)
- Will this idea make a profit?
3. Create a business plan.
- Executive Summary
- Market Analysis
- Company Description
- Marketing Plan
- Management Team
- Financial Plan
4. Determine how to Finance your business.
- How much capital do you have? How much will you need?
- Investor funding
5. Choose a name for your business.
- Take the domain name (web address) into consideration
6. Decide your business structure.
- Sole proprietor
7. Obtain necessary licenses and permits.
- Research if additional licenses or permits are necessary
- Zoning laws
8. Build your product/service.
9. Bring your product/service to market.
- Who is the ultimate customer?
- How will the customer acquire the product/service? (Internet, Brick & Mortar Co.)
- Market and Brand your product/service
10 WAYS TO PUT YOUR BUSINESS ON TOP AND REMAIN THERE.
Regardless of the size of your company or the stage of development your company is in, there room for improvement. No business stands still. By following the tips below, you have already increased your chances of making your business a more successful one.
Create a Business Plan: A business plan is a road map for your business. It puts structure to your vision and plan when starting and running your business. Revisit your business plan every three months and adjust it when necessary.
Set Goals: Setting and objectives is a critical part of business success. By setting long-term and short-term goals, you are able to stay on track with your original plan. Write your goals down and read them often.
Stay Focused: Work on one idea at a time. When you are focused on many ideas, it is overwhelming, making it harder to achieve your end goal.
Be Knowledgeable of Best Practices: Don't waste your time or money by trying to reinvent the wheel. Learn your industries best practices to find out the best way to do certain things.
Keep your eye on the Trends: The world of business is ever-changing. Different events and issues can affect your business in a number of ways. By staying current with local, national, and global trends and issues, you are able to be proactive versus reactive when it comes to your business.
Network: Connecting with people is important. These connections can lead to business opportunities and potential business leads.
Branding is Key: Brand your business and create the image you want your company to have. Whether you have a large or small business, the way you brand yourself is the way other individuals and companies see you.
Marketing through Social Media: Use social media to market your business. This free non-traditional method of marketing allows you to reach a broad audience while gaining greater visibility of your product/service.
Maximize Sales through Improvement: Focusing on improving your sales can be the difference in the success of your company. Regardless of the product or service you are selling, it is important to remember there is always room for improvement in your sales.
Cash Flow is King: As a small business, cash flow is crucial. Make sure you monitor and manage your cash. It is important to bring in more money than you are putting out to prevent against finance problems.
5 STEPS TO GROWING YOUR BUSINESS.
There are several steps that you can take in order to get your business to the next level. Through a lot of hard work and the implementation of the tactics below, you will begin to see the difference.
- Get people talking about your product or service by generating buzz.
- Don't just tell your customers about your company. Sell the actual benefits of your product or service.
- As a business owner the amount of time you put into your business is key. It takes a lot of hard work and perseverance to get to where you want to be.
- Build and strengthen your business relationships along the way. You never know what doors that relationship could open for you and your business.
- Continue to build upon your company by reinvesting in it.
HOW TO DEVELOP YOUR COMPANY'S BRAND IN 4 EASY STEPS.
Branding is when an identity is created for a company, product or service through a name, term or symbol. A brand is important because it differentiates the company, product or service from its competitors. Building a brand for your company is crucial in building your business and delivering a clear message to your customers. Through proper branding, customers see your business as a credible one, resulting in increased business and customer loyalty. Below are the steps to developing your company's brand.
- Develop a mission statement that clearly describes your purpose and the value you provide to your customers.
- Create a strong logo and tagline that expresses who you are and what you do in a memorable way.
- Consistently use and present the image you have created for you company (name, logo, and tagline) in all marketing collateral and business materials (envelopes, business cards, stationary, packaging, etc.)
- Determine your company's competitive advantage (what makes you different/better than your competitors) and incorporate it into your marketing approach.
TECHNIQUES FOR SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS MARKETING.
Successful marketing techniques play a large role in the visibility of your company. The techniques below incorporate various parts of the marketing mix (product, price, place/distribution), promotion. Business can be further generated with the implementation of these effective business marketing techniques.
Distinguish Yourself from the Competition:
Determine what makes you different and unique from your competitors. Make your competitive advantage clear through your marketing to give prospective clients a reason to choose you over your competitors.
Provide Value Added Resources:
Offer your prospects and customers free educational information. The resources you provide help the customer and can also result in increased business and sales.
Continue to Add New Products/Services:
When you add new products or services to your business you are creating an opportunity to get new sales. New product and service offers help attract new customers and generate new sales. Be strategic on what new items you decide to offer. They should add value to your company's product/service line.
Stay Ahead of the Curve:
In business, you need to realize that change will happen. As a business owner the best thing to do is prepare for it. Stay aware of business and industry trends changes. This will enable you to plan for the change and evaluate certain aspects of your business before it happens.
QUICK AND EASY WAYS TO FINANCE YOUR START-UP.
Starting a business takes a lot of work. Figuring out how to finance your venture can be even more stressful. As a student it can be difficult to find easy ways to access funds to start your business. Below are a few easy and effective ways to getting your business underway without having to apply for a business loan or purchase items using credit cards.
If you have a part-time job or receive an allowance save your money and use it towards building and growing your business. Investing in yourself will be one of the most rewarding things you do for yourself.
Forward Profit Generation:
Every cent that you earn from the product and/or service sales you receive, put this money back into your business.
Family & Friends:
Often, your family and your friends is your biggest cheerleaders. They tend to believe in you and your ideas. Access this resource by sharing your business plan with these individuals. Many times your friends and family only require a higher level business plan and passion from you.
TRANSFORMING FROM A MANAGER INTO A LEADER.
Leadership is very important in a small business. The difference in a manager and a leader is monumental. While a manager directs and controls people and resources, a leader inspires people to follow, to be loyal, and to produce results. Learning and understanding the traits of an effective leader is powerful and can be the difference in your company being average or exceptional.
Have a Vision: Leaders have visions. Knowing what you want to accomplish and what you want your organization to become is an important part of being a great leader and building a successful business.
Create a Strategic Plan: Having a strategic plan is vital. A great leader always has one. A strategic plan is a road map to get to where you want to be. Having a focused plan helps a leader in carrying out their vision.
Show Passion: Passion is contagious. When discussing your company's vision let your passion shine through. If others see and feel your passion as the leader of the organization, they are more likely to trust and support your vision.
Remain Humble: As a leader, humility is essential in learning from the mistakes of yourself and others. Receiving feedback from others allows you to gain valuable insight while identifying areas in which you can work on to become an even better leader.
Be a Good Listener: Good leaders use active listening skills. Taking the time to listen to others shows your team members that their opinions and feeling do matter.
Show Appreciation: As a leader it is important to understand that the contribution from individuals on your team contribute to the company's achievements and success. By showing appreciation others see that you do not take their hard work and dedication for granted. Showing appreciation as a leader goes a long way. Employee motivation remains high and your team feels like a valuable part of the company, producing better results.
Take Responsibility: Being able to admit when something does not work as planned is a sign of a great leader. It shows your employees that you are human too and not afraid to show it.
Be Flexible & Adapt to Change: The business world is one that is ever-changing. As a leader, understanding the need to adapt to their surroundings along with the needs of the company is important in staying on top.
Additional Online Business Resources
Small Business Administration:
The U.S. Small Business Administration is a resource that provides information for small businesses, small business owners, and prospective business owners.
U.S. Small Business Administration - Teen Business:
The Small Business Administration Teen Business link provides helpful information to teens looking to start, run and grow a business.
IRS Small Business Center:
The IRS Small Business & Self-Employed Tax Center offers a variety of resources and informative information to small business owners and prospective business owners.
“Don't limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, remember, you can achieve.”– Mary K Ash, founder of Mary Kay cosmetics
“As long as you're going to be thinking anyway, think big.”– Donald Trump, real estate and entertainment mogul
“Success is often achieved by those who don't know that failure is inevitable.”– Coco Chanel, fashion designer
“An entrepreneur tends to bite off a little more than he can chew hoping he'll quickly learn how to chew it.”– Roy Ash, founder of Litton Industries
“You take on the responsibility for making your dream a reality.”– Les Brown, founder of best-selling author and motivational speaker
“The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something. It's as simple as that. A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today. The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer.”– Nolan Bushnell, founder of Chuck E. Cheese's
“Genius is 1% inspiration, and 99% perspiration.”– Thomas Edison, inventor and scientist
“Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won't, so that you can live the rest of your life like most people can't.”– Anonymous
“What I know is, is that if you do work that you love, and the work fulfills you, the rest will come.”– Oprah Winfrey, business mogul, talk show host and producer
“Don't be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.”– John D. Rockefeller, founder of Standard Oil Company
“I had to make my own living and my own opportunity! But I made it! Don't sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them!”– Madam C.J. Walker, creator of a popular line of African-American hair care products and America's first black female millionaire
“If you dream it, you can do it.”– Walt Disney, co-founder of The Walt Disney Company
“I think there is something more important than believing: Action! The world is full of dreamers. There aren't enough who will move ahead and take concrete steps to actualize their vision.”– W. Clement Stone, Businessman
“Capital isn't that important in business. Experience isn't that important. You can get both of these things. What is important is ideas.”– Harvey Firestone, founder of Firestone Tire & Rubber Co.
“You take on the responsibility for making your dream a reality.”– Les Brown, founder of best-selling author and motivational speaker
“Find your passion...then it is no longer work!”– L.A. Reid, co-founder of LaFace Records
“Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma- which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. everything else is secondary.”– Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple and Pixar
“The important this is not being afraid to take a chance. Remember, the greatest failure is to not try.”– Debbi Fields, founder of Mrs. Fields Cookies
“The best reason to start an organization is to make meaning; to create a product or service to make the world a better place.”– Guy Kawasaki, venture capitalist, CEO of Garage Technology Ventures