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Starting a business is an exciting venture but it is easy to get overwhelmed with all the various tasks needed for the initial launch of the business. Underestimating the difficulty of starting a business is one of the biggest barriers faced by entrepreneurs.

Many people think that starting a business is easy. I know for a fact that it is far from easy.

Before starting out it is important to list your reasons for wanting to go into business. Having a mentor to help guide you through the steps to starting a business is invaluable. Every little bit of advice helps when you’re starting a business – provided it’s good advice.

Before you start your business you need to ask yourself some serious questions:

(1) Can I handle the difficulties and challenges that come with starting a business?
(2) Who is my audience/or business aimed at?
(3) Where is my business to be located?
(4) Am I starting full-time or part-time?

Starting a business requires determination, motivation, and knowledge. Starting a business can be a complicated and daunting experience. Not everyone has what it takes to be successful in business. A lot of people fail because they jumped into business without honestly appraising their lifestyle to know if it fits in with running a business. It could also be possible that they underestimated the amount of effort involved in starting or running a business.

It is very important to discuss your intention of starting a business with your close family (and friends). Many a relationship has been broken because the ‘other half’ could not understand why all the attention seemed to switch from them to starting and nurturing a new business. In my opinion close friends and family need to be put in the picture regarding what to expect when you’re starting a new business

Have you got a good business idea? You would think this an obvious question anyone thinking of starting a business will ask themselves this question. Many people seemingly run with the first business idea that comes to their mind. They seldom pause to investigate the viability of their business idea. A good business idea is one that meets a customer’s need, fills an empty niche, solves someone’s problem or answers someone’s question(s).

A good way to generate good business ideas is to look inwards. What do you enjoy doing? What hobby or hobbies do you regularly indulge in? This may hold the key to your business idea. Unless you are a serial entrepreneur with a proven track record you may struggle badly if you venture into a business you do not have background knowledge of or one without any bearings to your previous experience(s) in life.

Location, location, location. Except when setting up an online business, the location is of great importance for your new business. You need to think very carefully about the location of your business. The over-riding factor in deciding the location for your business should be customers. After all the whole point of starting a business is to serve customers (and also make money, of course). As such the business should be located where the customers are located. You also need to think about the amenities available in the area such as bus, tube, train etc.

Not everyone has the confidence to go full hog into business. You may decide to continue with your day job while building your business part-time. Although this may mean taking more time to build your business to its full potential it nevertheless reduces the risk of loss of income if you were to pack in your day job to concentrate solely on building your business.

Once you’ve answered the pertinent questions enumerated above you then need to add the necessary ingredient of a successful business namely: A Business Plan. Many people often skip this very important step, thinking they are saving time. In the long run it costs them time if not money as well. This, I believe, is because working through a business plan will tell you whether or not your idea for starting a business is viable. A business plan may also be necessary for securing funding. A business plan explains your business concept, highlights the details of your business and generally helps you focus the direction of your business, amongst other things. Not giving these factors proper consideration may cost you time and or money in the future.

A well prepared business plan can help you secure funding for your business. In that wise money/funding is not as important as putting together a good business plan for your proposed business.

If you are not experienced in writing a business plan you can get someone else to write it for you. A good place to look is elance website. You can also try ebay website. Another good source of help is friends and family. Inform your friends and family about your intention of starting a business and ask if they can or know anyone who can be of help in putting together a business plan.

Now you’ve decided on a business idea and you’ve put a business plan together, what next? You need to source the funding for your business. The following, not an exhaustive list by any means, are sources of funding you may consider:

(1) personal savings
(2) loans from friends and family
(3) loan from a bank/building society/other financial institution

Running your own business is one of the most rewarding but challenging things you can do.

Starting a business is an exciting and sometimes confusing endeavour. The toughest part of starting a business is, in fact, making a start – going from your passion to the reality of running a business that fulfils your hopes and aspirations. Starting a business is incredibly hard work. Starting a business is a big step and it takes planning.

If you are thinking of starting a business my advice to you is to go for it – it’s very rewarding to create something from nothing.

Remember: “The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing, and becomes nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn and feel and change and grow and love and live.” – Anon.

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