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Starting a business with plans to grow a company is not a cake walk. You must know every aspect of your business in detail, from marketing to operations to financial management. If you don’t, you will end up turning over critical tasks of your venture to an outsider who is far less interested in seeing your business thrive. Successful entrepreneurs have a driving thirst for learning all they need to know to reduce risk and increase their chance of great success. If you are serious about taking control of your work and financial future, it is critical to put in the time, effort and money to launch your startup the right way.

There are too many books, articles, and advertisements claiming that anyone can make millions doing nothing, knowing nothing, and paying (next to) nothing. So, thousands of Americans drop their hard-earned cash on MLMs and “work from home” programs that provide no legitimate opportunity to even recoup the purchase price. Serious about taking control of your work and financial future? Don’t waste your time and money on get-rich-quick schemes. Instead, start saving your pennies and prepare yourself to dive headfirst into the crazy, unpredictable, and enormously rewarding world of true entrepreneurship.

Start With an Idea (or Two)

Your first order of business is to come up with a viable business idea. Consider your skills and interests, and look to fill a need within your target market. Think through the business model that best fits your personality and goals. If you can’t imagine dealing with strangers all day, every day, then brick-and-mortar retail isn’t for you. If you don’t want to spend day after day in front of a computer screen, an online-only venture is not for you. Be realistic in your expectations and limits, and select a business idea that will hold your interest for years to come.

Plan Your Idea

Once you have a business idea or two in mind, the hard work begins. Thorough, detailed planning of every aspect of your startup is required if you want to succeed. You cannot leave critical tasks to someone else to handle — it is your business and you must understand every aspect from the beginning. As an entrepreneur, you fill the roles of accountant, lawyer, salesman, marketing department and secretary, and all other staff positions during the early stages, so you must gain sufficient knowledge of each area to make the best decisions.

Guard Against Failure

The failure rate of startup businesses is quite high overall, with about two-thirds of all new businesses expected to never turn an actual profit. The most common reasons for failure come down to one thing — lack of preparation. If you don’t develop a road map for your venture before you start, you won’t be able to make the right decisions to survive and thrive. If you ignore or overlook critical business management tasks because they don’t interest you, you will crash and burn. Entrepreneurship is about stretching your abilities, constantly expanding your skills, and becoming an expert at the business of your business.

Plan to Start Your Business Right

If you are planning to start a business, plan to start it right. Find and use the best tools to turn your idea into a plan, and then put your plan into action. Set realistic expectations — you are not going to find success overnight — but keep your ultimate goal, whatever it is, at the forefront of your thoughts. Work hard, work smart, and persevere. Entrepreneurial success is reachable for anyone willing to put in the time and effort to do it right.

About the Author-K. MacKillop, a serial entrepreneur, is founder of LaunchX and authors a small business startup blog. The LaunchX System is designed to help entrepreneurs start a business the right way. Visit LaunchX.com for a free workbook to help you choose a business idea.

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